Lifelong cell-lover faculty graces the Thai-Japanese Workshop in Diagnostic Cytopathology

From MHAM to Thailand: With Anatomic and Clinical Pathology Department Chairperson, Annette Laurente Salillas, MD

In her lifelong fervor and commitment to impart her knowledge in the field of Cytopathology, the Department of Anatomic and Clinical Pathology Chairperson graced the Thai-Japanese Workshop in Diagnostic Cytopathology as a lecturer on the  grand occasion of its 25th Anniversary held at Le Meridien Chiang Mai, Thailand last January 17 to 19, 2018.

MHAM alumna-faculty Dr. Annette Salillas, once again represented the country with her topic titled, “Challenging Thyroid FNA cases-striving to minimize the Atypical Category”. Early last year, she was also invited as a lecturer of the 24th Thai-Japanese Workshop in Diagnostic Cytopathology in Chonburi, Thailand with her “Interesting Common and Not-So-Common Variants of Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma (PTC)” lecture-presentation.

Thyroid experts in Asia

Organized by the Thai Society of Cytology, Institute of Pathology, Japan’s Nippon Medical School and Japanese Society of Clinical Cytology, the 3-day gathering among cell-enthusiasts was participated by two hundred Thai-Japanese pathologists, residents, cytotechnologists and cytopathologists.

Lifelong cell-lover: MHAM alumna-faculty, Dr. Annette Laurente Salillas in her lecture during the Thai-Japanese Workshop in Diagnostic Cytopathology

Designed to provide lectures with emphasis on application of diagnostic criteria, assessments, poster competition, hands-on session and instructions on safe practices on Cytopathology, Dr. Salillas was joined by other lecturer-experts from Hongkong, USA, Australia, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand in the field of Cytopathology.

“The workshop was held on its silver anniversary where experts from other countries were invited to share updates in the field of Cytology. Pathology is a challenging field and Cytology as a sub-specialty is even more a challenge because you study the smallest unit of the body- the CELLS, which makes it an interesting field in Anatomic Pathology. As pathologist-doctors, we clinch if a patient’s mass is malignant or benign”, Dr. Salillas said.

In her lecture during the Asian Thyroid Working Group Symposium, this cell-lover for life who always pays tribute to her chosen field shared her expertise with her topic centered on Atypia of undetermined significance, its cytohistologic correlates and risk of malignancy.

Driven by her life’s principle that those who dare to teach never cease to learn, Dr. Salillas was even more challenged as brilliant thinkers never stop asking questions in order to gain deeper insights after her second presentation and having the right answers as the fundamental part of her role being a lifelong cell-lover made it more fulfilling on her part. As passion and enthusiasm goes a long way, a Japanese thyroid expert asked her to contribute a chapter of his 2nd edition thyroid book aside from the invitation to grace this year’s Japanese Cytopathology Congress in Hokkaido, Japan as a speaker.

Dr. Annette Salillas with her mentor and co-representative in the Thyroid Working Group, Dr. Agustina Abelardo of UP PGH Medical Center

“For those who have the passion in this field I encourage them to pursue this compelling path as there are tertiary hospitals who offer residency training in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology. Cytology is rewarding as well, you get to give diagnosis quickly in 30 to 60 minutes by studying the cells. Nothing is difficult if you have the passion and compassion and when you find joy in what you are doing, everything comes so easily. I always impart this motto in life, ‘Be the best, do your best and money will follow’ with dedication and determination”, she added.

A lone Interventional Cytopathologist in the country, Dr. Salillas has been a recipient of local and national awards which includes 2004 The Outstanding Cebuano Award (TOCA) in the Field of Medicine, Philippine Society of Pathologists 2014 Pathologist of the Year and Liborio Gomez Memorial Award for the Year 2016 in recognition of her sublime contribution in the field.

As healthcare providers are expanding to serve a growing population in Asia, the young generation plays an important role as a driving force towards unprecedented growth in the field of Cytopathology. At present, the group is trying to reach out to other several countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Middle East to expand its membership with lifelong and uncompromising commitment to education, research and service. (Ana Liza Abao)