Last February 20, 2022, Edwin V. Rodriguez, MD, was officially inducted as the new president of the UST Medical Alumni Association (USTMAA) through a hybrid-type Inaugural Ceremonies. Dr. Edwin is also now a member of the Anargyroi: FMS Foundation, Inc. Fundraising Committee.
A proud alumnus of both the Faculty of Pharmacy and the Faculty of Surgery and Medicine of the University of Santo Tomas, Dr. Edwin has been using his expertise and leadership skills to serve in government hospitals, private hospitals, private sector, NGOs, and the academe within and beyond his alma mater. He is an associate professor at the Department of Pharmacology in the Chinese General Hospital College of Medicine, and a Dr. Jorge C. Peralta Honorary Lecturer for the Philippine Blood Coordinating Council.
He has multiple hospital affiliations, sitting in different committees in each of them. He also serves in the Hemophilia Association of the Philippines for Love and Service (HAPLOS), and the Total Pediatric Nutritional Rehabilitation Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. He also sits as a Medical Advisor for Novartis Oncology.
Dr. Edwin is a Fellow in several medical societies including the Philippine Society of Pediatric Hematology and the Philippine Society of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology. With more than 20 years of experience in his field and valuable contribution to society, he is indeed a true embodiment of the Thomasian values of competence, commitment, and compassion.
Despite his busy schedule, Dr. Edwin was gracious enough to answer some questions for us. In this interview, we were able to hear about his thoughts on his new appointment, his vision for USTMAA and AFI, and a glimpse of his lighter side.
How do you feel about your new appointment as USTMAA President?
It is an honor to be elected as President of the UST Medical Alumni Association. Looking back from where I started as an appointed member of the Board in 2008, I had the opportunity to see how things worked on the ground.
I saw how unique the dynamics of the Organization were, what worked and what did not. I was exposed to USTMAA as a microcosm of Thomasian medical physicians who operate with highly individualized approaches, sometimes in unison, sometimes in conflict and yet thriving in an environment bound by a common goal to put the best interest of the Thomasian medical alumni on the agenda.
To be included in the roster of illustrious men and women who at one point in time held the leadership of this Organization is a distinct privilege I am very thankful to have.
What is your vision for USTMAA during your term?
As I mentioned in my inaugural address, I see myself as a “leader at the foot of the ladder”, building the organization through a solid foundation of servant leadership.
I intend to (1) impose stricter operational diligence and spending efficiency by introducing budget caps/ceilings and expanding possible funding sources (2) deepen and bolden institutional loyalty to the Thomasian attributes of competence, commitment, and compassion by introducing concrete alumni-centric and medical learner-centric programs that will assist them in their more challenging life stages (3) finding Thomasian exemplars who can motivate and inspire the next generation of Thomasian medical alumni and (4) create a robust succession plan of future Thomasian physician leaders to assure the continuation of Thomasian excellence in medicine and the health professions.
How do you think USTMAA and AFI can better collaborate?
As organizations both serving the Thomasian medical alumni, I think it is best to revisit our common goals and objectives and see where programs and projects can be streamlined, finetuned and harmonized for a stronger and more solid collaboration. I believe that non-duplication of tasks should be executed to widen our reach and broaden our impact to as many Thomasian medical alumni as possible.
Likewise, reminding ourselves of our common heritage, our single cord of life and our binding aspiration towards a strong and self-sustaining Thomasian medical community should be at the center of everything we think, say, and do.
What are your leisure hobbies outside of your profession?
I am not really one who plans vacations or schedule recreation activities. I find time to rest. I think rest has become a leisurely activity with the many things I do. I also do not have hobbies that keep me hooked intensely.
But I like to [write] poems, essays, short sayings of how I feel, what I feel about certain people or situations. Watching interesting shows and movies can also be quite entertaining with me. Spending time with family and friends is purely joy for me.
What is your message to our UST Med alumni?
Every Thomasian medical alumnus must at one point in his or her life look back and pay forward. Looking back brings you to where everything started. It keeps you grounded, real, and attached to your deepest core.
As our Alma Mater paved paths of numerous opportunities to us, in our personal and professional lives, we must not forget the pivotal role she played in everything that we ever became. So, as we thank God for the blessing of life, let us also remember fondly the institutions from which we owe a part of who we are today. Let us not forget that the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery allowed us to explore the world armed with the medical education and training we needed to make our marks and find our niches in any place we desire to go. Aside from God and our dear families, it is our Alma Mater that helped us achieve our lifelong goals and dreams.
And when a chance is presented to us to pay homage to her, let us not forget that we are part of her history and that our role is to link the present to the future. Let us support our Alma Mater in any way, all the way.