Warmest greetings to my colleagues in the Philippine Pediatric Society. Come July 25-28 of this year, we shall be holding our 58th Annual PPS Convention, the second to be conducted online. The theme this year is “Cultivating Resilience in Times of Adversity.” The Scientific Committee saw the need to have discussions of required life skills in children and adults to cope with, and adapt to adverse circumstances. Truly, the practice of pediatric medicine has dramatically changed, and we need to keep pace, without compromising the health and welfare of the children under our care. We recognize the efforts of the Organizing Committee, headed this year by Dr. Ma. Isabel C. Urtula, and the host institution, the Far Eastern University - Dr. Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation, Department of Child Health in this new normal conduct of a major convention.
Everyday, people live through hardships. About 16% or 17 million Filipinos live below the poverty line. More than 85 children die everyday because of hunger. There are children in armed conflict, and about 2.1 million 5 to 17 year old are laborers, 95% in hazardous work.
Many of our young population face adversity from the time they are born. We have discussed their situation, and proposed solutions in many of our scientific meetings. However, it is only a handful of us who have come face to face with their problems. Until the coronavirus pandemic hit us right in our own workplaces and homes. We confronted adversity up close, and personal.
Resilience is typically defined as the capacity to recover from difficult life events. “It’s your ability to withstand adversity and bounce back and grow despite life’s downturns,” says Amit Sood, MD, the executive director of the Global Center for Resiliency and Well-Being.
We need resilience now more than ever as we are all living in adverse and uncertain times. The American Academy of Pediatrics has long emphasized its importance in its publication summarizing the 7Cs model of Resilience which include the building blocks of confidence, competence and character among others.
There are many resources that we can utilize to learn resilience in times of adversity. It is important to look first into ourselves, and into each other because we have the inherent potential to overcome. By coming together, we can learn to strategize, for ourselves, and for our patients.
Benjamin Franklin said, ”Out of adversity comes opportunity.” Let us come together during the 58th Annual Convention for the chance to learn how to best conquer adversity.
Dear PPS members, colleagues and friends,
The COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global crisis of our time. Indeed, not since World War II has an event made this much of an impact on the lives of people all around the world. The losses we have experienced this past year are not abstractions—every one of us has now known real pain from losing a family member, a friend, or a colleague to COVID. As a country, we are also aware of the struggle with balancing lives and livelihoods; it almost seems like saving lives means choosing to have the most vulnerable sectors of society suffer from lack of income and food.
It is easy to feel hopeless during this period, and remaining optimistic can seem impossible. However, loss can also serve as an opportunity to grow and understand what we can do better. COVID has taught us many lessons and has caused a large shift in thinking. We now know how fragile society is and how we are all connected and affected when a crisis hits. It is with this mindset that the Organizing Committee of the 58th Annual Convention of the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS)— hosted by the Far Eastern University-Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation (FEU-NRMF)—developed the theme “Cultivating Resilience in Times of Adversity”.
This conference aims to teach skills and strategies in achieving resilience to withstand the difficulties brought about by the COVID crisis. Our focus is helping healthcare workers to become more self-aware so that they can face challenges with the knowledge of what to prioritize, both in the work setting and in their personal and family lives. With this shift in thinking, healthcare workers can be better-positioned to face adversity, not just in this context but in future crises as well.
While the mental well-being of adults has been severely affected by COVID anxiety, we also know that children have been just as affected, if not more. Our lessons from COVID have taught us to also prioritize developing children’s adaptability and skills in facing challenges. By adopting a resilient mindset, children can prepare themselves emotionally and mentally for life-changing events.
The Scientific Committee has carefully prepared a program that emphasizes resilience and addresses our current needs. Aside from the plenary sessions, there are more than seventy scientific sessions on demand that you can choose from, which can be viewed at your own time and pace. The sessions have been consolidated under nine topics and span discussions on cognitive well-being to ease of recognition and diagnosis to providing the latest guidelines and algorithms on selected conditions. There are also a wide range of non-scientific sessions, including, carving adaptive pathways and strategies to relieving stress.
We invite you to be part of the conference which will be held from July 25 to 28, 2021. We hope that you can join us in fulfilling the mission of the PPS to provide children and families a home and a community where they can grow, live and prosper, while being in a system that can withstand adversity.
Although we cannot yet see a clear end to this crisis, we can move forward with a deeper understanding of what we need to do and how we can do it. By adopting an attitude that prioritizes adaptability and further developing our own skills to face COVID, we can stay true to the commitment of our fallen heroes in the medical community.
We will overcome this crisis! We hope to see you at the conference.