The National Women’s Month Celebration every March is part of the worldwide observance of the International Women’s Day (IWD) which brings together global governments and organizations under the same cause. The Department of Science and Technology held its celebration of women's month on March 23 at the Philippine Science High School Gymnasium, Quezon City to honor women’s rights movement and to celebrate achievements of women in science.
Women of Science
In celebration of IWD 2018, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development honors outstanding women of the Balik Scientist Program (BSP). BSP is an initiative of DOST encouraging Filipino scientists to return to the country and aid in strengthening the country’s S&T.
BSP awardees in health research are Dr. Georgina Cruz, Dr. Annabelle Villalobos, Dr. Rose Eva Constantino, Dr. Cheryl Andam, and Dr. Doralyn Dalisan. The awardees are distinguished scientists in their feild of expertise and have made valuable contributions in health research and development.
As women and torch bearers of progress in S&T, the awardees were asked to answer the question “How will you continue to #PressforProgress in health research?”
“I relish the opportunity to continue to mentor women and men on science and health by helping them discover new and easily available drugs with due diligence and market-driven output. Encourage and guide them to engage in collaborations with experienced groups to bring safe, quality and efficacious drugs to the market.”
Dr. Anabelle Villalobos’ field of expertise is on Biochemistry, Analytical Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, and Biopharmaceutical R&D. She assisted in the functional and operational organization of the Natural Products Research and Development Center (NPRDC).
“In health research, I would like to see greater support for basic research, including those that are high-risk, low-yield research programs that seek to address more fundamental questions in the field. This is how I would press for progress in health research.”
Dr. Georgina Cruz assisted in the translation of brain-based research into strategies for Philippine science and technology education. Aside from this, she worked on the Philippine Normal University Brain-Based Research and Educational Neuroscience Program by conducting neuroscience workshops and scientific and technical consultations.
“As a DOST Balik Scientist at University of San Agustin, I have inspired young scientists to pursue career in science and technology. I am now mentoring eleven young women, research assistants and faculty members of University of San Agustin who are currently enrolled in MS Pharmacy, MS Biology, MS Chemistry and MS Biochemistry program.”
Dr. Doralyn Dalisay is an expert on Microbiology and Natural Products Chemistry. She mentored USA Pharmacy Faculty Members on teaching strategies and research, conducted workshops on “The Art of Preparing Oral and Poster Research Presentation," and established linkage between USA and Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore.
“Health research programs and initiatives should encompass both fundamental/basic and translational questions that integrates human health, animal health and the environment. With my background in environmental and clinical microbiology and genomics, I will continue to elucidate the evolutionary and ecological factors underlying disease emergence, distribution and transmission.”
Dr. Andam is currently a Professor of Microbial Ecology at the University of New Hampshire, USA where she and her research group worked on investigating environmental microbes that have public health and medical importance.
To continue to Press for Progress in Health Research in the Philippines, Dr. Constantino believes that she has to go back to the Philippines and finish her project on “The HEARTS of Older Filipino in Manila.” This is important because almost 40% of older persons in the Philippines are burdened with insecurity, poverty, and poor health thus posing a great challenge to the economic, welfare and healthcare system.
Dr. Constantino drafted a full research proposal for the Ethics Committee review on “The HEARTS of Older Filipinos in Manila”, which will be extended to “The HEARTS of Older Persons in Pittsburgh.” She also conducted seminars and workshops on Forensic Nursing, Partner Violence, and GPS on Health.
This year’s theme for the IWD campaign is #PressforProgress which is a call to press forward and progress gender parity fueled by other campaigns such as #MeToo and #TimesUp. These global initiatives serves as a beacon for all women that there is still hope for a society with equal rights and opportunities for all gender.
Furthermore, it is a call-to-action to unite everyone to do their part in creating a more gender inclusive environment by thinking and acting progressively towards gender equality.
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to honor the achievements and successes of women from all backgrounds and fields of study while underlining the importance of women’s right and gender equality. Now more than ever, we must #PressforProgress for us to become a force of positive change and social empowerment.
Written by Catherine Joy C. Dimailig