Fundraising Newsletter Sesquicentennial Anniversary Simulation & Research Center

Thomasians: Pioneers Then, Pioneers Now

It is easy for one to draw inspiration from stories we have heard or read. We often dress up as characters, mostly heroes and heroines from books, movies, and even people around us. Sometimes, it is through introduction to these people where we find our answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, “I want to be a fire fighter!”, “I want to be an astronaut”, “I want to be a doctor!”. However, these answers change as we grow older. A number of us do not grow up to be what we initially wanted as kids—although, some of us are truly set from the beginning.

This was not the case with Dr. Charles C. Cuaso, one of the first interventional pediatric cardiologists in the country and a proud Thomasian Doctor of Class ’71.

When asked if he always knew that he wanted to be doctor, Dr. Cuaso was forthright in saying, “there was no specific time or event, it was gradual”. He only had one relative from his mother side who was a doctor, and he was the first one from his father’s side to pursue it. So when he expressed his intention to take up medicine, there was hesitation from his father.

This initial disapproval did not stop him from enrolling in UST. From his pre-medicine course to medical school, Dr. Cuaso chose UST-FMS and eventually graduated Cum Laude Meritissimus in 1971. He was equally forthcoming on how he decided on his specialty, he simply said, “I was enamored by an article”. He was always fascinated with the heart, especially its abnormality, more so, among children than adults. It was around his first or second year in medical school when he chanced upon an article written by Dr. William Rashkind, who was widely considered as the Father of Interventional Cardiology, who at that time, was studying non-surgical options for treating heart defects, and then had recently published an article about balloon atrial septostomy (BAS). This procedure, putting a hole in the heart, enamored Dr. Cuaso and inspired him to pursue further education in the States. He had his residency in State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, then he went to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for his fellowship because this was where Dr. Rashkind was based, and was later invited as a staff in the same hospital.

How often do we meet our heroes in real life? What are the chances that we are able to work with them? From seeing him in pages, to collaborating with him in developing techniques for non-surgical treatment options. Dr. Cuaso was fortunate enough to being credited alongside Dr. Rashkind on the official Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website. He worked side by side with Dr. Rashkind in developing the transcatheter closure of PDA that appeared in an article in 1979, wherein they performed the procedure on the smallest infant then that weighed only 3.5 kilograms- a ground-breaking procedure at the time.

One might say that Dr. Cuaso is a man of his words. As a promise to his father, Dr. Cuaso returned to the country and taught in his Alma Mater. He was an assistant professor for over three decades teaching pediatric cardiology. Curiously enough, he could have easily focused on his practice, so when asked why he decided to teach, he said “I live by the adage, ‘see one, do one, teach one’.” Not only does he find joy in teaching and interacting with students, for him, the greatest reward is to see his students be inspired by him, and, hopefully also surpass him.

As forthcoming as Dr. Cuaso comes, his humility will not escape you. For him, in the end, it will always be about the patients, thus, titles and fame never concerned him. His greatest achievement, and was said matter-of-factly, “I performed the first Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) closure in the Philippines”. This was at the time when surgery was the only widely accepted treatment option of PDA in the country. However, he was dismayed that he had to perform this procedure in another private hospital as UST then was unequipped to handle such.

So when asked why he went back to UST, he responded that UST has that moral environment which for him was very important, especially among its faculty. Similarly, this was the reason why he joined Anargyroi: FMS Foundation, Inc. (AFI).  What attracted him the most was the support it had for the faculty members, as he was one before. For him, he is grateful of what UST-FMS has provided him, and the achievements it has had for the last 150 years; however, he acknowledges that relying alone on past achievement or laurels is not enough to retain its prestige as the top medical school in the country and to remain competitive in a global landscape.

This is why Dr. Charles Cuaso fervently believes in the establishment of the Sts. Cosmas and Damian Simulation and Research Center, a 7-floor edifice, which will allow both the faculty and students to have the environment and support they need to excel, and hopefully, establish “the firsts” in the country and in the region—as it always had in the past. “Reactive and Proactive”, is how Dr. Cuaso describes the creation of this Center. Reactive as it fulfills the current needs, as well as the gaps uncovered in virtual/hybrid learning. Proactive, because having this state-of-the-art building equipped with high-fidelity Manikins will simulate different and difficult scenarios.

Fundraising Committee Weekly Tuesday Meetings with Consultant Mayan Quebral.

Thus, not only has he been a strong and generous sponsor of AFI, he has also reluctantly accepted to head the Fundraising Committee of this noble project. As daunting as this task may be, Dr. Cuaso has maintained that the best way to give back to his Alma Mater, was to assure its continuance of its legacy. What could be better than establishing its cornerstone for another 150 years? Many have already reached out on how they can contribute, and so far, a gracious few have already delivered.

There is still a long way to go in realizing this ambitious project, and FMS is counting on its alumni.

A show of love and loyalty for one’s Alma Mater can ensure a long and lasting legacy.



Fundraising Newsletter Simulation & Research Center

To Give Back

The stakeholders of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of UST have always shown in one way or another their solidarity with their Alma Mater, especially in crucial times.

On the occasion of its sesquicentennial celebration in 2021, the Faculty has undertaken a bold step towards the modernization of its academic life and the renovation of its facilities. Fortunately, we count on visionary leaders, a well-prepared faculty roster, and a talented body of students.

We have always relied on the University to respond to the demands of a progressive school of medicine in the country. However, aware of the increasing challenges of modern medicine and the multiple needs of the University at present times, we thought that the sesquicentennial celebration, the 150 years of service to the Filipino people, would sound a chord in the minds and hearts of our alumni.

