PRESIDENT’S INAUGURAL SPEECH
To our honorable DOH Secretary Dr. Ted Herbosa, PBTCVS led by Dr Leo Rico, PATACSI Past Presidents, PATACSI officers, Board, colleagues in PATACSI, our Secretariat and guests, and my wife…
“I am the happiest man alive in this room tonight!”
This line has been a meme in the PATACSI valedictory speeches for more than a decade now-usually being quoted by our esteemed outgoing PATACSI presidents – to highlight the end of their term. It would usually mark his or her final year as president. Whether that final year signified relief on handing over the mantle of responsibility of heading our beloved society to the next person in charge or capping off several years working for the society as a board member… AND no longer see oneself as part of the illustrious roster of being a board member of the PATACSI.
Allow me to use it now at the start of my term as president – “ I am the happiest man alive!”
Let me share a bit by back tracking…
For several years as a regular PATACSI member I have tried to be involved with the society – participating in the activities, joining the midyear and annual postgrads if available – agreeing to emcee, moderate, lecture when asked because I wanted to serve.
It came to a point when I was asked to be included in the candidates for the PATACSI board and that gave me some pride. After several successive years of being among the nominees but NOT being voted in the board, I remember a final time being asked for consent by Mam Anya to be included again. I recall responding pessimistically “mam, sige po – baka kelangan nyo ulit ng panggulo – parang sa “Tex” (the childhood card game) pero alam kong hindi naman po ako mananalo. Pero kung wala nang ibang maisali ok lang naman mam”
I honestly lost track and didn’t realize I would still be included. Thus, I was in Finland during that time of the Annual when Dr Villaroman (as part of the Comelec) who was with us on the trip told me – “hepe nanalo ka sa board.” I didn’t realize I was included in the roster and right there and then much to my disbelief I joined the board meeting on an online call to agree on the officers.
This was still vague when I arrived back in Manila after my wife, and I extended our stay in Finland to babysit our colleague Dra. Micmic Delima who had her laparotomy in Finland that start of the Xmas season in Sant Claus city…but come January it became clearer…
And it was the start of my being in the board 6 years ago. And I have never looked back with any regret. I have always tried to attend the face-to-face meetings because I was afraid of the 20% rule on attendance that I thought at that time could make or break being considered for re-election…and I so much wanted to be reelected and see it through all the way to the top. And so, each Annual has been a time of NOT expecting to be re-elected…at the same time a period of hoping for reelection. It is good that now face to face and online meetings are both acceptable (pasado na siguro ako sa attendance!)…it wasn’t until after the business meeting this afternoon that I knew na-elect na ako. Despite being told by colleagues as early yesterday that “pre ikaw na ang incoming president”…I could never give a sure reply until this afternoon.
I have been under 6 presidents – been a part of the prepandemic board, and pandemic board and emerging from the pandemic board. Witness to being in both F2f and online meetings. It was only while being part of the board that I was exposed to the different committees and each different obstacles facing the different aspects of PATACSI.
The more current major issues have been the following:
In service – since the task of the in-service exam was passed to the PATACSI as the PATACSI board Secretary last year, I have experienced how it is to design the exam, come up with questions, meet as a committee, and collectively try to come up with the best exam that is fair and measures up to the knowledge we would want our tracking graduates to know it terms of being a general TCVS guy. There are certain expectations the “GP public” might still expect from a “tracking TCVS guy”. Perceived gaps in knowledge by the committee can be translated into improving how the core curriculum is being taught…as brought in our earlier business meeting, there is a clamour to revisit the tracking curriculum as well as the core curriculum. Your present board will try to look into this aspect to aid it in its improvement.
Realm of Vascular Surgery and PCS and PRC
Based on last year’s comments during the business meeting – it was suggested that PATACSI “level up” in terms of Vascular surgery. This led to the CSE recommendation to revise our usual format of annual post grad and having simultaneous sessions in Thoracic and cardiac and having one whole day on Vascular surgery. It was also shared by a past president that “referring to a Vascular Surgeon” appeared to be a footnote in the algorithm presented in one postgrad course by vascular medicine. This has struck a cord and the CSE revised our postgrad so that Vascular surgery by PATACSI would NOT be just a footnote in vascular medicine but to also be the leading society for vascular surgery – which connects to our perennial issue of Vascular & Endovascular surgery and which society is the authority on it – pertaining to our “rival colleagues” in PSVES. I believe in trying to be inclusive. And the PATACSI board has tried to reach out and be inclusive in trying to involve their vascular training program to adopt to our manner of accreditation. If the training program can adopt, then it would follow that the society could also adapt…and be adopted.
The issue of which specialty board should hold into vascular surgery gateway is a winning one for PATACSI…for the moment. We have been recognized as the authority by the PRC…for now. And we will work on keeping it. This was witnessed by PRC with PATACSI being able to present based on the Professional Qualification Network given by PRC – its complete Leveling Alignment Matrix program in the recent PRC meeting as presented by outgoing president and past president Dr Nelson Bamabalan and Dennis de Asis. This serves to cement our foot hold on the vascular surgery boards. And also hope to solidify our ties with the Philippine College of Surgeons.
I believe we should try to make our presence felt in the PCS. This can be done a different levels – starting from the present PATACSI president, our Board of Governors representative as well as PCS chapter involvement and the ultimate involvement – as Board of Regent and officer. In the past years, we have had our own PCS regent representative Dr. Josefino Sanchez. We should continue to do so. I believe in continuing our linkages with the PCS as long as mutually beneficial for both societies. The PCS has been trying to fast-track membership. A lot of our PATACSI fellows have recently benefited from this. As a testament to improving our involvement with PCS, what better way to make our presence felt by winning as best specialty society. I believe if we continue with our activities and submit proper documentation, PATACSI could easily go for the repeat and three-peat as best society.
We have also been trying to reconnect with the international stage.
In the next two years our society will serve as co-hosts to big international scientific meetings – Southeast Asian Thoracic Society (SEATS) in 2024 and also the ATCSA in 2025. We hope to continue to make our mark in the arena of TCVS as PATACSI. And I encourage all of us to each do your part. I will aim to guide our society and with all our collective efforts continue to place ourselves on the map and remain there.
Together, let us embrace innovation, foster collaboration, and strive for excellence in our pursuit of advancing thoracic and cardiovascular surgery in the Philippines.
I am confident that, with your support and dedication, we will continue to make significant contributions to our field and improve the lives of countless patients.
Let us all be the happiest men alive in doing our society proud and making these activities successful.
KARLOS NOEL R. ALETA, M.D., FPCS, FPATACSI
President, PATACSI 2024