The Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) announced the selected outstanding health research programs in 2021 during the 14th PNHRS Week Celebration last August 13, 2021.

The Alberto G. Romualdez, Jr. Outstanding Health Research Award (AROHRA) gives recognition to a research program or project that has demonstrated the link between research and practice through the utilization of research findings in the health delivery system. The award, given every three years, has two (2) categories, namely: Biomedical Research and Health Services Research. The winners of AROHRA will receive a trophy and a cash prize amounting to Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (PHP 500,000.00).

This year, the Molecular Diagnostics and Cellular Therapeutics Laboratory of the Lung Center of the Philippines won under the biomedical research category for their program entitled “Autologous Dendritic Cell Vaccine as Innovative Therapy for Cancer.” The said program, headed by Dr. Ma. Teresa Barzaga, offers a promising complementary therapy for cancer.


The program also gives patients an option for an innovative and safe therapy in a form of active immunotherapy using dendritic cells which is derived from patients’ own blood stem to trigger the immune response against the disease and poses minimal to zero adverse effects.

On the other hand, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-FNRI) won under the health services research category for their program entitled, “Malnutrition Reduction Program (MRP): Moving towards Sustained Implementation.” The MRP program, headed by Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, contributes to address the malnutrition problem among young children across the country especially in rural areas.

The two components of the program are technology transfer of complementary food or bringing the technology to the regions to address the supply side of the program which also generates livelihood for the local government units (LGUs) and state universities and colleges (SUCs) and the DOST PINOY (Package for the Improvement of Nutrition of Young Children) intervention strategy or the combining of feeding of rice-mongo-based complementary foods and nutrition education which creates the demand for the nutritious products. It is envisioned to be sustained and institutionalized in the LGUs.

Congratulations to the winners of 2021 AROHRA! We celebrate your programs, which have significantly contributed to addressing prevalent health issues in the country.


The Best Mentor Award is awarded biennially to recognize mentors in health research who have built the capacities of researchers in the health sector and, in the process, propelled significant advances in the Philippine National Health Research System’s (PNHRS) thrusts as identified in the National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA).

Awardees are selected per cluster (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and NCR) and categorized according to their mentees (Undergraduate Students, Graduate Students and Junior/Early Career Researchers). For this year’s call, the following are the cluster winners per category:

Undergraduate Category




Rev. Fr. Alfredo V. Corpuz

University ofNorthern Philippines


Ms. Carol Joy P. Remaneses

Aklan State University



Graduate Category




Dr. Julius T. Capili

Cagayan State University


Dr. Rheajane A. Rosales

Samar State University


Dr. Mylene M. Uy

Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology


Dr. Agnes L. Castillo

University of Santo Tomas



Junior/Early Career Researchers Category




Dr. Jonel P. Saludes

University of San Agustin


Dr. Erna C. Arollado

UP Manila


The cluster winners will receive plaques of recognition and cash prizes amounting to either Fifty Thousand Pesos (Undergraduate and Graduate Category) or One Hundred Thousand Pesos (Junior/Early Career Researchers Category), depending on their category. 

The national winners per category will be selected among the cluster winners. The announcement of the national winners and the awarding of winners will be in March 2022 during the 40th PCHRD Anniversary Celebration.


Aiming to generate data on the efficacy of candidate vaccines against emerging variants of concern (VOCs) and determine the effective COVID-19 vaccines and doses that are suitable for the Filipino populationthe Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Health (DOH) and the University of the Philippines - Manila (UPM) officially launched the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Trial Vaccine (STV) in the country on 17 December 2021 via Zoom and Facebook live stream.

The clinical trial eyes to recruit a total of 15,000 Filipino volunteers from 20 identified sites and barangays with high COVID-19 attack rates across the National Capital Region (NCR). As of December 20,  2021, seven hospitals and two community-based sites have already conducted the recruitment activities with a total of 5,254 participants vaccinated with first dose and 3,142 participants already completed the two-dose schedule in the Philippines.


The WHO-STV is a clinical trial, which aims to study the efficacy and safety of candidate vaccines. Continuing to participate in vaccine clinical trials remains of utmost importance, especially as the current global vaccine supply is still limited,” explains Chair of the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection (TGVES) and DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development  Rowena Cristina Guevara on how the clinical trial is separate from the country’s ongoing vaccination program. 


Two of the four candidate vaccines is being initially studied: a spike adjuvanted vaccine developed by Medigen, and a DNA vaccine encoding the spike protein developed by Inovio, as identified by the WHO following the core protocol approved by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA), DOST-convened Vaccine Expert Panel, and the Single Joint Research Ethics Board (SJREB). 


Our ultimate goal in DOST-PCHRD, and in the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection, is to ensure that before any candidate vaccine reaches our communities, it has already shown evidence that it is safe, effective, and suitable for human trials,” DOST-PCHRD Dr. Jaime C. Montoya says. “As we begin to implement the WHO Solidarity Trial Vaccines, we, especially our Philippine STV team, are in need of the united support and assistance of every Filipino in ensuring a smooth implementation of the clinical trials. In the end, what is equally important as scientific research is the spirit of unity and volunteerism among our Filipino communities,” he adds.


