What does it take to open a new medical school and make it work? For Atty. Augusto W. Go, University of Cebu President, it starts with a vision that empathizes with the current need of the times.

The University of Cebu College of Medicine Foundation, Inc. or UC School of Medicine (UCSM) as it is often referred to, is borne from the dream of Atty. Go to have more doctors in the country, who are responsive to the needs of the people. “I see the demand for doctors and this is happening because most medical schools are expensive. We like to democratize medical schools by offering competitive school fees,” he shares.

When the UC Medical Center was unveiled– a new hospital with state-of–the-art equipment– it seemed fitting that the UCSM follow suit. “UC School of Medicine has been established in synergy with UC Medical Center,” informs Candice G. Gotianuy, UCSM Chancellor and UC Medical Center President. Both institutions are established a few months apart, with the medical school starting its operation in school year 2015-2016.

Though relatively young, the UCSM and UC Medical Center, stand undeniably on the groundwork that is the University of Cebu—the country’s most populous privately-owned university operating since 1964 and educating a spectrum of students from Kindergarten and Basic Education to various higher learning programs as Commerce and Accountancy, Liberal Arts, Information Technology, Allied Engineering, Criminology, Customs Administration, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Tourism, Education, Nursing and Midwifery, Maritime, Graduate School and Law in four campuses.

UCSM’s vision, mission and goals are similar with the other institutions under the UC umbrella and yet are still organic to the medical school.

UCSM envisions being the leading medical academic institution that transforms lives and provides society with medical professionals who are driven to excel and serve. Through the years, UC has been known to help and serve the community, with the President and the Chancellor at the forefront. “We know that our students come to us so that they can earn a diploma and find jobs. We are breaking the cycle of poverty,” reveals Ms. Gotianuy.

UCSM is committed to its mission to develop exemplary physicians with a medical education of exceptional quality who practice patient centered health care; responsive to the needs of the community through compassionate service; engaged in discovering new information through research; adhere to professional and ethical practice with social accountability; attain the habits of lifelong learning and be leaders in advancing medicine, health and well being.

“Each school has its own indelible footprint. Ours is that we have great faculty members and modern equipment. Once our students graduate, they will become well equipped doctors,” said Atty. Go.

Leaning more to the philanthropic streak UC is known for, UCSM is making dreams more attainable by offering various scholarships and easy payment terms to future doctors.

Scholarships are commonplace in all UC schools. In UCSM, Entrance Scholarships are offered to enrollees who are board placers in the licensure exams in their baccalaureate degrees or are honor students of their graduating class. Academic Scholarships are given to students within the top ten of the class from 1st year to 4th year. This includes pro rata tuition fee discounts and book allowance. Special Scholarships are also offered to deserving students with financial needs. “UCSM is open to the rich and poor. We encourage deserving students through tuition grants,” Atty. Go adds.

Upon enrolling, students can avail themselves of the minimal entrance and enrollment fees, which can help parents by lessening the financial burden on their end.

But these seeming financial laxities do not mean UCSM is scrimping on quality. Quite the contrary.

The faculty is a pool of distinguished medical practitioners and outstanding educators. Students and teachers alike enjoy the advantages of fully air conditioned classrooms, newly completed learning and laboratory facilities, updated medical library and resource center. The curriculum is an integration of student-centered and educator-guided learning approach set in a collaborative learning environment. Students and teachers work together in active and experiential learning to enhance intellectual link between classroom and patient care. It is indeed an active learning strategy. The students also have personal mentors who give a truly holistic student-centered support that focuses on personal and professional development.

UCSM’s close affinity with UC Medical Center also ensures that the medical students are exposed to very modern hospital setting.

“I would like to take the School of Medicine to great heights by producing great doctors and topnotchers, and by supporting medical research, as medical research in the Philippines is not well developed,” envisions Atty. Go. The medical school is guided by its core values of Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Responsible Leadership and Excellence.

“Dream big, think like the underdog, and I believe you’ll go places,” encourages Ms. Gotianuy. And yes, the UC tradition of giving out a brand new car to any UCSM graduate who tops in the licensure exam still applies. This prize should an additional motivation for new doctors to score big in the board. And it might not be a problem, as UCSM students are, after all, taught to live by the school’s motto “Driven to excel, driven to serve.”