Walde is new UHS-OVCCA director; pushes for students’ mental resilience, repro health

UHS PAST AND PRESENT. (L-R) Former Director Dr. Marilyn P. Reano, VC Serlie Barroga-Jamias, and Newly-Appointed Director Dr. Jessie Imelda F. Walde

Dr. Jessie Imelda F. Walde is the newly-appointed medical director of the University Health Service-Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs (UHS-OVCCA) effective 11 May 2018.

Her appointment was the result of a selection process that was done by a search committee created by Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. and chaired by Vice Chancellor Serlie Barroga-Jamias in February 2018.

She succeeded Dr. Marilyn P. Reaño, who compulsorily retired on 21 April 2018, after three terms as medical director and 24 years of service to the University as medical officer.

Dr. Walde had also served as medical director from 2000 to 2003, deputy director from 1997 to 2000, and head of the medical services section of the UHS prior to her appointment as the new medical director in 2018.

During the presentation of her plans and programs on 9 March 2018, she said that two of her priority programs concerns the mental resilience and the reproductive health of the students.

SEARCH FOR THE NEXT UHS DIRECTOR. The members of the search committee were (L-R) Mr. Geronimo C. Reyes (UHS), Dr. Teri-Marie P. Laude (College of Human Ecology), Ms. Marites Q. Lantican (All UP Workers’ Union), Dr. Serlie Barroga-Jamias, OVCCA (Chair), Ms. Angela SD. Sipriaso (Human Resources Development Office, Mr. Miguel Victor T. Durian (OVCCA-Main, Recording Secretary).

HUGO+ Towards Better Mental Resilience

At present, in-house psychiatrist Dr. Alexandra Jean C. Palis runs the UHS Student Welfare Clinic, which is the brainchild of former director Dr. Reaño. The clinic opened its doors for free to students since February 2016. Various colleges and offices, such as the Office of Student Affairs (OSA), have also conducted their own mental resilience activities, through seminars for students and trainings for faculty and staff.

Dr. Walde plans to unite all these efforts into a concrete, holistic, and proactive mental resilience program for the university, in consultation with concerned offices and the colleges, that will effectively and efficiently attend to the welfare of the students.

She calls her program “HUGO+” — a wordplay on the adolescent slang “hugot” — which stands for “Healthy University in a Giving, Optimistic, and Positive (+) Environment”.

The comprehensive program will have a preventive, curative, and rehabilitative arm, which will help students attain a sound mental well-being all throughout their journey at UPLB, starting from the pre-enrollment medical exam, which will now also look at the mental, and not just the physical well-being of the students. The program will also help the colleges better understand the condition of their students, so they will know how to approach them appropriately.

Moreover, Dr. Walde and her “HUGO+” team attended the Philippine Academy of Physicians in School Health, Inc.’s (PAPSHI) 19th Annual National Convention themed”School-Based Mental Health” held at the Century Park Hotel, Malate, Manila last 21-22 May 2018.

HUGO+ TEAM. (L-R) Dr. Kristine Joy L. Saul, Psychiatrist Dr. Alexandra Jean C. Palis who served as one of the speakers, Medical Director Dr. Jessie Imelda Foronda-Walde, Medical Officer Dr. Randolph B. Trinidad, President-Elect National Board 2018-2019 PAPSHI; and Nurse Maria Cristina Wagan-Zafaralla.

Adolescent Reproductive Health 

Being a family doctor and having had a master’s degree in reproductive health from the Institute of Tropical Health in Belgium, Germany, Dr. Walde also recognizes the importance of reproductive health, especially among adolescents.

Also having been the former coordinator of the Reproductive Health Office of the UPLB Gender Center, she recognizes that the issue creates a stigma, which she believes is hindering students from fully and honestly disclosing their symptoms and conditions to health professionals, who are thus unable to give appropriate action.

Further, with the rising number of HIV/AIDS cases and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) in the Philippines and in CALABARZON, the UHS also needs to be ready with addressing these conditions, says Dr. Walde.

Hence, she will be training UHS medical officers to be keener and more sensitive when approaching students who are suspected to be afflicted with reproductive health issues, so they will not feel ashamed and be cared for accordingly. (Written by: Mariz Diagan, OVCCA intern)

The UHS can be reached at landline (049) 536-2470 or email uhs.uplb@up.edu.ph or Facebook.

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