Day 6- Meeting with the Mayor

Updated: Oct 13, 2018

When I applied for pharmacy school and had my interviews, I remember thinking to myself “Who is this person that has taken over me?!” Because I was answering the interview questions in a way I never imagined I could and walked out knowing it couldn’t have gone any better. Today was another one of those days!

Leading up to the meeting with the Mayor, DOH (Department of Health) and RHU (Rural Health Unit) Directors, I was pretty quiet, especially after finding out more people were joining the meeting that expected.

I was nervous.

Nervous because I didn’t really have a set approach to how I was going to conduct the meeting and was really trusting that God was going to guide our conversation. But there have been times where I have spoken at meetings and didn’t prepare and it didn’t go as smooth, so that was lingering in the back of my head.

I had printed out some information to provide each person and to see that the last page that left the printer was exactly the last page I needed to print, it was as if I could see God says “I provide, even if it is just enough. Trust me.”

Members of the Meeting:

  • Mayor Andy Lacson- who is so humble and says he wears the Be the Change shirt to rock concerts and big events

  • Ms. Elsa- the sweet and lovely Mayor's Executive Assistant whom I have communicated greatly with

  • Dr. Valdez- Head Physician of the Local DOH/RHU with a passion to serve

  • Philjoy Baluyut- Municipal Attorney and excellent problem solver

  • Karen Guevarra- Public Health Nurse who was so good at verbally affirming our program, which helped to keep pushing forward

  • Uncle Milling- Previous Barrio Captain and one of the most generous and kind people I have ever met

  • Camille Joy Punsalan Salonga - Registered nurse ( & my cousin) who is going to great things in the world! Her determination to achieve her dreams is inspiring

  • Pam Causon- My partner in crime for Be the Change whose decisiveness and excellent work ethic is unparalleled

  • Pauline Lopez- Pharmacist (& also my cousin) who is lighting fast at finding an answer or solution to any question we are faced with and has such a fun spirit

It crossed my mind a few time of what these important public figures thought of the really young team of girls sitting across from them, but it never made me stick my tail between my legs. Why? Because there is power in this. There is power for other young people to see the work our young team is accomplishing and I pray that it will give others the courage to not let age be a deterrent.

Lunch meetings are awkward. Thank God for smoothies!

It was interesting navigating the timing of when to small talk to allow people time to eat and when to jump right in to get to business, but it happened seamlessly nonetheless!

  • We were able to identify the need for Insulin Training to providers

  • Pre-screening of patients will begin and lead up to the medical mission

  • Indigent/patients with the most need will be prioritize

  • Established our “Control Group” for the Clinical Study outcomes analysis

  • Selected 3 of the most rural and indigent barrios

  • It was echoed there is value in being able to provide testing machines and adequate supply of test strips with the education

  • Established a partnership with the local government to provide free legal advice to indigent patients and to create a space where they can ask questions about their legal rights

Last but not least, we have moved the date of the medical mission trip to June!

Be the Change will still provide the resources for another medical mission trip to be conducted before June, however flights are making it impossible for anyone to fly into the Philippines in January. June will allow us to finalize the details of the program and make the necessary adjustments discovered for us to go live with the CCC.

To say the least, there was an overwhelming amount of support and willingness to collaborate to make this program possible!

The energy was high after our meeting and kept it going by stopping at a local laboratory to inquire about prices and logistics for the base line and on-going labs we would need to obtain for our patients. Joy was a rock star in explaining our cause and uncovering the option for the lab to mobilize to our mobile medical clinic locations! They said they’ll email me the discounted lowest prices, so I am afraid at what those will come back at.

Also, after experiencing first hand how long it takes to get anywhere around here and now that I know the barrios we plan to serve are quite remote, the logistics of the clinic may have to be modified greatly and may affect the number of patients we can enroll. But I know there has to be a way to change our original approach to cater to these new parameters, so that we don’t have to reduce the number of patients. We will see!

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