UNIVERSITY of Regina Carmeli’s assistant research director, Maribel R. Gaite, presented findings from a research entitled “Sustainable Human Development (SHD) Practices of Selected Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Bulacan, Philippines: Perspectives for Transformative Education” at the 9th Annual International Conference on Health Economics, Management Policy on June 28 to July 1 this year.

The study probed on how central people and their welfare are in the way SMEs are run, based on a survey of 182 member firms of the Bulacan Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It also looked into the kind of learning that would enable future graduates to make a difference in creating “healthier” workplaces.

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The conference was attended by 70 participants, mostly health economics lecturers, practitioners, policy makers and researchers from prominent universities all over the world. Among those who also presented their papers were from Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, University of Maryland and University of Louisiana, USA; University of Victoria, University of Ottawa, and University of Montreal, Canada; University of La Rioja and Universitat Politecnica de Valencia, Spain; Nicolaus Copernicus University of Poland; University of Innsbruck, Austria; King’s College, London; University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; University of Queensland and Deakin University, Australia; University of the Republic of Uruguay; Heidelberg University, Germany; University of Catania and University of Roma, Italy; Ankara University, Turkey; University of KwaZulu-Natal and Capetown, South Africa; UHI Millenium Institute, UK; University of Macau, China; and Azad University in Iran. Researchers from healthcare institutes in Switzerland, France, Estonia and Bulgaria also participated.

Organized by the Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER) (http://www.atiner.gr/docs/2010AAAList_HEA.htm), the conference recaptures the essence of Athens as the center of world intellectual exchange dating back to the ancient times of Plato, Socrates and Aristotle.

Through the conference, URC was able to benchmark with current global research initiatives and link up with other universities sharing similar research thrust. It also opened doors to possible reviewers for the University’s research journal which is being upgraded for international peer review. Dubbed “Journal of Education and Stewardship,” it aims to advance URC’s vision of fostering stewardship for a sustainable future through research.

The findings of the study presented by URC highlighted the need for schools to teach technical concepts in the context of real people-issues in industry. Evidence also showed the need to conduct more researches born out of the hard questions that impact on people given the challenges of globalization. A number of participating universities personally expressed their interest in the research conducted by URC, commending on the impact it had on those who participated in the conference.

Gaite acknowledges the able mentorship of Dr. Reynaldo C. Cruz, URC Research director and executive vice president who guided her in the conduct of the study; Dr. Benito Teehankee from De La Salle University Graduate School of Business for his valuable critique of the paper, Prof. Alvin Nuqui, Prof. Ronald Milgroso, Maricor Segismundo and Amy Mora, her colleagues from the URC RDO who helped her prepare for the presentation, as well as the kind support of Sister Edith C. Zerna, OSA, URC President and Sister Niceta M. Vargas, OSA.

Gaite hopes that in the future, other faculty researchers from the university would also be encouraged to search and respond to calls for paper, both national and international, and experience the very inspiring and fulfilling cross-cultural sharing of real life lessons through research. (PR)