Now that the vaccine trials are underway, we are hoping that the data we share with the other participants of the Solidarity Trials will contribute in finding more effective vaccines that can protect the Filipino people,” DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña says.


Led by the UPM-PGH, with support from the DOST and the DOH, the local clinical trial will serve as a contribution of the Philippines to the large-scale COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials headed by WHO. The trial has been launched in the Philippines, Mali and Colombia, while additional countries and vaccine candidates will follow shortly. 


Interim results of the local clinical trial may be available to the public by early 2022. 


The Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) warns the public against the unauthorized use of the results of the Lagundi study on COVID-19 for marketing Lagundi products. 


The University of the Philippines - Manila (UPM), with support from the DOST-PCHRD, conducted the study which evaluated the efficacy and safety of the over-the-counter 600mg Lagundi syrup and tablet formulated through the National Integrated Research Program on Medicinal Plants (NIRPROMP) in treating mild symptoms of COVID-19.


The study showed that the FDA-approved Lagundi products can be safely used for the symptomatic treatment of mild COVID-19. If taken three (3) times a day, the products were found to be effective in decreasing mild COVID-19 symptoms, especially anosmia (loss of sense of smell), and in providing overall relief of discomfort from other symptoms. 


The results, however, cannot be used as basis for proving the efficacy and safety of using Lagundi against COVID-19 in any form or product other than the one used or tested during the trial. Clinical trials validate the efficacy and safety of specific formulations using a specified dose for use against a specific disease. Any product that has therapeutic claims would require successful clinical trials and approval from the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before marketing to the public.


Our study only focused on evaluating the NIRPROMP formulation of the Lagundi syrup and tablet for mild COVID-19,” project leader of the Lagundi clinical trials Dr. Cecilia Maramba-Lazarte says. “Accordingly, we have not endorsed any other Lagundi product aside from these, and any other product claims separate from what we studied are not affiliated with the project team, nor  UP-Manila,” she added.


The DOST-PCHRD likewise reminds the public to be critical of misleading product claims. “The study showed that Lagundi may be  beneficial to mild cases of COVID-19,” DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya says. “Despite this, we'd like to emphasize that the results of the clinical trials on Lagundi against COVID-19 cannot be utilized by any product other than the one used in the trials without the conduct of similar clinical trials. We encourage the public to be on the lookout for misleading product claims,” he added.



The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) in cooperation with the Philippine National Health Research System Capacity Building Committee (PNHRS CBC) and University of the Philippines - College of Public Health will implement the one-year Fellowship in Epidemiology Program. The program is a crucial step to capacitate health researchers in this discipline in order for them to contribute in addressing gaps in public health.

The one-year course is designed to help the Fellows develop the necessary knowledge and skills in conducting quantitative public health research. Aligned with the DOST-PCHRD’s mission to develop and strengthen capacity for health research, the Fellowship Program aims to:
  1.  Develop the knowledge and skills of young researchers in quantitative methods in public health research;
  2. Conduct intensive training in Epidemiology for fellows; and
  3. Develop a pool of experts with the appropriate knowledge and skills to conduct quantitative public health research.
Eligibility Criteria
The applicants must:
  1.  Be a Filipino citizen;
  2. Not more than 50 years old at the time of application;
  3. Be willing to submit medical certification on physical and mental fitness;
  4. Have a bachelor’s degree in health sciences, health social sciences, public health, or any health-related course with Biostatistics and population research in the curriculum (a master’s degree in any health-related course, doctor of medicine, and/or background in Biostatistics is an advantage);
  5. Have at least 1 year of relevant experience in public health work, and 4 hours of relevant training;
  6.  Pass the exam, interview, and other screening procedures;
  7. Be willing to render the required service obligation equivalent to the length of time the program was enjoyed; and
  8. Must have a full-time commitment to the fellowship and must not engage in any form of employment (If employed, must be officially on leave from work) and not enrolled in any degree program during the fellowship period
Scholarship Privileges
  • Monthly Stipend (PhP 25,000.00)
  • Research Grant
  • Capacity Building Grant (May be used for attendance to local/international conferences in order to present (poster/oral) the research they have completed during the program)
Selection Process
The Fellows shall be selected based on the following selection process:
  1. Technical Exam – Applicants shall take a technical exam which consists of multiple choice and essay-type questions to assess their existing technical knowledge on quantitative public health research.
  2. Assessment of Written Work - Applicants shall submit a sample of their written technical output (i.e., research paper, research brief, or any technical document) for assessment of their technical writing skills.
  3. Panel Interview – Applicants who passed the technical exams and have an acceptable written work shall be interviewed by a panel composed of representatives from DOST-PCHRD, PNHRS, University of the Philippines – College of Public Health, and other relevant stakeholders.
How to Apply
Interested applicants may send their CV to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. until October 30, 2021 as initial expression of interest.
For inquiries, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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