PCHRD’s 41st anniversary highlights digitalization in health R&D

PCHRD’s 41st anniversary highlights digitalization in health R&D

In its 41st anniversary, the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) highlighted the role of digitalization, such as artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing in developing innovative healthcare interventions in the country on 17 March 2023 at Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City.

Attended by more than 340 key stakeholders in the health sector, including government officials, researchers, and representatives from the private sector, the celebration kicked off with a presentation on PCHRD’s accomplishments in 2022 delivered by DOST-PCHRD Executive Director, Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, followed by an inspirational message from DOST Secretary Renato Solidum Jr.

Bannered by the theme “PCHRD Beyond XL: Transforming Healthcare Through Digitalization,” among the highlights of the celebration is the keynote message delivered by Dr. Sidney Yee, founding CEO of Diagnostics Development (DxD) Hub and a current advisor at Singapore’s A*STAR, Innovation & Enterprise division. In her keynote, Dr. Yee presented the role of health R&D in revolutionizing healthcare delivery, underlining Singapore’s research ecosystem and framework in advancing the translation of research, bringing research outputs to the society.

Digitalization is everywhere, it is in everything that we do. How we are able to capitalize on that depends on the tools that we build to enable that. Digitalization is one of the many things that we can do to further improve human lives. ” Dr. Yee said.

Among the highlights of the celebration is the launching of PCHRD’s two major programs under its research utilization arm: Health Research Innovation (HeaRTNovation) Hubs Program, and the HeaRT for the Filipino Program. The PCHRD R&D Management Division also launched the Mental Health R&D Program Booklets.

HeaRTNovation Hubs or H-hubs, presented by Ms. Ullyann C. Garcia, Division Chief of PCHRD Research Information, Communication, and Utilization Division, is eyed to support health innovators in developing their technologies and link them with potential partners for eventual commercialization of their health innovations. 

On the other hand, the HeaRT for the Filipino presented by Dr. Montoya, is an Integrated Marketing Campaign (IMC) that aims to create a unified and consistent experience across a variety of channels to drive a higher stakeholder engagement for the Council’s programs and initiatives. 

Under the Mental Health R&D Program, three booklets were launched by Mr. Jules Carl Celebrado, Mental Health R&D Program Manager, namely: Mental Health Services for Psychosocial Interventions, Treatment Recommendations for Psychosocial Interventions for Referred In-patients, and Quality Mental Health Research in the Philippines.

In his inspirational message, Secretary Solidum emphasized the importance of working as one DOST, and performing collectively to achieve DOST’s mission for the country. “Seeing how DOST-PCHRD lived by the mission of providing leadership and direction to the country’s health research initiatives gives me confidence that the Council will never lose sight of its purpose and values,” Sec. Solidum added.

Without all your support, we would not have done any single accomplishment. I am proud to present the PCHRD beyond XL. As we move beyond our 40th year, and as we continue to grow as a Council, we reinforce our commitment to make lives better for the Filipino through health R&D,” Dr. Montoya said.

“Parallel to this, we will continue to expand our programs, spanning the whole spectrum of health research, from basic cutting-edge research to applied researches, to policy and health systems researches, and promote the utilization of health research initiatives to make sure that they will serve the needs of our communities,” emphasized Dr. Montoya.

The morning celebration ended with a panel discussion on the issues related to transforming healthcare through digitalization. The panel of speakers include Usec. Jocelle Batapa -Sigue, Undersecretary for ICT Industry Development of the Department of Information and Communication Technology, Dr. Iris Thiele Isip-Tan, professor 12 at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, Dr. Dennis Batangan, Research Scientist and Faculty at the Ateneo de Manila university, and Dr. Jeremie de Guzman, Research Faculty at Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, and Dr. Sarah Jane Jimenez, PCHRD Mental Health R&D S&T Fellow, who served as the moderator.

The anniversary celebration also featured a health digitalization exhibit that showcased some of the Council’s programs and projects under its Digital and Frontier Technologies for Health Program, and some photos of former and current PCHRD employees in the last 41 years.

The PCHRD was established in 1982 as a national body mandated to coordinate, monitor, and manage health research in the Philippines. Throughout the years, the Council has played a vital role in supporting research and development initiatives in various areas in the Philippines.

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