Can you tell us about your path to where you are now?
I am a farmer’s daughter and studied in public school from first grade to college. After medical school, I worked as a community-health-worker for a nonprofit organization called LIKAS, which means Care For The Health of the People. I was also employed as a company physician for a commercial center and I did private medical practice with volunteer medical work in a home clinic called The S.M.A.L.L. Clinic.
What influenced you to become a doctor?
My father had dreamed of becoming a doctor and passed this dream on to his children. One sister became a dentist, another a pharmacist and I became a medical doctor.
How has being a women in the medical field been beneficial?
The natural caring and nurturing qualities of a woman has been a big help in the medical field. The ability to listen and explore feelings and being sensitive to the needs of others has allowed me to help many patients.
In contrast, can you tell us about some obstacles you have faced?
It has always been a challenge to get the right balance between practicing my profession and caring for my family, but my priority has always been family. Earning money as a doctor and obtaining further training has always taken a backseat to my family.
Tell us about your work helping to solve the issue of child malnourishment in the Philippines?
We screen children 6 months to 4 ½ years old using height and body weight. Those who qualify are given food supplements on a monthly basis until they are five years old
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization shows 33% of preschool aged children in the Philippines are underweight for their age. How does this affect them long term?
The age from birth to 5 years is the critical stage for brain development so prolonged malnutrition at this age group would adversely affect their chances of leading full, productive lives as adults.
What do you think could be done to help encourage women in the Philippines to enter into both the nonprofit and medical field?
Formal education in primary and secondary schools should include an immersion/exposure to local communities to help increase women’s awareness of the social conditions surrounding them. Women in the community should be engaged in conversations/consultations to motivate them to be involved.
What advice would you give women in the Philippines looking to pursue a higher education?
Pursue an education that will harness your personal interests and talents. It is possible to work and study and have a family at the same time.
Dr. Cristie B. Deyro is a Representative in the Bacolod Philippines Area for the Liahona Children’s Foundation.
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