Since Mae Dolendo was nine years old, she dreamed of becoming a doctor. Inspired by a classmate’s parents who were both doctors, she thought the job seemed fascinating. She lost her mother to cancer when she was 18 years old, and her childhood dream became her goal. After being accepted into medical school on scholarship, she discovered a calling when she led the Student Council in conducting medical/surgical outreach in far-flung areas that included tiny islands in the Visayas which had little or no access to health services. She rode on the backs of motorcycles, in trucks normally used to carry sugarcanes, and on outrigger boats in order to reach people living in these remote areas who had not seen a doctor in years. It was an exhausting but incredible experience that has remained etched in her mind for decades. She hoped that one day she would be given the chance to make a difference in the lives of the people in her country.
Dr. Dolendo earned her Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology in 1986 from Central Philippine University in Iloilo City, Philippines and her Doctor of Medicine degree in 1991 from West Visayas State University in Iloilo City, Philippines. She was class valedictorian, recognized as the Most Outstanding Secondary School student of Iloilo City. She was consistently among the top ten students in class in university and medical school, and she received the distinction of an Outstanding Leadership Award.
In 2001, Dr. Dolendo completed a fellowship in pediatric oncology from the National University Hospital in Singapore. She later participated in observership trainings with St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, USA through the International Outreach Program.
Dr. Dolendo currently works as a practicing pediatric oncologist and heads the Children’s Cancer Institute at Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City, Philippines. As one of the first pediatric oncologists on the island of Mindanao, she developed the pediatric oncology program in 2004 at SPMC. She also established shared care networks for pediatric cancer in key strategic areas in Mindanao. In 2018, Dr. Dolendo put in place the first pediatric oncology fellowship training outside metro Manila. Her other areas of interest include creating referral pathways and adapting diagnosis and management algorithms for limited-resource settings.
She is one of two medical doctors appointed by the President of the Republic of the Philippines to the National Integrated Cancer Control Council to oversee the implementation of the landmark legislation for cancer, Republic Act 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act.
“I think I will use a Master of Science in Global Child Health to infuse better strategies into the things that I am already doing. For me, it is not a professional destination. It is just a way for me to be a better doctor, better teacher, better scientist, better human to all the children and people I care for.”
Hometown: Davao City, Philippines
BS, Medical Technology – Central Philippine University, Iloilo City, Philippines (1986)
MD – West Visayas State University, Iloilo City, Philippines (1991)
Fellowship, Pediatric Oncology – National University Hospital, Singapore (2001)
Bansal S, Dolendo M, Nguyen TKH, et al. Survival of children with cancer amidst COVID-19: A fight with two enemies. Canc Res Stat Treat. 3(2), 2020.
Eden T, Burns E, Freccero P, et al. Are essential medicines available, reliable and affordable in low-middle income countries? J Cancer Policy. 19(1), 2019.
Mukkada S, Smith CK, Aguilar D, et al. Evaluation of a fever-management algorithm in a pediatric cancer center in a low-resource setting. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 65(2), 2018.
Gupta S, Aitken JF, Bartels U, et al. Paediatric cancer stage in population-based cancer registries: the Toronto consensus principles and guidelines. Lancet Oncol. 17(4):e163-e172, 2016.
Kirby J, Dolendo M, Guimera D, et al. Predictors of wait-time for antibiotic initiation and association of wait-time with hospital length of stay and ICU admission among children with cancer at the Southern Philippines Medical Center. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 61(4):680-686, 2014.