When the project for a new building to house the Research Center for Medicine and the Simulation Laboratory was presented to the University, the Board of Trustees of the University favorably endorsed it but owing to the great finances involved, we were entrusted to start a Fund-raising campaign to help shoulder the cost.

Providentially, by that time, we had already been approached by a selected group of medical alumni wiling to help in the establishment of an independent foundation exclusively dedicated to the support of their Alma Mater, the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.

After a couple of years of negotiations with the University authorities, the go signal was granted and now, we have the Anargyroi: FMS Foundation Inc. (AFI).

On the celebration of the USTMAAA annual gathering in San Francisco last September 2-5, 2021, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Ma. Lourdes Maglinao, M.D., was in attendance during the meeting of USTMAAA Foundation where a proposal for a substantial contribution in exchange for the naming rights of the Simulation and Research building was made.

Unfortunately, after an initial enthusiastic response, the proposal did not materialize, which has caused some disappointment on our side and change of direction to our initial plans to have USTMAAA as a major partner in the project.

Though disappointed, we are not discouraged, as we rely on the good will of our large alumni and other potential benefactors willing to continue helping our project generously and disinterestedly.

One hundred and fifty years of such institution deserves a second thought. In difficult and in good times, the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery will continue nurturing the dreams of young men and women willing to serve their fellow Filipinos.

It is true that to whom much is given, much is expected from, but the proverbial “two coins” of the Gospel’s widow metaphor will inspire us to persist in our prayers and expectations. May God bless you all.

Fr. Angel Aparicio, O.P. Regent

October 22, 2021

Fundraising Newsletter Simulation & Research Center

In the Fullness of Time

Article and Photos by Ma. Lourdes Maglinao, M.D.

I received an invitation earlier this year from Dr. Gerry Flores to attend the USTMAAA Convention & Grand Reunion to be held in San Francisco, California on September 1-6, 2021. The 2020 Convention and Grand Reunion was cancelled due to the pandemic and with the current record-breaking reported COVID cases, my apprehension was apparent, but this never made me decide otherwise to attend the 2021 event. Proudly, I was a celebrator myself, being a member of Class ’86, excited to see my classmates, and as in previous years that I have attended USTMAAA Homecomings, the eagerness to meet, greet, update, and express my gratitude is an event I would not want to miss. Meeting our US-based alumni in-person is the least I could do to express our profuse gratitude for the support they have given our Alma Mater.

I attended the meetings of USTMAAA/F and presented FMS updates, provided copies of Anargyroi: FMS Foundation, Inc. Annual Report and rendered a presentation at the Town Hall. I was joined by Rev. Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., UST Rector Magnificus, via Zoom, and Rev. Fr. Julius Paul Factora, O.P., the new CEO of the UST Hospital, who was also in the United States for a UST Nursing Alumni event. Aside from the annual FMS St. Dominic’s Scholarship fund, USTMAAA/F spearheaded by Dr. Stella Evangelista, Dr. Gerry Flores and Dr. Jess Chua, was able to raise the pledged $1 Million for the Sts. Cosmas & Damian Simulation & Research Center. The weekly (Sunday) Zoom meetings which started at the height of the pandemic in July 2020 with Dr. Gerry Flores, Dr. Jess Chua and myself, actively rallying for this project, have gained momentum, increased awareness and engagement of our alumni classes directed towards this lofty and most noble project. Special thanks to the Class of 1962 through Dr. Anselmo Unite, who donated $151,725 for the project. I am very eager to know all the classes or individuals who made the $1 Million a reality, to acknowledge their contribution and to extend our heartfelt gratitude on behalf of our medical school.

Gratitude also to the UST Medical Alumni Association in Southern California (USTMAASC), through Dr. Sal Abiera who gave towards our UST FMS Community Project; Tau Mu Sigma Phi Foundation for the gracious invitation to speak at their business meeting and reiterated their pledge and full support to the Simulation and Research Center Project; Theta Lambda Phi Foundation (my very own beloved sorority), for the “sisterhood” breakfast gathering in San Francisco. They have conscientiously raised, donated, and are still working towards further augmentation of their target donation.

I had the great privilege of meeting with the Anargyroi: FMS Foundation, Inc. founders, Drs. Peter and Linda Fang, the foundation for and which exclusively supports the projects and programs of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. Its establishment is by far one of the best things that had happened to the medical school.

Acknowledgement goes to every person who by far has supported us and I appreciate every Thomasian alumnus who shared and believed in this Simulation and Research Center project, being faithful in their commitment, sharing their blessings, untiring in their support and magnanimity for the advancement of Thomasian medical education to keep us at par with the world’s best. I earnestly hope to be able to personally thank each and everyone of you!

The Sts. Cosmas & Damian Simulation & Research Center will soon be a reality, a milestone that will usher us to a future that will perpetuate the Thomasian brand of excellence in Medicine. WE WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN!

We are set to break grounds anew for this landmark project in early 2022. AFI will publicly launch our campaign in the coming weeks. To those interested in sharing or giving, you may reach us at Development Office, the implementing arm of  Anargyroi: FMS Foundation, Inc., located at  Room 118 St. Martin de Porres Building, University of Santo Tomas, España, Manila, Philippines 1008, at (+63 2) 8553 1611 loc. 8566, or email at look for Annette Ward, Executive Director of the Development Office. Naming opportunities are available to commemorate/immortalize or pay tribute to an individual or class.

Let us know how we can assist you.

Limited-time back-to-school offer!

Donate at least 10,000 pesos and get a complimentary copy of the award-winning commemorative book, Honora Medicum. Offer is available until supplies last only.