July 5, 2019

Philippines Adventists Make History With First Class of Medical Graduates

Lailanie Fronda, Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review

“Dear Prima Lux, pioneer class of 2019, the Department of Education in the General Conference Headquarters is proud of you!” said Adventist Church education director Lisa Beardsley-Hardy.

“AUP stands tall among the 115 universities and colleges that belong to the Seventh-day Adventist system around the world. And from those, only six have a medical school. The College of Medicine [COM] will eventually have students from all corners of Southern Asia and beyond. And its graduating physicians and medical missionaries will go out from here with streams of light. You, graduates, are the first rays,” she said.

During Baccalaureate on June 22, 2019, the pioneer group testified of the Master Physician’s empowerment in their unique experiences throughout their four-year training in COM and Batangas Medical Center.

According to class president, Jon Sergei J. Aclan, who was also a facilitator during a panel discussion, “AUP College of Medicine aims to produce Five-Star Plus physicians, wherein a physician can be a clinician, educator, researcher, social mobilizer and manager, and most importantly, physician missionary.”

Guided by biblical principles and strong mentorship of the founding dean, Doris Mendoza, and numerous missionary-hearted faculty members, Prima Lux have been practicing those facets of the Five-Star Plus Physician since their first year within the portals of COM until they completed clinical practice at the Adventist Medical Center - Manila.

“After several decades of innumerable challenges in the preparation and planning, we were given the ‘go’ signal to open,” Mendoza said. “After teaching and training, following the pattern of the Master Physician to become physician missionaries, we have reached this momentous day.”

In a Heartbeat: Whole-Person Care

Adventist Church health ministries director Peter Landless addressed the class, telling them the most important thing is to know they are close to Jesus.

“If you want to know as a graduate, as a physician, as a practitioner, as a clinician, as a teacher, as a friend, as a family person, whether you are close to the Lord Jesus Christ, how are you going to know it?” Landless said. “The fact that you got into a good medical school, perhaps? The fact that you’re sitting in church today? Maybe, but not really.”

Landless said a different measure should be used.

“You will know that you are close to Jesus when the things that break His heart break yours.” And then he added, “Never let your compassion leave you. . . . My prayer for you: never lose sight of the Master Physician, the Great Example, The Great Healer, Teacher, and Savior, Jesus Christ, who was moved with compassion. May that something that moves you go from now but until Jesus comes.”

Loma Linda University Health president and CEO Richard Hart reminded graduates about the implications of their call.

“To go where you are needed but not wanted, to live when you are wanted but not needed. That’s what God calls on each of us, to go where we are needed but not necessarily wanted,” Hart said. “Whether there’s geographic location, or frankly whether it’s into the life and heart of a patient, your job as a professional is to work your way once again into those lonely hearts and bring peace and comfort.”

Lexan Erdin Cordial, the class vice-president, responded to the charge on behalf of her classmates.

“As a pioneer batch, we will strive to live up to our chosen batch name: Prima Lux, the First Light,” she said. “As every heart is a mission field, is our desire to not only alleviate pain and suffering of our patients but wholistically care for them, pointing them to the Master Physician because it is only through Christ there is healing and wholeness.”

A Fulfilled Vision

AUP president Francisco Gayoba shared a brief history of AUP College of Medicine, explaining, “We have a unique curriculum compared to other medical schools in the Philippines. Our medical students are not only trained to be clinicians, researchers, managers, educators, and social mobilizers, which are outcomes prescribed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), but also as physician missionaries,” Gayoba said.

Adventist Church president Ted Wilson congratulated the class.

“With a mindset to serve, many prayers, and the work of the Holy Spirit, you’re destined for great things!” he said.

The original story as posted on the Southern Asia Pacific Division news site.