RITM Director conferred PFPA distinction award
The Philippine Federation of Professional Associations (PFPA) honors RITM Director Dr. Celia C. Carlos with the Sinag Medallion in the 9th PFPA Distinction and Excellence Awards.

Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) Director Dr. Celia Carlos received the Distinction Award for the medical profession in the 9th Philippine Federation of Professional Associations (PFPA) Distinction and Excellence Awards on February 26, 2022 at UP Diliman, Quezon City.

PFPA bestowed Dr. Carlos with the Sinag Medallion under the Academe/Research and Development category in recognition of her distinctive contributions and accomplishments in the field of medicine.

“I am honored to be recognized by the PFPA for my contributions to the advancement of research in infectious diseases, as well as my role in steering one vital government agency in health, RITM, towards successfully delivering its mandate even in the most difficult situations,” said Dr. Carlos.

One of Dr. Carlos’ most notable feats is the establishment of the national Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Program (ARSP) in 26 high-performing bacteriology laboratories across the country, notwithstanding the regular budgetary challenges for its first 30 years. Her leadership in ARSP has been recognized globally, as Dr. Carlos serves as the temporary adviser and speaker for World Health Organization (WHO) consultations and high-level meetings on antimicrobial resistance.

The ARSP has provided valuable evidence for many clinical practice guidelines on infectious diseases and contributed significantly to more rational use of antibiotics and patient management.

Dr. Carlos’ research work, of over a hundred publications in local and international journals, has influenced several policy directions in the government. She also managed to secure research grants from prestigious institutions such as the United Kingdom National Institutes for Health Research.

Her efforts paved the way for the pilot implementation of the rotavirus vaccine in the Department of Health (DOH) Expanded Program for Immunization; refinement in the clinical practice guidelines for pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, hospital-associated infections, and gonorrhea; and the determination of transmission patterns of hospital-acquired infections in newborn intensive care units using whole genome sequencing.

Excelling not only as a researcher but also a leader, Dr. Carlos successfully pushed for the organization of 20 National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) in RITM and the provision of regular government funds for its activities.

More importantly, Dr. Carlos provided ceaseless direction and guidance as RITM pursues its vital public health response in the COVID-19 pandemic which includes the crucial technical guidance in the certification of SARS-COV-2 testing laboratories; evaluation of test kits; management of the supply chain system of the national COVID-19 laboratory network; establishment of the Quality Assurance Program of the laboratory network; management of patients; and, preparation of technical guidelines on the testing and clinical management for DOH.

“Pursue a career grounded on the needs of the Philippines where the door is wide open for those who want to contribute their share to nation building,” said Dr. Carlos as she encourages professionals who wish to excel in their chosen careers.

With this motivation as her driving force, Dr. Carlos was selected as one of the 129 outstanding women in health sciences from 1900 to 2000; the Philippine representative in the Asian Network for Surveillance of Resistant Pathogens (ANSORP) since 1998, WHO Western Pacific Gonococcal Resistance Surveillance Program, and PulseNet Asia Pacific.

True enough, Dr. Carlos’ leadership qualities did not go unnoticed having been awarded the Career Executive Service Officer level III (CESO III) in government and the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) Gold Pioneers Award for excellence in advocacy and service. Dr. Carlos has also served as the President of the Pediatric Infectious Society of the Philippines from 2006-2008 and as a chairperson of various committees of the Philippine Pediatric Society, PSMID and DOH.

Established in 2005, the PFPA Excellence Awards serves to inspire member-professionals to excel in their fields of endeavor. It aims to be the highest distinction to be conferred on professionals who have displayed exemplary contribution in the advancement of their professions and to nation-building.

The Sinag Medallion symbolizes the acclaim and gratitude of PFPA for the professionals through their parent organizations.

by Anel Azel Dimaano

by Allenor Enciso, Communication and Engagement Office