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7 Outstanding Filipinas in the Field of Healthcare

Expertly reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD · Internal or General Medicine

Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Apr 11, 2022

7 Outstanding Filipinas in the Field of Healthcare

Women are ahead of their time. Even in the past when people confined ladies to the role of homemakers, many left footprints: extraordinary efforts that eventually led to empowerment.  As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s dive deep into the contributions of 7 outstanding Filipinas in different fields of health. 

Fe V. del Mundo, M.D.

Many know about Dra. Fe del Mundo through her immeasurable contribution in the field of pediatrics. But more than that, she has also spearheaded various innovations throughout her more than 7 decades of medical career. 

This renowned Filipina scientist was also a dedicated humanitarian, who spent her life to improve child care across the globe. 

She became the first Asian woman admitted to Harvard and pursued graduate degrees in America. Moreover, she transformed Philippine medicine, making significant advances in immunization and the treatment of jaundice while also providing services to thousands of impoverished families.

One of the outstanding Filipinas on our list, Dr. Fe del Mundo is credited for conducting research that led to the development of the incubator and a jaundice-relieving device. Her methods, such as the BRAT diet for treating diarrhea, have spread globally and saved millions of lives.

Honoraria Acosta-Sison, M.D.

Like Dr. Fe del Mundo, Dra. Honoria Acosta-Sison is acknowledged for her significant contributions in the field of medicine. 

Did you know that she is the first Filipina physician, the first Filipina graduate of an American Medical School, and the first Filipina obstetrician. Truly, she’s one of the outstanding Filipinas to celebrate this International Women’s Day. 

Aside from that, she is the first female doctor who did not attend medical school in the Philippines. Rather, she studied at the University of Pennsylvania, where she applied for a government scholarship as a pensionado in 1903. Dra. Honoraria Acosta-Sison defied traditional Filipino culture. 

During her time, she has authored 103 scientific papers, established the normal pelvimetry in Filipino women and cephalometry in Filipino newborns. She’s also the Filipina behind the introduction of low cesarean section in the country. 

Her studies on pregnancy toxemia and trophoblastic diseases were also valuable to the successful detection and monitoring of such cases.

Aleth Therese L. Dacanay, Ph.D.

Aleth Therese L. Dacanay is the University of Santo Tomas’ Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy. She is likewise the Program Lead for Pharmacy and Medical Technology Cluster of the Graduate School. 

Besides her work in the academe, she also takes part in the Philippine Pharmacists Association, Inc. (2020-2022) as the Executive Vice President. 

Prof. Dacanay is also regarded as a thought leader in the field of pharmacy education. She has garnered prestigious awards and recognition, including:

  • Academe’s Most Outstanding Pharmacist in 2017
  • Professional Regulation Commission’s 2018 PRC Most Outstanding Professional in the Field of Pharmacy

Currently, she is also the Chairperson of the CHED Technical Panel for Pharmacy Education. There’s no doubt that Aleth Therese L. Dacanay is one of the outstanding Filipinas in pharmacy and education. 

Estefania Aldaba-Lim, M.D.

Dra. Estefania Aldaba-Lim is the first Filipina psychologist who made significant contributions in the following fields of expertise:

She also became the first Filipina to earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Michigan. 

When World War II broke out, she became concerned about the well-being of children and the impact of war on women. This then prompted her to write books about parenting and mental health. 

She returned to the Philippines in 1952 and founded the Philippine Mental Health Association, later becoming the president of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH). 

Her contributions to the field of mental health had a global impact that still benefit us to this day. 

Audrey Sue Cruz, MD

Another in our list of outstanding Filipinas is Dra. Audrey Sue Cruz. Mattel Inc, the toy company, even produced a doll in her honor. 

Dra. Cruz is an internal medicine physician based in Las Vegas who has been recognized by Mattel Inc. for her contributions to the healthcare industry during the COVID-19 pandemic and the #StopAsianHate movement. 

She is among the six female healthcare workers recognized by Mattel’s Thank You Heroes program, which seeks to celebrate pandemic frontline health workers.

According to the toymaker, her “positive impact in her community, inspiring current and future generations for years to come” made her remarkable to stand in the line-up of role model dolls. 

Melissa Jiao

Aside from the notable doctors, we also have laboratory workers, like Melissa Jiao, who continues to fight the ongoing polio outbreak in the country.

She works with the rest of the members of the National Polio Laboratory at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in testing and confirming cases. 

Melissa is a part of the World Health Organization’s spotlight series of #HeroesEndingPolio alongside other village health workers, local leaders, and volunteers. 

Maria Isabel Layson

Filipina students can also make a name for themselves even at a young age. Maria Isabel Layson first gained recognition when she won best individual research in the Life Science category. 

She conducted an in-depth research on Jamaican cherry, locally known as aratiles, to understand its antioxidant properties and possible benefits for diabetic or obese people. 

Recently, she was included in Britannica’s Shapers of the Future 2022 list, which includes young individuals working in various fields. 

Key Takeaways

These are just a few of the many outstanding Filipinas out there, carving their way into revolutionizing the world and making it a better place. Let’s take this time to give honor and appreciation to every Filipina who is giving it her best for the people of today.  

Learn more about International Women’s Day here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Expertly reviewed by

Dexter Macalintal, MD

Internal or General Medicine

Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Apr 11, 2022

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