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ISDF: Revolutionizing Diabetes Education in the Philippines

What started as one man’s dream to spread awareness and knowledge about diabetes, has now become the first and only post-graduate school in the country that focuses solely on the study of diabetes.

For Dr. Ricardo Fernando, founding chairman and president of the Institute for Studies on Diabetes Foundation (ISDF), his perseverance and hard work has paid off. Seventeen years after, ISDF is now a school for diabetes that is recognized by the Commission on Higher Education.

“June 1989 was the birth of ISDF. We became only post-graduate course in the College of Medicine of the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERMMC),” said Dr. Fernando. From 1989, UERMMC has become home for the ISDF, which now offers a Master of Science in Internal Medicine, major in Diabetology.

Early beginnings
ISDF nowadays is also synonymous with the term diabetology, with its graduates being called diabetologists. “I started the term diabetology in 1989,” said Dr. Fernando. He said that he got the term diabetology in the U.S. during his training at the Joslin Diabetes Center. He said he and his fellow internists who were studying at Joslin at that time coined the term.

Coming back from the U.S. in the late 50s, Dr. Fernando immediately started his diabetes clinic at the Mary Johnson Hospital in Tondo, Manila. One of the first initiatives that he did was to conduct a survey on diabetes in Tondo, where he found that 6.4 percent of the adult population was diabetic.

“From that time, I decided to work on the diabetic population. I started working on children in Tondo,” he said. He even resorted to giving money to the mothers of the children for transportation so that they will be able to bring their children back for consultations.

Formalizing diabetes education From the simple dream of bringing diabetes awareness in the Philippines, Dr. Fernando has seen ISDF grow to where it is now. And with more than 300 graduates spread all over the Philippines, he can’t help but be like a proud father when talking about the achievements of his children – the ISDF graduates. “I have never known or heard of a graduate of ISDF who did not become successful in their practice,” he said.

With the basic premise of education, Dr. Fernando believes that educating doctors on the subject of diabetes, can help them improve the lives of many people. He dreams that someday, ISDF will be recognized as the leader when it comes to diabetes education.

“We are an academic group. We like to be the best when it comes to the subject of diabetes,” Dr. Fernando stressed.

Indeed, ISDF has gone a long way since the “Fernando lectures” days. With a new home – a building of their own in Marikina, plus a bunch of important projects in the pipeline, ISDF is moving closer to their dream of being recognized as a leader in diabetes education in the Philippines.

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  1. pershan v. escalona Reply

    good day. Im Dr. Escalona. I applied for ISDF LEAD training and gave my CV but unfortunately i lose the chance to be included in the FEB 27 batch. do you have another batch for the same training? do I need to submit my CV and letter of intent again? Thanks po.

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