Healthcare Blog of Dr. Remo Aguilar

Orthopedics six years after residency training, what now?

in Orthopedics/Research by
Four major subspecialty service of UP-PGH Orthopedics which also parallels its pilars: Leadership and excellence in training, service and research

I just came back from an orthopedic fellow’s convention and the Ruby Anniversary (40th) celebration of my former orthopedic training institution. Aside from the maxed out celebration with former (tor)mentors and alumni, I got one serious question unanswered afterwards- What now?

Seeing the glorious past of an iconic institution, and sensing the current status of a top notch residency program, I am reminded by the vision and mission the department. The same vision and mission somehow answered the very question thrown on me by an alumni and mentor.

Where are you now in your orthopedic practice? Are you in pursuit of our department’s pillars of leadership and excellence  in training, research, and service?

A very had question to answer and I can swear I had to think deep enough into the recesses of my orthopedic practice to assemble my answer. There is no doubt in my mind the department’s alumni are in the forefront orthopedic’s training and service in Philippine orthopedics. What I saw and heard during our Ruby Anniversary partly reaffirmed this.  Well, I  “rubbed elbows” and chit chatted with famous/celebrity/controversial orthopedic surgeons in the Philippines I listened to stories of alumni who practiced unknown territories where no other Filipino orthopod dare went into. In fact, almost every nook of Philippine orthopedics nowadays is led or being push up front by no less than the graduates of our institution, be it for excellence or some other things.

Research on the other hand, lags behind among these pillars that the department is excelling at. Such was an assessment by some former mentors and alumni, if we are to base it on the number of quality, evidenced based researches published on peer reviewed journals here or abroad. Sadly, such also applies to me. The last orthopedic related research I’ve done was six years ago and thats was during my residency training. In a community practice outside a training institution, the chances of you doing orthopedic research is practically nil. I blame it on nobody, but myself. During residency, we had this one common “Limitations of the Study” written in almost all our orthopedic research. It says “not enough study population”. Today, in my practice, that would still be a limitation. But many of former mentors mention this one reason:

“Many of our graduates outside a training institution don’t do orthopedic research anymore because research don’t feed mouths. Instead of providing money, you need money to do research. Research entails a great deal of commitment in terms of time, money  and effort. Commitment who couldn’t compete with the drive to earn money for living, comfortably”

Yes. I’m guilty too and these was an aye opener. At least now, I can set a direction to where my practice could focus more to improve service. Perhaps one day I can still live up to the expectations of my department’s vision and mission.  No it’s never late. Like what many have said, there’s so many areas to learn and research on Philippine orthopedics. Not many formal and evidence based researches have been done. Not many got published. That makes Philippine orthopedics still a fertile ground for research.

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is Chief of Clinics at General Santos Medical Center and Medical Specialist II Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (

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