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Basic Principles

Health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Recent debates, however, have stirred up questions that challenged this definition. From the closed definition of individual health being, other organizations have brought the concept of health in the wider dimensions that not only focuses on curative measures but on preventive measures as a means of bridging the gap between both health and non-health organizations for health sustainability.

The Ateneo de Zamboanga University School of Medicine (ADZU SOM) believes in this form of health and that a physician is to promote health by being responsive to the changing patterns of health development and the needs of the communities, particularly in Western Mindanao. Along with this vision and the mission to help provide solutions to the health problems of the people and communities in Western Mindanao, community immersion is incorporated in the medical curriculum.

A community, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “a group of persons having a common history or common social, economic, and political or an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location”. To immerse in a community is to live within that location and to share their common attributes and interests. Hence, when an individual immerses himself, he is being exposed to the different personalities, beliefs and cultures, and learns to live by them.

In ADZU SOM, the community exposure of the medical students begins as early as first year and continues for the next four (4) years. Within this period, students are expected to not just implement programs and plans, but to also establish the competencies, skills and attitudes of a true physician. All six (6) groups of the Class of2021 were assigned to be in the Municipality of Mahayag, Zamboanga del Sur. Each group is designated to different barangays namely Pugwan, San Jose, Balanan, Tuboran, Dalaguete, and Manguiles. The first community exposure was set from November 07, 2016 to December 07, 2016. This group was designated to be in Barangay Manguiles.


            The main objectives of the first community exposure are to learn to establish rapport with the leaders and residents, to acquire secondary health data, and to create an initial community diagnosis.

Specifically, the first community exposure sought to:

  1. Learn the profile of the community (e.g. demographic profile, key persons or leaders of the community, economic and environmental profile, socio-cultural profile, and etc.).
  2. Know the health and political system of the community.
  3. Perform community health assessment through gathering secondary data from different government agencies, interviewing key personnel, leaders, and some residents, and ocular survey.
  4. Establish an initial community diagnosis based from the initial community assessment.
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