Dr Ted Herbosa shares his story of life as an emergency medicine physician in the Philippines

Dr Teodoro “Ted” Herbosa was the Health Undersecretary of Philippines from 2010 to 2015. One of his important accomplishments during his term was helping achieve Universal Health Coverage.

He also led the modernization of public hospitals through Health Facilities Enhancement Funds and the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). As CIO, he achieved COBIT 5 Certification, and developed and implemented the National eHealth Strategic Framework Plan. He also served as the Coordinator of Foreign Medical Teams that responded after Typhoon Haiyan struck in 2013.

Dr Herbosa was a Professor of Emergency Medicine at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia from 2007 to 2010 and created the Center for Research in Emergency Medicine (CREM). He was an International Associate for John Hopkins University, implementing the Hospital Preparedness for Emergencies (HOPE) course and the PEER Program which was funded by USAID.

Dr Herbosa also has extensive experience in Trauma Surgery and Disaster and Emergency Medicine, and at the University of the Philippines started the Fellowship Program for Trauma Surgery and the Residency Program in Emergency Medicine.

He is a former Board member of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM), and participated in the World Health Organization’s Safe Surgery Saves Lives Taskforce that developed the WHO safe surgery checklist.


What are the main emergency medicine challenges you face in your country?
Emergency Medicine had been growing exponentially in the past decade. There are now more practitioners and more residency training programs added to the long list of EM programs in different hospitals. With the continued growth several challenges are faced.  First and foremost is still the brain drain caused by higher pay of doctors in other higher income countries. Second is the local recognition of the specialty of Emergency Medicine is still lacking in some areas of the country. And third, is the need for more local research in emergency medicine, prehospital care, and disaster medicine.

What has been your greatest emergency medicine achievement?
The unification of two opposing Emergency Medicine Societies called the Philippine College of Emergency Medicine and Acute Care or PCEMAC and the Philippine Society of Emergency Care Physicians (PSECP) into a single Philippine College of Emergency Medicine (PCEM).

What are you hoping to achieve over the next few years?
To further the growth of Emergency Medicine as a medical specialty in the localities and hospitals of  the Philippines together with all stakeholders of the emergency care team, like the ER Nurses, EMTs, and Paramedics.

Why did you become an emergency medicine physician?
I was influenced by Dr Peter Rosen, who told me that there is no other way to run an Emergency Department but with Emergency Physicians.

What is the best thing about being an emergency medicine physician?
Saving lives and teaching others how to save lives!

What is the best way IFEM can assist the advancement of global emergency medicine?
I believe the problems of emergency care of patients is a global problem and with global collaboration and assistance we encourage each other and help each other improve ourselves and how we serve our patients.