UPCM’s medical informatics prof wins 1st Gawad Pangulo Award

Dr. Iris Thiele Isip-Tan, Associate Professor and Chief of the UP Manila College of Medicine’s Medical Informatics Unit, won the first Gawad Pangulo: A Competition for Progressive Teaching and Learning.  She bested three other UP faculty members in the final round held on 13 February 2015.

Specializing in internal medicine-endocrinology, Dr. Isip Tan teaches the graduate introductory course on health informatics (HI 201) to doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

“I want to see [my students] learning; I want to make learning visible,” she says. To do this, Dr. Isip Tan requires her students to create their own e-portfolios and personal learning networks on varied social media platforms, and takes advantage of blended learning, holding for the most part all her classes online via the University Virtual Learning Environment (UVLe). Her job as a teacher, she stresses, is to be a network facilitator.

The associate professor used the P50,000 awarded to her from the first round to develop teaching videos inspired by massive open online courses (MOOCs) of top foreign universities. Her teaching philosophy is based on Connectivism, a learning theory for the digital age. UP Manila offers the sole master’s program in health informatics in the Philippines.

She is the first graduate of the Medical Informatics Track of the MS Health Informatics and her thesis was on eLearning in Medical Education. She is Informatics Columnist, The Wifi Witch, PSEM Updates, and former informatics editor of Diabetes Watch.  She is also author of the online blog, Endocrine Witch.

A magna cum laude BS Biology graduate of UP Diliman, she graduated from UPCM ranked 7th in class and took Internal Medicine residency at the PGH Department of Medicine as chief resident and where she also finished the Fellowship program in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism as chief fellow.

She earned various research awards for work in diabetic foot infections and gestational diabetes, notably the Dr. Ramon Abarquez Outsanding Fellow Award.

Three other faculty members made it to the final round of the competition. They are Dr. Aletta Yñiguez, UP Diliman Marine Science Institute; Dr. Wilfredo Jose, Department of Chemical Engineering in UP Diliman; and Dr. Aimee Lynn Dupo,  Institute of Biological Sciences in UP Los Baños.

In his message, UP President Alfredo E. Pascual focused on the importance of innovation to teaching, especially now that more tools and schemes are available at our disposal. He added that generating the interest of students is key to getting high grades. He also congratulated all four finalists for “the excellence and effort they had demonstrated.”

Gawad Pangulo is an initiative of the Office of the President with the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs (OVPAA) as implementing and coordinating body. The award recognizes faculty members who use technology to pursue knowledge and nurture creative thinking and combine traditional and modern approaches to learning.  It will be open for nominations again later this year. Initially conceptualized as a one-time competition, it will now be expanded to include different categories for graduate and undergraduate courses. (With reports from the ovpaa website and Endocrine Witch blogsite).