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History of the PNA

In 1938, the Philippine Society of Psychiatry and Neurology was organized. It was very active and prolific as manifested in its journal, The Philippine Journal of Psychiatry and Neurology. The neurologists who were members of the society and who had just arrived from training abroad did not feel comfortable in the said society because psychiatry was the main thrust and most of the members were almost wholly from the National Mental Hospital.


In 1967, Dr. Gilberto Gamez, Dr. Tim Jimenez, Dr. Victor Reyes, Dr. Roger Baisas, Dr. Braulio Idea, Dr. Marina Mendoza, and Dr. Martesio Perez convened the Neuroscience Society. Dr. Gamez was elected as chairman of the society. The ensuing discussions were so exhausting that no other meeting was called.

In 1973,when Dr. Lourdes Ladrido Ignacio was the president of Philippine Society of Psychiatry and Neurology, the Philippine Board of Psychiatry and Neurology was organized with Dr. Jaime Zaguirre as its first chairman, Dr. Cesarea Godoco Agular as vice chairman of Psychiatry, and Dr. Gilberto Gamez as vice chairman of Neurology. Dr. Reynaldo Rivera was inducted fellow of the Philippine Society of Psychiatry and Neurology. Even as this developed, there was already a move among neurologists to form a separate society.

At about this time, Dr.Alfredo Bengzon succeeded in getting together a handful of neurologists. After a series of meetings at the Medical City (at that time called the ABM Sison Hospital), this group of neurologists formed the Philippine Association of Neurology, Inc. (PAN) which eventually evolved into the Philippine Neurology Association. Dr. Gilberto Gamez was elected president, in absentia, Dr. Alfredo Bengson was elected vice president, and Dr. Lilian Lee was elected secretary-treasurer. The other founding members were Dr. Robert Ang of Chinese General Hospital, Drs. Caridad Cruz and Reynaldo Rivera of Jose Reyes Memorial Hospital, Dr.Joven Cuanang of UERM Medical Center, Drs. Eduardo Jurilla, Dr. Artemio Ordinario, and Dr. Paulino Tenchavez of UST, and Drs. Braulio Idea, Marina Mendoza and Martesio Perez of the UP-PGH.

In 1974, the Philippine Medical Association accepted the PNA as one of its component affiliate specialty societies. when this occured, Dr. Lourdes Ladrido Ignacio, then president of the old Philippine Society of Psychiatry and Neurology, together with other colleagues, decided to form the Philippine Psychiatry Association,so that the old mother society became extinct, as well as the board which was organized in 1973.


Among the listed objectives of the PAN were:

  1. Maintain high standards of practice

  2. Establish, standardize, advance, evaluate and accredit residency traing programs.

  3. Establish a Specialty Board of Neurology

  4. Encourage and foster research

  5. Contribute to the updating of teaching of neurology

  6. Represent the Philippines in the international community of neurological associations


All these objectives, the Philippine Neurological Association (PNA), the present form of the PAN, has already accomplished and is presently committed to support.


The first chairman of the PNA specialty board was Dr. Artemio Ordinario. Currently the board is chaired by Dr. FE Enrile-BAcsal. The PNA specialty board conducts written examinations every year. The written examinations covers the basics neurosciences, the clinical subspecialties in neurology, basic psychiatry, and the ancillary examinations in neurology such as clinical neurophysiology, radiology and brain imaging. Those who pass the written examinations are then given an oral practical examination where they examine the patient in front of a three-man panel appointed by the board.

In January 1978, the PNA specialty board conducted the first written examination for certification. This was followed by the oral examination in June 1978 of Dr. Jose Navarro. He became the first fellow certified by the PNA specialty board and was inducted in 1978. Drs. Cora Rivera, Gloria Lopez, Ed Jurilla and Jesus Poblete were inducted in 1974 under the grandfather's clause. To date, there have been more than 400 neurologists certified by the board.

The initial training institutions that have accredited residency training programs in neurology were: University of Santo Tomas, University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital,  University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center and the St. Luke's Institute of Neurosciences. The training programs of these institutions are continuously reviewed and re-certified. As of the present, there are three additional accredited training institutions: The Medical City, Baguio General Hospital, and Quirino Memorial Medical Center.

In 1992, the pediatric neurology specialty board was created with Dr. Lillian Lee as its first chair. The board administers examinations to accredited institutions including Philippine Children's Medical Center. UP-PGH Medical Medical Center Pediatrics Department, and UST Pediatric Neurology section. The following year, the Child Neurology Society of the Philippines (CNSP) was organized with Dr. Lillian Lee as its first president.


In order to coordinate research, advocacy, public information, service, and training in the different subspecialties, the following councils were created:

  1. CNS Infection Council

  2. Dementia Council

  3. Epilepsy Council

  4. Headache Council

  5. Movement Disorder Council

  6. Neuromuscular Council

  7. Neurosonology Group of the PNA

  8. Neurotoxicology Council

  9. Stroke Council


Research activity is conducted in the different PNA-accredited institutions and even in other institutions where the PNA fellows are active such as in Chong Hua General Hospital and Cebu Doctors Hospital, hospitals in Cebu.


Research initiated by the different PNA councils and coordinated by the research committees are ongoing. Research on the epidemiology of neurological diseases has recently been conducted by Dr. Jose Navarro in Morong, Rizal. Aside from this particular study, several papers have been written on stroke, neuromuscular disease, tropical infectious diseases, immunosuppresive treatment of autoimmune diseases, and tumors.


These papers have been presented in the annual scientific meetings of the PNA, in its own Philippine Journal of Neurology, the Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine, Acta Medica Filipina, in journals of a few of the accredited institutions. Some have been published in international publications and in proceedings of international congresses. It is also encouraging to note that the number and quality of papers has been increasing and improving over the years. Whereas the beginning, case reports and case series were abundant, recently therehave been more prospective studies.


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