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Fong plans medical and pharmacy school in NMI

23-Mar-2007: A Filipino doctor based in California is looking to establish a medical and pharmacy school on Saipan.

Dr. Johnny Y. Fong, who practices pediatrics in Fresno, was one of the private sector presenters at the 7th Western Micronesian Chief Executives Summit, held at the Fiesta Resort and Spa on March 20-22, 2007.

He is the chairman of the board of the Loyola Medical College Foundation Inc., a non-profit organization that has donated millions of pesos in charitable contributions to educational institutions in the Philippines. The foundation has donated a total of P5 million pesos in scholarship grants and P30 million to San Beda College for the construction of school buildings. Negotiations are ongoing regarding professorial chairs at the University of the Philippines in Manila, where Fong completed his medical degree in 1971.

During the recently concluded conference, Fong presented a five-year plan that integrates health care needs with education opportunities in the Commonwealth and the rest of the Micronesian region.

His plan includes setting up a medical and pharmacy school that will cater to students from the U.S. mainland, Asia and the Pacific. According to Fong, some 6,000 Americans who fail to pass U.S. medical school requirements go to the Caribbean, Russia, the Philippines and other countries every year to study medicine. He said the CNMI, with its political relationship with the United States and its scenic natural environment, could attract some of these students.

In line with the foundation's mission, the school will be operated as a not-for-profit corporation. The school must be able to generate enough income to support itself. Any profits will go to charity.

"We're not putting it up to lose money. The school has to be able to stand on its own feet, so we can propagate it for many years," Fong said.

Fong, who leaves today, expects to be back in two to three weeks with the application to establish the school. If the government approves his plan by May 2007, the school can begin operations by September, he said.

He hopes to start the program with some 200 students for each class (medicine and pharmacy).

"The objective of the plan is to help the CNMI become self-sufficient in health delivery services and help cut the cost of medical referrals," he said.

Source: Saipan Tribune

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