5-Star Roles

5-Star Roles

NOTE: “Leadership Reflections” shares views of the different members of the University Leadership Council on matters related to campus life and the operations of the University. As well, it features opinions on issues of national and/or international relevance.

The Role of the Five Star Physician in an Ever Changing World
By Dr. Jonathan C. Amante, Dean, Medical School

(Delivered during the Annual Conference of the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges on February 9, 2012, Cebu City)

During the latest ASEAN Medical Education Association Convention with the theme: “Trends in Medical Education” on March 23-26, 2011 in Malaysia, the common opinion of most Deans of Medical Schools is that most graduates from different medical schools are basically similarly having content-based throughout the duration of medical education. What differ are the amount of emphasis and the environment where this education is built upon. Such as for Silliman University, the direction is guided by what we aim to develop within our students: Competence, Character and Faith. Other schools have definitely their own versions.

Let us have some basic information and definitions. The 5-star role was coined by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the 1990s. It was later by the Philippine Medical Schools and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) – both used it in defining the professional roles of medical graduate once he/she starts working as a General Practitioner. However, even if you practice as a specialist or a subspecialist, you can always carry these roles with you with different degrees of emphasis. This could well be interpreted as the changing world – your changing world! Therefore, this is the way you respond with whatever you have and wherever you may be at your final destination of practice: province, city, or abroad.

The 5-star roles are your professional roles – Health Care Provider, Teacher, Researcher, Manager, Social Mobilizer. These roles must therefore be delivered with professionalism – a word easily accepted but difficult to teach and understand. The doctors learn more and more about the content of science of fighting the disease in this modern world. But as doctors’ command of technology grows, the relation with patients and fellow physicians diminishes.

The 5-star roles of a medical graduate have been repeatedly mentioned, lectured and maybe incorporated in examinations. Another way of making it simpler is to give real examples of physicians that show what you can do personally in the future to fulfill these roles. Picture them out:

Role: Health Care Provider

  • Physician who decided to practice in the barrio or town where nobody is practicing vs. better city life.
  • Graduate who has to cross several rivers to reach the primary hospital as the only doctor and Chief of Hospital at the same time.
  • Practice in the provinces. During interview for Residency and Fellowship Training Programs most applicants promise to practice in the provinces where the specialty is not available – but most ended up practicing in the cities with others.
  • Establishment of Treatments/Rehabilitation Centers: Rehabilitation Centers for Drugs or Physical Therapy, Dialysis Units or Eye Center and more non-existent facilities.

Role: Teacher

  • Graduate who organized accredited Program in Internal Medicine in a City and Province with more than 1M population and only 3 Internists were available. The program subsequently graduated 30, and 50% decided to practice in other provinces, leaving 15 to be added to the initial 3.
  • An OB-Gyne Physician who started School of Midwifery and Care Giver to complement health services.
  • A physician who finally established a medical school after more than a generation of planning to add excellent graduates of the APMC having posted 100% Physicians Licensure Exam for two consecutive years
  • Physicians who participated as teachers at medical schools and other allied health educational institutions.

Role: Researcher

  • Leading researchers with national/international interests
  • Physicians with local researches for local applications.
  • Lecturer in medical and allied medical schools.

Role: Manager

  • Established Laboratory and diagnostic facilities when these used to be non-existent.
  • Many of the awardees belong to these such as presidents of medical societies, school heads, department, provincial and regional heads of government units

 Role: Social Mobilizer

  • Politician-Doctors
  • Physicians who are Presidents and Officers of NGO and Community Organizations

You can actually add your personal knowledge of other Physicians you know to my list. These are our potentials within the world of our possibilities. Whether reaching these points in our lives is equivalent to our happiness – that is for each of you to decide. Happiness is a voyage, not a destination. There is no better time to be happy than now. Happiness therefore is your attitude towards life. 

After having been ahead in time twice most of your ages, in the end let me caution you that whatever among the 5-star roles you choose, you cannot please everybody around you. So just remember this poem “Anyway” by Mother Theresa so you may continue with your respective journey in life with minimal disappointments.


People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish motives;
Be kind anyway
If you are successful you will win some false friends and true enemies;
Succeed anyway

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway
The good you do today, people may forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you have, anyway
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.