Referred to as the “Prima Lux” or “First Light,” sixteen aspiring physicians celebrated their historic achievement June 21-23, 2019, as the first graduates from the Adventist University of the Philippines College of Medicine (AUP COM). During Baccalaureate, the highly esteemed pioneer batch testified of the Master Physician’s power and their unique experiences throughout their four-year training in the COM and clinical internships at Batangas Medical Center.
Several representatives from the Seventh-day Adventist World Church headquarters were on hand to witness this momentous occasion, including Dr. Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, Education Department director. “Dear Prima Lux,” Beardsley-Hardy stated, “ Pioneer Class of 2019, the Department of Education in the General Conference Headquarters is proud of you! And we commend you the pioneer batch...The AUP stands tall among the 115 universities and colleges that belong to the Seventh-day Adventist System around the world. And with those, only six have medical school. AUP College of Medicine, you are number six. The College of Medicine 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.”
College of Medicine, a Fulfilled Vision
Dr. Francisco Gayoba, AUP president, shared: “August 9, 2015, the medical program was inaugurated. 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. They take religion and medical ministry courses.”
Guided by Biblical principles and strong mentorship of the founding dean Dr. Doris Mendoza and numerous missionary-hearted faculty members, the Prima Lux have been practicing those Five-Star Plus Physician facets since their first year within the portals of the COM through their completion of the clinical clerkship in Adventist Medical Center-Manila (formerly Manila Adventist Medical Center or Manila Sanitarium).
Dr. Miriam Narbarte, the Vice-President for Academic Affairs gave an update about the College of Medicine during an interview: “The Doctor of Medicine program was accredited by the International Board of Education, which was recognized by CHED.”
CHED mandated AUP-COM to accept foreign students if we are accredited by the Federation of Accrediting Agencies (FAAP). The College of Medicine is not yet accredited by FAAP, but AUP as an institution is FAAP accredited (Institutional Accreditation). It also has the government recognition through the accreditation from the Bureau of Immigration to accept foreign students. Above all these, we have the university’s Autonomous Status.”
Mendoza added that CHED recognized AUP to accept foreign students within the Southern Asia-Pacific region (SSD). “After several decades of innumerable challenges in the preparation and planning, we were given the go signal to open. After the ensuing four years of teaching and training in the mold of the Master Physician to become physician missionaries, with the motto “Through Christ, Healing and Wholeness,” we’ve come to this momentous day,” she said.
In a Heartbeat: Whole Person Care
Dr. Peter Landless, director of the Health Ministries Department of the Adventist World Church, graced the baccalaureate with a very enlightening message:
“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? The fact that you go into a good medical school? The fact that you're sitting in church today? Maybe. but not really.
You will know that you are close to Jesus, when the things that break His heart break yours.”
Further, he urged: “Never let your compassion leave you. There are so much more, but there are many that will tell it to you. My prayer for your new calling everyday: 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 be something that moves you not only from now, but until Jesus comes.
Dr. Richard Hart, CEO and president of Loma Linda University Health, talked about crucial points to ponder and to draw inspiration from:
"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. Whether there's geographic location, or frankly whether it's into the life and heart of a patient, many times burned by society, hesitant to open themselves up, they wall them off. And your job as a professional is to work your way once again into those lonely hearts and bring peace and comfort."
Lexan Erdin Cordial, class vice-president responded to the charge on behalf of her batch mates:
“As a pioneer batch, we will strive to live up to our chosen batch name: Prima Lux, the First Light...As every heart is a mission field, it is our desire to not only alleviate pain and suffering of our patients, but holistically care for them, pointing them to the Master Physician because it is only through Christ there is healing and wholeness.”
Cordial is a recipient of the unique Mary and Martha Award, a non-academic award, as well as many other academic awards, which according to Mendoza, is a gesture of appreciation to her unparalleled sacrifices and contribution in COM.
Elder Ted Wilson, President of the Adventist world church, in his felicitations, remarked “…With a mindset to serve, many prayers, and the work of the Holy Spirit, you are destined for great things! For “God has given you an opportunity to fill a high destiny. Your influence may tell for the truth of God…” (Messages to Young People, p. 21).
The legendary milestone of AUP College of Medicine is HIStory — His story of greatness, faithfulness, and lovingkindness for the physician missionaries; an amazing gift to humanity!
Batch graduates include: Jon Sergei J. Aclan, Jessly Rose D. Acoba, Joy L. Belarmino, Alexzan D. Bernadino, Janina Bianca G. Cabili, Christopher Dale G. Chua, Lexan Erdin L. Cordial, Paul Rothwel C. De Jesus, Vanda Charisse C Dejolde, Weamirson R. Estrada, Garces, April Rae O. Eimarlouyd P. Mansaguiton, Aedrian C. Rodriguez, Andy Graham M. Rosas, Nim Franzio A. Salazar, Julienne Rowelie A. Sanchez.