IN WHAT would be a first in Asia, UST’s medical school will soon be using ultrasound machines as instructional tools—a far cry from the traditional books, diagrams, pictures, and cadavers—to help provide “real life” education.

Next academic year, the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery will become Asia’s pioneering school in the adoption of an ultrasound curriculum for students in the first to fourth years.

Ultrasound machines, commonly used to monitor pregnancy, can also be used to see body structures under the skin ncluding tendons, muscles, joints, vessels, as well as internal organs, to detect possible diseases or tissue abnormalities.

Since they provide immediate results, Ultrasound machines would help “correlate” the theories learned by the students with what they see on screen, Medicine Dean Graciela Gonzaga said.

“Officially, it will be implemented this coming school year, but we have already started incorporating it in the classes of our first-year [students] as early as two years ago,” Gonzaga said. “There’s a partnership with the ultrasound and the anatomy class, so for example, while you are dissecting, you can identify the structure, and you can correlate very well.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Jocelyn Myra Caja, pathologist and secretary of UST’s Department of Medical Education, said this “innovation in the medical curriculum” gives students a “real-time” learning experience.

Before, for instance, the teaching of the anatomy of a person’s heart was done using pictures and diagrams. “When you do ultrasound of the heart, you can see it as it functions,” she said. “The students become eager. It’s good that they see it live, not only theoretically.”

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Caja said cadavers can be used by medical students for experimentation but they are no longer “fresh and in optimum condition” because of the decomposing of body parts, skin, and muscles.

Gonzaga said the faculty members underwent training last January for the proper use of the machines since they would be used in “practically all subjects,” including anatomy, pathology, physiology, surgery, rehabilitation medicine, and ophthalmology.

Quick diagnosis of diseases during emergency situations “means saving lives,” and could also help in determining whether an unconscious patient has internal injuries, Caja said.

“And besides, the ultrasound is very handy, it’s radiation-free, and a lot cheaper,” Gonzaga said. “But of course, it does not mean that with the ultrasound, we will get away with the CT scan and the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging).”

According to Caja, top medical schools in the world, including Harvard Medical School, are using hand-held ultrasound machines in teaching most subjects.

“This has been the latest trend in the United States,” Caja said, adding that the University would like to ensure that its graduates would become “globally competitive” and “more abreast and in keeping with the medical standards abroad.”

Other schools with integrated ultrasound curriculum are University of California Irvine School of Medicine and Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan.

The University has initially acquired 10 portable ultrasound machines, and is planning to add more in the next years to accommodate around 500 medical students.The UST medical school had only one ultrasound machine before, under the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine.

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Moreover, Medicine is also planning to upgrade its curriculum further by incorporating lessons on “dealing with death and dying patients.”

“That’s one of the things that can’t be learned at school—how to handle dying patients and helping them and their relatives accept when an impending death will happen,” Caja said. Daphne J. Magturo

5 COMMENTS

  1. I do hope that UST should also focus their attention to other courses. I am very proud of the GLORY COURSES in UST such as MEDICINE, ARCHITECTURE, SCIENCE COURSES, ACCOUNTANCY to name a few, but I really wish na mabigyan pansin yung mga courses na mas kailangan ng attention. College of Commerce and Business Administration is one of those courses. To the administration, please have the heart of fairness. 🙂

  2. I do hope that UST should also focus their attention to other courses. I am very proud of the GLORY COURSES in UST such as MEDICINE, ARCHITECTURE, SCIENCE COURSES, ACCOUNTANCY to name a few, but I really wish na mabigyan pansin yung mga courses na mas kailangan ng attention. College of Commerce and Business Administration is one of those courses. To the administration, please have the heart of fairness. 🙂

  3. I agree with Mr. Timosa. I believe the University should also pay attention to the other faculties and colleges, particularly the Faculty of Arts & Letters and the College of Education.

    As an Artlet alumnus, I am saddened that my faculty’s glory is now far from its halcyon days. It used to be that the Faculty of Arts & Letters was the hotbed for talented writers but now, I’m not sure whether this is still the case.

    Arts & Letters is home to some of the country’s National Artists. I hope the University will do something substantial to make sure that the Faculty continues producing writers who will make UST proud.

  4. Also an artlet alumnus! AB should be “overhauled” too. Part from revisiting curriculum and purchasing state of the art equipment, AB should take a second look to their roster of professors. At least, they should have a masters or better yet Phds. But more than that, they should be a practitioner so theories and application go hand in hand. Further, they should have published works in and out of the country.
    This is a personal experience. I should know because I was a student.

  5. I guess there is a lot to be done. But one has to put things into their proper perspective. In the case of the Faculty of Law, it has vastly improved its standing based on its Bar passing percentage. The College of Education is also maintaining its very high passing rates in LET Exams but of course it goes down a little and goes up a little depending on the difficulty of the current exams. In the Faculty of Engineering, it can be observed that the passing rate for instance in Chemical Engineering for first time takers is 100% recently but it is with those who took it before and did not pass where the passing rate is low. In this faculty the goal of getting high passing percentage is not easy. The nature of the exam alone is already a determiner whether any school can expect to do well or not. And so, there are times when UST Engineering is doing remarkably well and times also when it does not. Lately however, much seem to be desired as their previously very high passing rates seem to be declining of late. Even in the Faculty of Pharmacy, the results are mostly very good but during off season board exams, the results are sometimes not so high. I guess the administration should help the colleges that are challenged these days so that they can have better performances in the future. It is very important that all colleges and not only the ones called “glory courses” of UST are strengthened. I notice however that in the College of Education it is in the Guidance and Counseling program where board exam results are declining significantly. In the Rehabilitation Science, the result of the university’s Physical Therapy, and Occupational Therapy seem to need more attention. I know that the people behind these programs are doing their best but, it is also possible that they can still do more within their respective colleges so that improvements can still be realized.

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