In preparation for the nationwide roll out of the Health Research and Development Information Network Platform of Unified Research Information Management Systems (HERDIN PLUS), the Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) is conducting the HERDIN PLUS Learning Sessions, a series of face-to-face and virtual seminars to capacitate institutions in sharing their health research outputs  using the HERDIN PLUS across the regions.

The HERDIN PLUS, developed by the DOST-PCHRD, is an information management system and collaboration platform for Higher Education and Research and Development Institutions. The platform’s main objective is to collect, organize, and disseminate research information at the institutional level, making it easier to generate reports for Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Health (DOH), DOST, and other bodies. Initially intended to serve as a health research repository, it was upgraded in 2020 to include new features such as a database of HERDIN PLUS partners, grant proposal submissions, and ethics clearance applications, among others. 

“HERDIN was developed to make health research information more accessible,” Dr. Montoya said, sharing the Council’s motivation in supporting the development of the platform. “The series of Learning Sessions is the DOST-PCHRD’s initiative towards a successful rollout of the System, by reaching out to stakeholders and end users,” he added.

Through the Learning Sessions, the Council aims to build the capacities of research-generating institutions in disseminating their research on HERDIN PLUS in accordance with intellectual property practices and data protection laws. The capacity building initiative aims to reach a total of 30 institutions until December 2022. Starting in July this year, the HERDIN PLUS team has conducted seven sessions in various regions in the country. 

Access health and health-related information and other features of HERDIN PLUS here: 

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) hosted 22 scholars from the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) CALABARZON regional campus in a Science Immersion Program (SIP) on 4-22 July 2022, which enabled the high school students to be exposed to ongoing health researches and initiatives all over the country and encouraging them to pursue future careers in S&T.

The Council provided a three-week mentorship to students through a hybrid setup, with synchronous lectures via Zoom and complementary facility visits to different implementing agencies. The S&T Fellows facilitated the curation of lectures and facility visits with  PCHRD’s research partners aiming to maximize the students’ awareness  of the research programs being done in the Philippines.

The curriculum consisted of lectures that were common to all students, covering topics on research methods and design, research proposal writing, and intellectual property and technology transfer. It also included specialized lectures on three tracks, depending on the students' choice:  Functional Foods, Nutrition & Food Safety and Tuklas LunasTM (Drug Discovery and Development); Diagnostics and Omic Technologies for Health; and Biomedical Devices Engineering and Digital & Frontier Technologies in Health. As a final output, the students presented their capsule proposal on 21 July 2022 to their assigned S&T fellows who served as their mentors and panelists.

The closing ceremony was held on 22 July 2022, at Savoy Hotel, Pasay City. It was attended by Ms. Ullyann C. Garcia, Division Chief of PCHRD-Research Information, Communication and Utilization Division and the OIC of PCHRD Executive Director Jaime C. Montoya, PCHRD-Research and Development Management Division Chief Mr. Paul Ernest N. de Leon, DOST-PCHRD S&T Fellows, PCHRD-RDMD Section and Program Heads, and representative Project Managers. The ceremony was also attended by PSHS  Regional Campus Director Dr. Jose M. Andaya, PSHS Student Affairs Coordinator Ms. Mabelle V. Furto,  SIP Coordinator Ms. Cladys M. Falcunaya, selected PSHS faculty members, and the student participants. After the awarding of certificates, each of the student participants expressed their commitment to pursue science and technology research in the future.

The SIP is a regular summer activity organized by the PSHS that aims to develop science research laboratory skills among their students, as well as help identify and formulate research problems for their future research work.

Based on the evaluation, the PSHS students mentioned that they were “very satisfied” with the entire SIP program hosted by PCHRD. The students added that the whole program was well-prepared and that PCHRD fostered a good learning environment for all of them. The students also stated that the topics presented and projects showcased to them were very relevant.

The SIP program served as an avenue for some students to strengthen their interests and others to rediscover their passion for science and technology. One student mentioned: “this program helped me become more decisive with my future career” indicating that the SIP conducted by PCHRD was truly successful in its aim of inspiring future scientists of our generation.    

The first PCHRD-hosted SIP was conceptualized and led by Mr. Paul Ernest N. de Leon, Chief SRS, PCHRD-RDMD, and was pioneered by the Council’s S&T fellows: Dr. Phoebe Nicole G. Perez, Dr. Karell Jo Angelique C. Calpito, Dr. Sarah Jane A. Jimenez, Dr. Christian Adam L. Espiritu, Dr. Ma. Neda A. Catalma, Dr. Albert Remus R. Rosana and Dr. Aimee Yvonne Criselle L. Aman.

The Alay sa Ginhawa at Kalusugan or ALAGA KA project is this year’s champion of the Gelia Castillo Award for Research on Social Innovations in Health (GCARSIH). 

Initiated by the Health Futures Foundation, Inc., ALAGA KA aims to bring healthcare services closer to vulnerable communities by constructing fully-equipped, future-proof, and functional barangay health stations (BHS). 

With the support of both the government and private sectors, the project team designs and builds the BHS infrastructure, trains local health workers, and establishes community-based health and wellness programs. To date, ALAGA KA has successfully turned over a total of 23 barangay health stations in Batangas, Palawan, Samar, Northern Samar, and Eastern Samar.

Other winners of the GCARSIH are as follows:

  • 2nd Place: Culion Health, for a network of outsourced TB clinics, by the Culion Foundation
  • 3rd Place: UP Surgical Innovation and Biotechnology Laboratory (UP SIBOL) Program, for a collaborative work on manufacturing of intricate, precision medical equipment, by the UP SIBOL

Aside from the winners, the Award also recognized seven finalists:

  • Address the Stress: Mental Health ‘Nudges’ for the Wellbeing of Healthcare Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic by AHA! Behavioral Design;
  • Battle in the Blood (BitB), the first HIV gaming app in the country, by the University of the Philippines Manila;
  • CareGO EMR, a vaccination management app, by CP Health Innovations, Inc.;
  • Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation Treatment Intervention by University Research Co., LLC;
  • CRAMMS and MATA+ : COVID-19 Risk Assessment, Monitoring and Management Systems (CRAMMS) and Movement Activity Tracker Application (MATA+) by the Provincial Government of Tarlac;
  • Patient Navigator Program of Pediatric Childhood Cancer: Guiding Patients through the Complex Cancer Care Continuum by the Philippine Cancer Society, Inc. in collaboration with the Philippine Society of Pediatric Oncology; and
  • Ugnayang Nanay, for enabling environment for mothers, by Modern Nanays of Mindanao and ALIMA Mother Support Center.

A total of 82 innovators participated in this year’s run of the GCARSIH, which recognizes outstanding social innovations that address persistent, societal, and health systems challenges.

The Award honors the national scientist Dr. Gelia T. Castillo who emphasized how initiatives in science must serve a human purpose. 

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