With a shared mission to transform cardiovascular and NCD care and improve health in the Asia-Pacific region, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) has partnered with the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP), the largest national organization of family and community medicine practitioners in the country, for the roll-out of the NCD Academy in the Philippines.

The NCD Academy is a user-friendly interactive web-based platform designed to equip healthcare professionals at the primary care level with educational resources and skills to enhance their ability to prevent and treat non-communicable diseases (NCD). The NCD Academy is spearheaded by the ACC in partnership with the NCD Alliance and the World Heart Federation. Through the sponsorship of global healthcare company Viatris, the program is available entirely free of charge in the Philippines and globally.

“With the increasing trajectory of NCDs and cardiovascular disease around the world, there is a need for quality clinical education designed for primary care physicians in lower and middle-income countries,” said Neal Kovach, ACC Division Vice President of Global Innovation and Clinical Transformation. “Partnering then with the PAFP is an opportunity to take the platform of NCD Academy and roll it out and create great impact within the Philippines.”

The landmark partnership marks the first collaboration of the ACC with a primary care society in Southeast Asia. Cognizant of the growing NCD burden in the region, the partnership would provide an opportunity to learn the idiosyncrasies among healthcare systems towards NCD treatment and create avenues to address those gaps, according to Bryson Childress, ACC Global Program Director.

“Our goal with NCD Academy is to help health practitioners face the growing challenges of healthcare today,” said Childress. “With continuing medical education being difficult to come by for many clinicians, we wanted to provide access to on-demand research where they can practice and immerse themselves in patient cases.”

Partnerships between medical societies is a defining feature of the NCD Academy program. In addition to collaborating with organizations such as the PAFP to contextualize education for different cultures and health systems, the ACC is also working with major medical societies in other disciplines to extend courses beyond cardiovascular disease to include topics on cancer, mental health and diabetes, among others. With the support of Viatris as founding sponsor, the NCD Academy helps family medicine practitioners take on a prominent role in the detection, prevention and treatment of NCDs in the country.

According to PAFP National President Dr. Ma. Victoria Cruz, the increasing burden of NCDs has overwhelmed local health systems, consequently crippling both local government units as well as citizens. Thus, the integration of NCDs in primary medical care is a cost-effective and equitable model of care that can greatly reduce morbidity and premature mortality through prevention and treatment.

“The ACC-PAFP collaborative efforts for capacity-building will translate into increased awareness and preparedness on preventive action towards NCDs and the timely delivery of responsive health services,” said Cruz. “We, the PAFP, believe that this program is a great addition to our program to upskill our primary care physicians and will help the organization realize its vision “to be the Physician of Choice of Filipino Families.”

Dr. Rochelle Valera, Viatris Cluster Medical Lead for the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam, also expressed her excitement over the partnership. “With the PAFP’s commitment to excellence in education in Family Medicine and to providing holistic family-centered care for the Filipino family, the PAFP is indeed an ideal partner for the ACC to ensure that the NCD Academy is well-implemented to help in the maintenance of quality primary care through continuing medical education in the Philippines.”

Healthcare providers interested in the NCD Academy may access courses for free via desktop computer at https://thepafp.org. They also have the option of downloading the free NCD Academy mobile app from Google Play or the App Store.

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