Philippine Dermatological Society

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16th PDS SP Chapter 2019 Annual CME//Scientific Meeting
Dermatology & B-yond
Beauty and Brains
by Maritess N. Custodio, MD, FPDS

The Southern Chapter of the Philippine Dermatological Society held its Continuing Medical Education on March 29 to 30, 2019 at the Diversion 21 Hotel, Iloilo City, with the theme “Dermatology & B-yond”.


On the first night of the event, the delegates were welcomed at Breakthrough Restaurant for a lovely dinner by the beach. Dr. Aileen Adela J. Montero gave a preview of the conference with a lecture on “The Updates on the Management of Chronic Urticaria.” This was followed by a feast of the freshest seafood, premium fish, crustaceans and various shells.     

The meeting proper began the next day with Chapter board member Dr. Elvie A. Dofitas leading the assembly with an Opening Prayer. Chapter President Dr. Divina D.P. Go then warmly welcomed the delegates, followed by a message from Chair of the Scientific Committee of 2019, Dr. Aileen Adela J. Montero. The lectures for the day started after these welcoming remarks.  The Moderator for the morning session was Dr. Celia Theresa L. Layson.

Dr. Winlove P. Mojica delivered the first lecture on HIV in Dermatology. He emphasized that Dermatologists can significantly contribute to case finding and management of HIV, given that the skin is a major route of entry and acts as a special canvas for STD and HIV. Dr. Mojica identified seemingly common skin diseases that raise the index of suspicion, as they have been documented to have preceded an HIV diagnosis. Thus, it is now of paramount importance to take a proper sexual history from patients that elicit a high index of suspicion. He also shared vivid tips on the right questions to ask, sending the Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers of the forum shifting in their seats.

Dr. Bernadette Madrid, a Pediatrician and current Head of the Child Protection Unit, UPCM-PGH took over the podium for the next lecture, “The Skin in Child Abuse.” She said that since the most common signs of child abuse are cutaneous, these patients are often brought to dermatologists. She emphasized that recognition of the signs of child abuse is crucial because it is the third leading cause of death in children between one and four years of age. Lamentably, 20% of child homicide victims had contact with a health professional within a month of their death. Dr. Madrid then stressed that when it comes to Child Abuse, it comes IMPERATIVE for healthcare professionals to intervene and meddle.

This was followed by a lecture on “Psychodermatology for the Clinician: Screening for Anxiety, Depression & Suicide” by Dr. Antonio Sison. His discussion delved on the relation of the skin to mental well-being and psychology. He also magnanimously provided the delegates with screening tools that they can use in the clinics.

The fourth lecture was on “The Skin in Menopause” by Dr. Evelyn Gonzaga. She discussed the Physiology of Climacteric and how estrogen decline affects all other organ systems, including the skin. These changes lead to superficial dyspareunia and vulvovaginal atrophy during the menopausal age. Since menopausal patients experience and deal with many physical and physiological changes, it is essential that they be guided through the transition. 

This was followed by “Make-up and Dermatologists” by Mr. Felipe G. Tancingco, Jr., a professional make-up artist. He generously shared and demonstrated his talent by applying the day make-up look on Dr. Emily Soriano who volunteered for the session. The technique simply enhanced the natural features without looking made-up at all. It was Dr. Aileen Adela Montero who spoke in behalf of Mr. Tancingco about the process of application and the purpose behind each and every liquid and powder that were applied.

“Problem Oriented Approach to Atopic Dermatitis” by Dr. Ma. Teresita Gabriel came up next with Dr. Niña M. Gonzalez as Moderator. She said that Pimecrolimus was associated with a statistically significant improvement in quality of life after 6 months of treatment. It has also been proven to be as effective as topical corticosteroids. 

Midway through the conference, Dr. Maria Rosario M. Eusebio took over as Moderator.

Then, it was neurologist Dr. Grace Orteza’s turn to impart her knowledge with “Fact and Fallacies: Supplements for the Brain.” She discussed prevention and treatment of dementia and cognitive decline through dietary supplements or Nutraceuticals. She said that there is accumulating evidence that nutrition is important in the prevention and control of Alzheimer’s disease – nutrients that should primarily come from food. According to her, the four pillars of brain health are balanced nutrition, stress management, physical exercise and mental stimulation. 

The next lecture was by Rheumatologist Dr. Evelyn Osio Salido on “Red Dots: All about Vasculitis.” She discussed the diagnostic approach to cases of cutaneous vasculitis and the essentials of treatment. Her talk stressed the need to elicit the apparent cause of the vasculitis. She also emphasized that it is important to recognize diseases that mimic vasculitis.

Another interesting lecture followed next, “Anti-infectives in Dermatology and Our Role in Antibiotic Stewardship” by Dr. Regina Berba, an Infectious Disease Specialist. She highlighted the need for concerted implementation of a systematic, multi-disciplinary, and multi-pronged intervention to ensure the appropriate use of antimicrobials. This is of vital importance because of the troubling emergence of antimicrobial resistance. This is also of particular concern to dermatologists considering that chronic diseases in dermatology respond to and require prolonged use of antibiotics.                                                                                                                                        

The penultimate discussion was by Dr. Mae Quizon, titled “Beyond Prednisone: Anti-Inflammatory drugs in Dermatology.” She presented alternatives to prednisone in the treatment of bullous diseases. Also discussed were the different possible outcomes that may happen during tapering to complete withdrawal and its management. The different steroid sparing agents, its benefits, applications and tapering schedule were given attention as well. Dr. Quizon closed her presentation by giving a quick run-down of new and emerging therapy in the management of bullous diseases.

To cap it all off, Dr. Claudia Samonte gave her piece on “Skin Barrier Therapy + Lipigenium:  A New Approach in Biological Reconstruction of Atopic Skin.” She discussed Atopic dermatitis with particular focus on its most common complaint – dry skin, which is said to be due to decrease quantity of a protein called Filaggrin. Dr. Samonte also mentioned certain products that restore the skin barrier and lipigenium.

After finishing all lectures for the day, Dr. Ma. Purita Paz – Lao the new President of the Philippine Dermatological Society delivered her first message to the Chapter, noting amusingly that 90% of the Officers from the Mother Society were in attendance. This was followed by the Closing Remarks of Dr. Marie Antoinette F. Cabahug, the Chapter’s Vice President. She thanked all the delegates and the organizing committee for a successful CME meeting. She then invited everyone to get ready for the Fellowship Night later that day.

The Fellowship Night was held at the Kerr Building – a historic structure built in 1939 that has been newly restored and renovated. The night started with a lecture on “Targeting IL17A: Providing Complete Treatment for Psoriatic Disease.” It was delivered by Dr. Emmerson Gale Silverio Vista who gave a brief discussion on Psoriasis, but focused on the different biologics as a treatment option. 

Finally, after all the formalities, the delegates were treated to a delightful gastronomic experience of both local and international cuisine set in two different buffet spreads. A band dressed in very colorful and festive Dinagyang costume livened up the atmosphere with the unique culture of Iloilo. And so, after all the lectures and the filling meals, the party started rolling up until late through the night. 

It was undoubtedly a successful event. The multidisciplinary interaction of concepts in these scientific sessions offered both theoretical insights and practical application into the thought process of the other specialized fields that we often collaborate with for the optimal management of our patients.

The organizers really took care of us a little way too much. Thank you very much. The days we spent in Iloilo did not only enrich our minds but also our lives with deeper friendships fittingly formed in the City of Love. We left Iloilo City with strengthened personal and professional relationships as better colleagues and even better friends.