An eminent member of the Philippine scientific community, National Scientist and Academician Ernesto O. Domingo, is among this year’s roster of Ramon Magsaysay awardees. Side-by-side with other equally competent Asian achievers, Dr. Domingo received the 2013 Ramon Magsaysay Award during ceremonies held at the Philippine International Convention Center last August 31, 2013.
Domingo, an advocate of universal health care and involved with major health research activities, is the latest Filipino to be chosen among Asia’s most brilliant and selfless achievers to receive the prestigious award considered by many as Asia’s version of the Nobel Prize.
Elected in 1992 to the National Academy of Science and Technology, an advisory body of the Department of Science and Technology, Domingo was chosen by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) for “his exemplary embrace of the social mission of medical science and his profession, his steadfast leadership in pursuing ‘health for all’ as a shared moral responsibility of all sectors, and his groundbreaking and successful advocacy for neonatal hepatitis vaccination, thereby saving millions of lives in the Philippines.”
His numerous achievements and resolve to help find solutions to pressing problems in medicine, are indicative of a sterling career that helped shape the local medical community.
After earning his degree from the University of the Philippines Manila in 1961, Domingo specialized in internal medicine at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) with a subspecialty in gastroenterology hepatology at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1967, he joined the faculty of the UP Manila (UPM) College of Medicine.
Among his most outstanding scientific contributions are: elucidation of the nature of schistosome granuloma and its role in hepatosplenic disease, the pathophysiology of hepatosplemic Schistosomiasis japonica in humans, the epidemiology and control of Hepatitis B and the pathophysiology, clinical behavior and treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma in Filipinos.
In particular, he organized and led UPM’s Liver Study Group in undertaking major studies on viral hepatitis including Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E and G, and developing technologies associated with the disease. Among these are the rapid epidemiologic assessment for HbeAG positive individuals, production of diagnostic reagents for the testing of Hepatitis B virus carrier individuals, and microparticle agglutination test for Hepatitis.
Findings from his researches, which saw print in a total of 120 original research papers published locally and abroad, became important material for the formulation and implementation of policies and programs by both the private sector and Department of Health, for Hepatitis B immunization and routine Hepatitis B and C screening of blood for transfusion.
Domingo was also instrumental in the creation and implementation of the clinical fellowship program of PGH’s clinical departments and the formation of the Clinical Epidemiology Unit. As Chancellor, he also played a major role in the reorganization of UPM in the late 1980s which eventually paved the way for the creation of the Institutes of Socio-Biomedical Research which later became the National Institutes of Health.
In May 2010, Domingo received the Order of National Scientist, the highest award given to a Filipino scientist by the Philippine government.
The rest of the 2013 Ramon Magsaysay awardees are Lahpai Seng Raw from Myanmar, Habiba Sarabi from Afghanistan, Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (Corruption Eradication Commission) from Indonesia, and Shakti Samuha (“Power Group”) from Nepal.
They will be presented with their awards, certificates, medallions and prizes in a special ceremony to be held on August 31, 2013 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
National Scientist Dr. Ernesto O. Domingo
2013 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee