De La Salle Health Sciences Institute: Unofficial Review

Wednesday, September 03, 2014 Stef dela Cruz, MD 9 Comments

Have you ever wondered what makes a medical school excellent? Will De La Salle Health Sciences Institute (DLSHSI) fulfill that criteria? Let me help you make up your mind with my unofficial review of DLSHSI. (Spoiler: You might want to read these 6 reasons you should – or shouldn’t! – enroll at DLSHSI.)

De La Salle Health Sciences Institute

UPDATE: Medical book giveaway is going on right now! I’m giving away more than 20 medical books. No conditions. No need to like my page, follow me, or do anything other than tell me which book you want and why. Details in this article.

I get a lot of emails from college students who want to pursue medicine, with questions pertaining to scholarships, passing the NMAT, and the top medical schools on my list. Coincidentally, I received an invitation to visit the DLSHSI last month, giving me the opportunity to take a look at a medical school other than my own. (Full disclosure: I graduated from the University of Santo Tomas.)

5 Things You Should Know about De La Salle Health Sciences Institute

Let me walk you through what I learned about DSLHSI before I give you a rating based on a 5-point scale, as recognized by Google’s search engine.

1. De La Salle schools follow trimestral school syllabi.

Many Bachelor of Science courses take about four years (eight semesters) to finish. DLSHSI has a trimestral curriculum – expect to finish a course with them in a much shorter time.

With three trimesters per year, what would have been an eight-semester course can then be finished in just a little less than three years. Wonderful if you’re in a hurry to finish college to get to medical school pronto.

Medicine, however, follows the usual dual semester.

2. DLSHSI is proud of its research efforts.

There is a lot of research going on at DLSHSI, including one focused on an anti-dengue initiative. They received over PhP11 million worth of funding from the Department of Science and Technology for this program!

They can perform all the phases of clinical research, from animal experiments to human trials. If you want to focus on research, you might want to take a serious look at what DLSHSI has to offer.

3. Applicants for certain courses at De La Salle Health Sciences Institute are pre-screened for enrolment.

A college admissions committee screens applicants using several criteria, including your NMAT score.

Haydee Abayan-Sy“About one out of two to three applicants make it,”
said Haydee Abayan-Sy, head of Institutional Marketing Relations.

4. DLSHSI offers many scholarship opportunities.

Let’s face it: College and med school are expensive! If you feel guilty asking your parents for tuition, you can always take a look at De La Salle’s scholarship programs.

About one out of every five students is a scholar. You get to be a scholar in medical school if you received Latin honors (cum laude, magna, summa).

You can also also receive financial assistance via scholarship. And if your sports portfolio makes you a potential Gilas player, you just might get an athletic scholarship!

5. DLSHSI is located in Cavite.

You might be thinking, “So what?”

If you live in Manila and don’t want to stay in a dormitory or apartment, of course it matters! If you like the suburban feel of Cavite, then the De La Salle campus there might be the right fit for you.

De La Salle Health Sciences Institute: In-Depth Review

Now, we’re ready to get into the nitty-gritty of DLSHSI. Just remember that this is all based on a one-day tour and some added research. Nothing beats what people say if they have actually studied at DLSHSI first-hand.

I want to be objective with my approach. I want my observations to be verifiable, instead of based only on gut feel. That’s why I’ve taken pains to categorize my review and give details – I hope I’ve done a decent job.

The Campus

They have a campus reminiscent of Baguio. DLSHSI is clean and hilly, with landscaped lawns, tall trees, and walkways that make you feel like you’re in a park, not a school.

DLSHSI is located in Dasmarinas, Cavite. If you’re allergic to the jaded disposition of people in Manila but refuse to live in the barrios, DLSHSI is a good compromise.

Having said all that, I will let these photos speak for themselves.

DLSHSI bloggers tourDLSHSI campusDLSHSI Center for Indigenous MedicineDe La Salle Health Sciences Institute CaviteDLSHSI CaviteDLSHSI College of Medicine

The Facilities

Based on what we’ve been shown, DLSHSI is definitely well-funded! They have touchscreen computers courtesy of a partnership with a famous tech brand. Their computer labs and skills labs are newly-built and sizable.

There are also enough cadavers for med students (with about eight students sharing one cadaver).

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see their charity wards. That’s usually my acid test for a teaching hospital’s capacity to maintain facilities and train medical students.

Take a look at the rooms in the Medicine building. Do you like what you see? (WARNING: Photo of cadaver up ahead.)

phantom skullThis phantom skull is used for practicing x-ray slices. When you place it under an x-ray machine, you see the bones of the skull in the x-ray plates!

small scale ancillary modelLooks like a real radiologic machine, but it’s actually a small-scale model! Look at my thumb right beside it to give you an idea of how small it is!

De La Salle computer labultrasound roomvenoclysis labAcer touchscreen computercadaverDLSHSI auditoriumNursing Skills LabDe La Salle Medicine classroomDe La Salle medicine skills labDLSHSI Medicine hallwayradiology roomDLSHSI facilitiessmall group discussion roomDe La Salle med school

Like what you’ve seen so far? Let’s move on to a couple of photos of DLSU Medical Center.

DLSU Medical CenterDLSU Emergency Room

Now that you’ve seen both the medical school facilities and the hospital, I want to give you a feel of their Nursing school. Let’s take a look. Pretty, yes?

DLSHSI Nursing MidwiferyNursing Skills Labdelivery roomemergency drugshospital bedhospital wardmedical mannequinnewborn dollnewborn screening kitnurserypatient directorysurgical traction

The Tuition

“Of all the pricey medical schools, DLSHSI ranks fourth,” said Doc JA (short for Jose Antonio) during the tour. (First on the list is my Alma Mater! I didn’t even know that when I was still in med school.)

Tuition is at around PhP234,000 each year. Scholars abound at DLSHSI (about one out of every five students is there thanks to a scholarship).

Dr Charles Uy“There is [not a] more transformative event than if someone [from poverty] becomes a doctor,” said DLSHSI graduate Dr Charles Yu, pioneer of the Philippine Coalition Against Tuberculosis.

Many other schools offer much lower tuition. But will they offer the same quality of education as DLSHSI?

The Health Courses

They offer Midwifery, something that isn’t offered by too many schools. Maybe that’s why only four Midwifery students from DLSHSI took the board exams this year. (All four passed.)

Their most recent passing rate for physicians’ board exams was at 93 to 94 percent. Not bad. Just remember that passing rates should be interpreted with a grain of salt.

Always consider how many students are taking the board exams. One hundred? Four hundred? Or twenty? A six-percent failing rate may seem small, but if about four hundred took the boards, then up to 24 failed.

DLSHSI offers several health-related courses (which I’ve enumerated here) – feel free to search for individual passing rates for all of their courses.

The Medical School Program

What makes a successful medical school? Is it the curriculum, the teachers, or the students?

It’s usually the students, first and foremost. A school without pre-screening will fare worse than a school that has taken pains to accept only the crème de la crème, even if the former has an excellent teaching staff.

Doc Jose Antonio“At DLSHSI, there are 250 teachers, about 75 percent of which are U.P. graduates,” said Doc JA.

Unfortunately, I never got to chat with a single medical student. I would have loved seeing them in class, interacting during small group discussions. I would have loved to ask them about physiology, just for me to gauge how much they’ve learned thus far!

I have not seen teachers in action, either. Too bad classes were cancelled that day due to inclement weather!

The Culture

“It doesn’t matter if we don’t finish first, as long as we finish together,” reiterated Ms Abayan-Sy. I know med students are naturally competitive, but perhaps DLSHSI is trying to imbue in them an attitude of compassion.

“I truly believe in our mission,” added Dr Yu. Semi-tangentially, I would love to suggest to them that they back their shining ideals with an anti-bullying and anti-compassion-fatigue program among clerks and interns – that’s usually where bright-eyed and bushy-tailed trainees become tired and grumpy seniors.

Again, as it turned out, we didn’t get to see the charity department of the training hospital. With a heavy patient load, residents and interns there are sure to be up to their ears in errands. Nothing reveals a medical school’s culture better than that kind of stress!

The Product

By product, I am referring to the students, of course! What kind of students has DLSHSI produced so far?

Are they kind and empathetic? Are they professional? Do they take selfies with unconscious patients in the operating room, or do they know better?

Do they know the difference between ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes? Do they know the main types of arthritis?

How do they fare in the hospital? How do they fare in real life after they graduate?

Admittedly, I don’t have objective criteria to evaluate the student population. The only objective criterion I can use therefore is their board exam rating.

The Board Passing Rates

The passing rate for physicians’ board exams at DLSHSI is at over 93 percent. (UP and UST get around 99 to 100 percent.)

When it comes to health courses, I have high standards for students. Aside from having the heart and the skills, they need the knowledge, too. All three make the foundation for good clinical practice.

Without heart, a doctor will lack empathy for his patients. Without skills and knowledge, he won’t have what is required to make life-and-death decisions nor to make proper diagnostic and treatment plans.

Is 93 percent good? Yes. But there is a six-percent room for improvement, of course. Smile

De La Salle Health Sciences Institute: The Verdict

Disclaimer: This review of De La Salle Health Sciences Institute, as conducted by Stef dela Cruz, MD on , is an objective but unofficial analysis of available information. Located in Cavite, DLSHSI offers health degrees, such as Nursing, Midwifery, and Medicine. It is a promising school, especially for students who want to avail of education assistance via scholarship. DLSHSI therefore receives a rating of 3.5 out of 5.

Rating for De La Salle Health Sciences Institute: 3.5 Star Rating: Very Good

Caveat: This is still an unofficial review (pending future revision) because of insufficient data.

DLSHSI gets plus points for facilities, student-resource ratio, scholarship opportunities, and a campus conducive for learning.

I had to leave specific criteria unmarked, however, because there were no students or teachers in action during the tour. I didn’t get to witness their immersion in the hospital, either.

Kudos to DLSHSI for their touchscreen computers and paperless exams, “wet” cadavers, and abundant pathology specimens. I love the campus, too; it’s the kind of school that makes you want to sit down somewhere and open a book – perfect for nerds like me!

DLSHSI bloggersCan you see where I am in this photo?

Thank you, DLSHSI, for making me part of your social media campaign! It was a pleasure visiting your campus. Admittedly, the three-hour trip to and from Cavite was a challenge to my carsickness – it’s not part of my review, of course, so no worries!

(In case you’re interested: I’m holding a medical book giveaway! So easy to join.)

I could barely hide my disappointment that day at De La Salle Health Sciences Institute because I didn’t see any students and teachers interacting inside classrooms! That would have made the trip even more worthwhile. Well, there’s always next year, yes?

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She maintains a health column in Health.Care Magazine and contributes to The Manila Bulletin. Add her to your circles.


  1. Will I still have a chance to get a scholarship even if I didn't graduate with honors? This post is very helpful, btw. Thanks, doc! :)

  2. It can't hurt to try, Isa. :) They have three types of scholarships: academic, financial, and athletic. In case you don't have Latin honors in college, there's always the chance you get to be an athletic scholar (if you're into sports) or a financial scholar!

  3. @Isa, yes you can! i didn't graduate with honors but they found out I was a student leader back in college. They actually "hunt" potential scholars hehe... They literally urged me to file a scholarship application. :) BTW, if you have a talent in singing, you can be a member of Saringhimig, the med choir. They participate in national and even international competitions. Members enjoy 25-100% discount for their services. You could also apply as a scholar of this well known cardiologist (the library is mamed after him hehe.. :)). He would cover all your fees including books and accommodation.
    I think another gauge of academic excellence of a med school is how well they fare in medical quiz bees or competitions. DLSHSI has been winning various competitions in clinical pathology, national quiz bees, and even an international physiology quiz bee.
    For board ratings, the colleges of nursing, midwifery and radiologic tech have consistently been in the range of 97-100% for the past years, even producing topnotchers.
    Dra. Stef, thanks for this review! I can feel your disappointment that you weren't able to interview students. Sayang! Hehe.. anyway just so you know, we are proud to be Lasallian doctors because we were trained not just to be competent, and professional, but also to be up-to-date and compassionate. We really practice the concept of being a 5-star physician, even during our pre-clinical years up to our internship years. Even now, during moonlighting and residency, I still apply everything that I learned during med school (I've always hated EBM during med school, but now I find myself doing it everyday! Hehe because DLSHSI taught me to base my practice on evidence.. )
    Thanks Dra! :D
    PS, hindi ko na naabutan yung mga paperless exam and the new building and facilities. Pero ang galing hehe nakakainggit! :)

  4. As a problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum baby, I know what you mean when you talk about EBM, Bryan!

    Thank you for dripping by. It's nice to hear from someone who went to school at DLSHSI. Too bad you didn't get to experience their paperless exams! (Would be interesting if I saw it in action, too.)

  5. Wow, (Doc?) Bryan! Thanks for the info! Btw, what is EBM? Is it the kind of curriculum that DLSHI is emlpoying? And what's the difference of EBM and PBL? Thanks! :D

    1. EBM stands for evidence-based medicine. It's when you espouse only the practices backed by sufficient evidence! (Of course, if you ask me, medicine not backed by evidence is not exactly medicine, is it?)

  6. Replies
    1. You're welcome! I hope you drop by my blog again anytime soon.