Dr. Carmelie Marisse Villespin-Macapagal, MD (Philippines)
Mentor: Dr. Yoke Chin Giam, MD
Major goals for your mentorship experience: My primary goal was to expand my knowledge and skills in the field of Pediatric Dermatology. Application of this knowledge will lead to enhanced patient care and improved quality of life for my patients. Additional goals included sharing my experiences with other clinicians back in the Philippines, as well as to develop and apply critical thinking skills.
What did you like best about your mentorship experience?: I enjoyed the intricate and precise health care system of Singapore and the ideal international standards of patient management, especially for those with difficult to treat diseases. I believe there are certain mechanisms within the health care system of Singapore that I can apply to my Philippine practice.
Describe any special experiences with your mentor: I was blessed to have a mentor who possesses both the brilliance and finesse in patient care that I would like to aspire to. My mentor, Professor Giam Yoke Chin, let me observe and sometimes engage in clinical queries in her clinics. We would discuss the cases and how to properly manage each one. I was also very fortunate to attend her lectures at local conferences.
Describe a skill acquired during your mentorship that you will definitely use when you return home: During my mentorship, I was always reminded that a disease is dealt with not just by identifying its cure but by determining its cause – both primary and possibly secondary causes – then applying a practical and individualized treatment regimen. My mentor stressed the important difference between a fast solution and a rushed one.
How will your mentorship experience impact your patient care and professional goals over the next year?: My professional goals revolve primarily around patient care – it should be executed with the utmost compassion, commitment, and competence. The latter was clearly influenced by my recent mentorship experience. The outcome of such patient care is reflected not only in the sufficiency of disease treatment but in the overall enhancement of quality of life.
How will your mentorship experience make an impact five years from now, including for your region or country?: My mentorship will hopefully lead to empowering Filipino patients via education and inspiring both patients and health care workers to improve skin health.
Share a pearl you learned during your mentorship experience: I always assumed that all Asians share the same type of skin. Since most Asians are Fitzpatrick phototype 4 or 5, I thought our skin would basically react the same. But that really is not the case. I learned that the skin of Singaporeans reacted differently compared to the skin of Filipinos due to factors such as weather, air quality index, and, of course, cultural differences. It is our job as dermatologists to manage our patients’ skin accordingly and holistically.