Institute of Human Genetics is now ISO 9001-certified

A proud day for NIH-IHG. A framed ISO 9001:2008 is handed over to UPM officials by TUV Rheinland officers. In photo (L-R): Ms. Manineth Pulido and Mr. Tristan ArwenLoveres (Business Field Manager and Chief Operating Officer, respectively); UPM Chancellor Carmencita Padilla; Dr. Eva Marie Cutiongco-dela Paz (Vice Chancellor for Research and NIH Executive Director); and, Dr. Mary Ann Chiong (IHG Director)

On 28 August 2015, the Institute of Human Genetics (IHG) became the first unit of the UP Manila-National Institutes of Health (UPM-NIH) to get the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2008 certification in Quality Management Standards. It is also the second UPM unit to do so, the first being the Philippine General Hospital in 2009.

IHG is one of the ten institutions and three centers of the National Institutes of Health, the research arm of UP Manila. It was established in 1999 to promote health by understanding the genetic basis of common diseases among Filipinos, and increasing awareness of such among health professionals and the population.

The ISO certificate was awarded to IHG by TUV Rheinland, an independent German certification body, per result of the audit report of its local subsidiary. In a simple ceremony held at the UPM Social Hall, Mr. Tristan ArwenLoveres and Ms. Manineth Pulido (TUV Rheinland Philippines Inc.’ Chief Operating Officer and Business Field Manager Systems, respectively) handed over the framed certificate to Chancellor Carmencita Padilla, Dr. Eva Marie Cutiongco-dela Paz (Vice Chancellor for Research and NIH Executive Director), and Dr. Mary Ann Chiong (IHG Director). Staff from both the IHG and its sister-unit, the Newborn Screening Reference Center (NSRC), attended the event.

Getting the ISO stamp means that IHG’s services adhere to globally-approved specifications on quality, safety, and efficiency. This makes local and international agencies sit up, take notice, and consider partnership with NIH-IHG. Based on TUVR-Phil’s report, NIH-IHG is world class in [1] providing laboratory services (Biochemical Genetics, Clinical Genetics, Cytogenetics, Microarray Core Facility, Molecular Genetics, Newborn Screening and Hemoglobinopathy Screening), and [2] in providing Basic and Applied Genetics and Translational Research.

The road to this longed-for accreditation was not easy. According to Dr. Nely Vea, Supervising Administrative Officer of IHG, the staff underwent many trainings from December 2014-February 2015 held by Synergy at Work Training Services, the consulting body hired to prepare the Institute for accreditation. By the end of February, all IHG units prepared their own Quality Manuals for their procedures. At the same time, request for the services of a certification body was started and TUV Rheinland was awarded with the project in May. By March, the Manuals were being used. In April and May, the audit teams of both IHG and Synergy evaluated the IHG’s performance to discover kinks in the system before the formal audit by TUV Rheinland in May 12 for its Stage1 audit and June 1-2 for its Stage 2 certification audit.

During the closing meeting on June 2, the TUV Rheinland auditors congratulated IHG for a job well done and initially announced that the Institute has passed the audits conducted with a few minor issues that needed to be addressed. The hard work paid off. IHG’s first certification is valid from 27 August 2015 to 26 August 2018. Both Synergy and TUV Rheinland credited the Institute’s success to the cooperation and support of IHG people and UPM administration.

Both VC Cutiongco-dela Paz and Dr. Chiong attributed the success not only to Synergy’s help but also to the IHG staff’s strengths: teamwork; perseverance; initiative; a willingness to leave their comfort zones to advance the Institute’s service and research work; and, belief in self, each other, nobleness of their work, and in a Higher Being.

As for Chancellor Padilla, she said that IHG had been adhering to almost the same world class standards since 1999. The professionalization undergone by the Institute from both Synergy and TUV Rheinland was necessary so that IHG’s weaknesses could be identified and improved. She said that she is proud of IHG because, out of the whole UP Manila, it is “the most comprehensive combination of basic and applied research. IHG best delivers the message that it’s not enough for us to deliver services, we are also here to do continuous research for the benefit of the Filipino people.”

After the IHG’s recent achievement, the Institute is busy with the following activities: [a] performing a test on XDP or Sex-linked dystonia-parkinsonismas commissioned by the Massachusetts General Hospital of the Harvard School of Medicine (XDP is a genetic form of dystonia or involuntary contraction and spasm of muscles that is found almost entirely among males of Filipino descent); [b] preparing for ISO re-accreditation in 2018; [c] preparing for ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation (the standard for testing and calibration laboratories); and, [d] putting up copies of the ISO certificate in all IHG offices and labs (made in jest, but actually to remind people that quality management should be part of everything they do).

Before the event ended, Chancellor Padilla made these announcements: for VC Cutiongco-dela Paz to prepare the whole NIH for ISO certification in Quality Management Standards; and, for each of the colleges to do the same. # # #


News Item: Fedelynn M. Jemena /IPPAO-UPM Photo by: Joseph A. Bautista / IPPAO-UPM