Motivated by the desire to strengthen the practice of allergy/immunology in the Philippines and to promote the recognition of allergy/immunology as a distinct subspecialty, eleven (11) distinguished allergists, encouraged by the pioneer allergist in the Philippines, Dr. Arturo Rotor, gathered together 43 years ago to establish the Philippine Society of Allergology and Immunology now known as the Philippine Society of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (PSAAI).
Dr. Felicidad G. Cua-Lim was elected the first and founding president of the society while Dr. A. B. Rotor became the first PSAAI Honorary President. Through the years, the Society has been led by other exemplary practitioners and academicians: Drs Benigno F. Agbayani, Miguel L. Noche, Agusto L. Lingao, Manuel F. Ferreria, Alendry P. Caviles, Remedios C. Ong, Manuel M. Po, Madeleine W. Sumpaico, Hiyasmin M. Lim, Florecita R. Padua, Ruby N. Foronda, Linda Lim-Varona, Jovilia Abong and currently, Maria Carmela Agustin-Kasala.
The society is a recognized active member in good standing of the World Allergy Organization (formerly International Association of Allergology and Clinical Immunology) and the Asia Pacific Association of Allergology and Clinical Immunology. Locally, the PSAAI is a recognized specialty society of the Philippine Medical Association, a subspecialty society of the Philippine College of Physicians and a subspecialty section of the Philippine Pediatric Society.
Membership has grown to 116 members through the establishment of three training centers for allergy/immunology: University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital, University of Sto. Tomas College of Medicine and Surgery and the Dr. Fe del Mundo Medical Center Foundation Phils.
Doctors who trained in allergy/immunology in other countries further strengthened the society’s rank. A subspecialty board known as the Philippine Subspecialty Board of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (PSBAAI) was established to ensure high standards of care by the new practitioners in the field. The PSBAAI is a conjoint Board of the Philippine Specialty Board of Internal Medicine of the Philippine College of Physicians and the Philippine Pediatric Society Specialty Board.
Since its inception, the PSAAI’s primary objective has been to raise awareness of allergic and immunologic conditions. Thus, lectures have been given all over the country. The first allergy/immunology convention was organized in 1988. It has since then become a biennial affair. In 1998, the society had the opportunity to host the highly successful 3rd Asia Pacific Congress of allergy and Clinical Immunology, which attracted 1,348 delegates from 32 countries.
The PSAAI has been very fortunate to have dedicated people who have worked hard to see the Society flourish and gain respect both locally and internationally.