Before the year 1910, the practice of Dermatology in the Philippines was pursued only by a few doctors who came from an era when the study of dermatology, syphilology, and leprology were deeply intertwined. Perhaps, the appreciation for Dermatology as a specialty began when Dr. Perpetuo D. Gutierrez and Dr. Stanley started teaching Dermatology and Syphilology separately for the first time at UP College of Medicine in 1910. It was around this time that some of our bright young doctors started going to the US, Europe, and Japan for training in Dermatology.
Coming back to the Philippines years later, they found themselves holding positions in the teaching staff of our prestigious medical universities, realizing the urgency for dermatologic care of their fellow Filipinos, and convening every so often to hold informal scientific meetings and to exchange thoughts on interesting and problematic cases. It wouldn’t take long before this handful of passionate dermatologist, considered pioneers of Philippine Dermatology, took on the challenge of organizing the group of practicing dermatologists. Thus, on November 8, 1952, the Philippine Dermatological Society was born.
Dr. Perpetuo D. Gutierrez became the first president and served for three consecutive terms until 1958. The first year of the PDS was capped by the first PDS Annual Meeting held in December 15, 1953 at the Philippine Columbian Clubhouse along Taft Avenue. Shortly after its formation, the PDS was recognized as a specialty society affiliated with the Philippine Medical Association (PMA).
The succeeding years in that first decade of the PDS saw the addition of new members who came from postgraduate courses and further training abroad, more organized scientific meetings with foreign guest speakers, and as the interest in Dermatology grew among the young doctors, more members taking in assistants or preceptees under their wings. It must have been a tightly-knit group of doctors whose only vision was to secure the place of Dermatology in Philippine medicine.
That vision continues to be fulfilled to this day by the growing family of the PDS. The brilliance of the founding members shines on.