The Philippine Society of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery: T- plus 63 years and counting…

August 2019 – Vol. 38, No. 7

“ As President of the AAO-HNS/F, it is my great honor to welcome the delegation from the Philippine Society of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery to our Annual Meeting. We look forward to our societies working together for the care of patients worldwide through collaboration and friendship now in New Orleans and into the future. ”

Albert L. Merati, MD
President, AAO-HNS/F

International Guest of Honor 2019: Philippines

Ramon Carmelo V. Alcira, MD, FPSO-HNS

The Philippine Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (PSO-HNS) has had its share of adversity before attaining the stature it now enjoys. In its early years, it existed under the shadow of the Philippine Ophthalmological and Otolaryngological Society (POOS). However, it became increasingly evident that in order to flourish, separation of the two specialties was an inevitable necessity.

Led by Tierry F. Garcia, MD, a group of U.S.-trained otolaryngologists began lobbying for the separation and eventual creation of an independent ear, nose, and throat organization in the country. Now known in the annals of PSO-HNS history as the “Heroic Nine,” these iconic visionaries formed the Philippine Society of Otolaryngology and Bronchoesophagology (PSOB) on February 17, 1956. Acceptance of this separation was painstakingly slow.

In 1981, the PSOB was rechristened with the now familiar name of PSO-HNS, coupled with the creation of its certifying arm, the Philippine Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (PBO-HNS).

From its modest beginning 63 years ago, the society’s ranks have swelled to 800 board-certified fellows. While many specialists choose to practice in the National Capital Region, the society continues to encourage ENT practice at the grassroots level in a low-resource country. The society has eight provincial chapters scattered around key cities of the archipelago, actively promoting ENT practice par excellence. To further entice new members to set up shop in underserved locales, PSO-HNS has in place its “Entering New Territories” program. Making the welfare of its constituents its top priority, the society has ongoing platforms that offer health insurance and legal aid to all its active members, as well as financial assistance to those who fall victims to catastrophic events.

Today, the society assumes a multifaceted role. Not only does it regulate ENT-HNS practice in the country, it also serves as an educator, trainer, and social advocate. It holds regular midyear and annual conventions. At times, it is given the distinct honor of hosting international fora as well. Inter-hospital Grand Rounds provide a venue for the exchange of opinions regarding problematic cases. It also works closely with the PBO-HNS in ensuring the highest quality of training among its 34 accredited institutions. Recently, a joint PSO-HNS/PBO-HNS initiative was formed to develop an Outcomes Based Education (OBE)-compliant Residency Training Manual. Having implemented this, the specialty is now prepared for the demands of ASEAN integration. Under the umbrella of the mother society are 10 subspecialty study groups, each providing the definitive standards, the clinical practice guidelines, that govern the science and art of their respective subspecialties. Fellows desirous of further studies may avail of society funded scholarships. Research continues to be one of its important thrusts. To serve as incentive, financial grants are offered to deserving fellows conducting worthwhile projects and studies. To showcase the excellent work of its brilliant minds, PSO-HNS sponsors research paper contests twice annually, namely the Interesting Case Report, Descriptive/Analytical Paper, and Surgical/Instrument Innovation Contests. Finally, to immortalize the best works in research, there is the internationally recognized Philippine Journal of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (PJOHNS), the society’s official publication.

There are a number of advocacies that the society spearheads and implementation of these are cascaded to all its chapter organizations. These advocacies, both locally and globally recognized, serve to uplift the awareness and delivery of community-based healthcare needs to the nation’s citizenry.

Indeed, the PSO-HNS has come a long way since its inception. Leaps and bounds characterize its achievements, an embodiment of the indefatigable spirit of its members in their continuing quest for excellence.