Dr. Ma. Gia Grace Baquiran-Sison, a Thomasian physician known for her mental health advocacy, passed away on March 21 at age 53.

The doctor, better known on social media as “Doc Gia,” died of pulmonary embolism and heart failure, according to her husband, Dr. Rogin Sison.

After overcoming breast cancer, which she was diagnosed with in 2013, she became an advocate, raising awareness about the disease as well as mental health and other public health issues.

“No words can express the sorrow but I am happy you are peaceful now, no pain, no sufferings. I love you so much my soulmate, my Henny Hen,” her husband wrote on Facebook.

Sison, who specializes in occupational medicine, obtained her medical degree at the University in 1996.

Less than a month before her passing, Sison revealed on X (formerly Twitter) that she had experienced a six-second episode of aborted sudden cardiac death.

“I died for six (6) seconds, stuck in a black hole then suddenly scooped back in with the prominent voice of my husband repeatedly asking me to ‘come back’ after which I heard him apologize for defibrillating me and the rest just happened so fast,” she said.

ICanServe Foundation, Inc., an advocacy group promoting breast cancer awareness, described Sison as someone who was “always quick to lovingly extend a helping hand.”

“Doc Gia wore many hats and was beloved by the countless people she touched through her passionate work as a medical doctor and mental health advocate,” it said in a Facebook post.

Before her passing, Sison served as the head of the Women Wellness Center at Makati Medical Center and Philippine leader for Livestrong Foundation.

She was the national adviser of the Youth for Mental Health Coalition.

She regularly participated in programs initiated by UST on mental health and other health-related matters.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros and lawyer Chel Diokno paid tribute to Sison on X.

“She always made time for us, was always so warm, always so generous with her light,” Hontiveros wrote.

“Your voice and dedication to mental health awareness, especially during the challenging times of quarantine, have left an indelible mark. Your legacy will continue to inspire and help many,” Diokno said.

Sison previously hosted GTalks, a podcast series on CNN Philippines that delved into real-life situations. She was also known for co-hosting episodes on other podcasts, including “The Linya-Linya Show.”

Sison co-founded #HealthXPh, a platform advocating for the responsible use of social media in healthcare.

Her inurnment will be at The Heritage Park in Fort Bonifacio on Sunday, March 24. Mikhail S. Orozco


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