The group originally known as Filipino Medical Association, founded 1979 was eventually dissolved in 2011. In August 30, 2011, a New Articles of Incorporation, with Dr. Benjamin O. Camacho (Incoming new President of the Association, 2013-2014, served as the Incorporator, Initiator and Framer. With the able assistance of Dr. Valerie Altavas, (current President, 2011-2012). The name, Filipino Medical Association was amended and changed to Philippine Medical Association of San Diego. Since it's inception, it has been and continues to be a non profit public Benefit Corporation with charitable purposes. (501C3). Since then, Constitution and By-laws has been amended twice, January 2017 and again in February 2019.
Through the years, the Philippine Medical Association San Diego has slowly moved and forged ahead. Membership has grown and enthusiasm continuously abounds among its members as it assisted us move into the mainstream of American life while we maintain our cultural identities and serve people of diverse cultural backgrounds. The group was originally known as Filipino Medical Association and in August 30, 2011 through the Articles of Incorporation, the name was amended to Philippine Medical Association of San Diego. Since its inception, it has been and continues to be a non profit public Benefit Corporation with charitable purposes.
The history of the Association started in the late 1978 when five young energetic Filipino doctors from San Diego headed by Dr. Erwin Yorobe attended the induction of the Philippine Medical Society of Southern California which was held in Los Angeles. With constant tugging of minds after the induction ceremony, these doctors discussed forming a separate San Diego Medical Association.
A reaching hand was extended to a few San Diego Filipino doctors and a beckoning call to organize was finally formalized. So when the late Ric Chantengco accepted the challenge to host the first association meeting at the Hanalei Hotel, the pace became more frenzied. Filipino doctors' enthusiasm grew and the process started snowballing. On December 15, 1979 the Association was eventually created when 20 Filipino premiering doctors became the core and founding members of Filipino Medical Association of San Diego. The reign of stewardship of the association in its infancy under Dr. Yorobe was successful. In February 28, 1980, the Association became an official organization with appended By-Laws and Constitution and with a first set of elected officers. Dr. Edwin Yorobe felt the burden of responsibility in the association’s early stages but with every member’s solid support and involvement, the association thrived and kept moving forward.
On October 25, 1980, the first induction of officers was held during a Gala Ball at the Kona Kai Club in Shelter Island (now known as Paradise Point Resort Hotel in Vacation Road). The officers were successfully inducted with Dr. Edwin Yorobe as the president and Dr. Cesar Candari as the president-elect. The inaugural ceremonies included an inspirational talk by the guest speaker Dr. Renato Ramos, president of the Association of Philippine Physicians in America (APPA). Other guests who attended the event were Congressman Duncan Hunter who installed the officers and Dr. Ralph Ocampo, the President-Elect of the San Diego County Medical Society, who gave the citation and remarks.
In the incoming decade, there was strong desire among the officers and members to continue and move forward, so the By-Laws was amended to extend it to a couple of years. Then the reign of stewardship moved on uninterruptedly from Dr. Edwin Yorobe to Drs. Cesar Candari, Adelito Gale, Marianito Sevilla, Ceferina Ruiz and others.
Annual family picnics for Members have been continuously organized and held at places in San Diego. Regular dinner meetings with pharmaceutical/medical companies sponsored medical lectures went on. The Association has been involved in several humanitarian pet projects in San Diego and in our home country Philippines, including some monetary and in-kind donations in times of need. Notable is the humanitarian monetary aid of $10,000 that had been donated to help our “kababayans” during the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.
The Association has also initiated helping some deserving students who want to pursue a medical career in the Philippines while it offers mentorship to Filipino medical students in San Diego County. The Association also undertakes yearly Medical Missions serving the underprivileged Filipinos in several underserved areas in the Philippines. These missions are undertaken in association with the Paradise Valley International Medical Mission which was founded by the late Dr. Eduardo Manaig The association also cooperates with the Paradise Valley International Medical Mission in doing medical missions in other selected countries. The challenging task of organizing and implementing the medical missions is successfully carried on by its current President and Medical Director, Dr. Benjamin Camacho.
In the early 1980's, the officers and members considered missionary works as noble aspirations of the Association. Hence, providing medical care to underserved communities was a big marquee project which allowed its members participation and expressions of their missionary interests. The first medical mission of the Association was organized by Dr. Cesar Candari. It was done in Porac, Guagua, Pampanga and in the Bicol region, assisted by the Philippine Department of Tourism and in cooperation with the Philippine Medical Society of Southern California. The PMA Medical Mission in cooperation with the Paradise Valley International Medical Mission under the leadership and medical directorship of Dr. Benjamin Camacho has, for the past 15 years, served more than 1,000,000 indigenous, underprivileged Filipinos in different underserved areas in the Philippines.
The Association also has its Annual Medical Symposium where activities include lectures of prominent doctors who are recognized in their areas of expertise to keep the members abreast on current medical knowledge and procedures. The symposium is also a way for raising funds to help implement various projects of the Association. It just completed its 8th Annual Medical Symposium with big success.
The simple yet prestigious Association's impact in the community is tremendous and it was recognized by the City of National City when the city's Mayor Ron Morrison proclaimed December 12, 2014 as “Philippine Medical Association Day”.
As years went by, changes in the landscape of the city and its people occurred, so, too, did our membership. Some members moved to other places, some retired to outside states, others got transferred and others joined our Creator. As new generations of doctors move in or grow in the city, the officers and members make sure that the Association is open to them. Hence, the membership continuously grows. And we are all proud to be a member of our own Association, the Philippine Medical Association of San Diego.
The Philippine Medical Association of San Diego recognizes with respect and gratitude all its esteemed Founding Fathers, all its Past Presidents and all those who have served the Association unconditionally and made it to what it is today – Association of active and retired Filipino and Filipino-American medical professionals adhering to standards of excellence, service and integrity, and dedicated in advancing the legacy and mission of the Association.
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