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AAP mourns loss of Philippines Pediatric Society president to COVID-19 :

March 27, 2020

Editor's note: For the latest news on coronavirus disease 2019, visit

The Philippines Pediatric Society President Salvacion “Sally” R. Gatchalian, M.D., died of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on March 26. The pediatric infectious diseases expert from Quezon City, Philippines, was 67.

Most recently, she was battling the COVID-19 pandemic as assistant director of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine at the Republic of the Philippines Department of Health. Dr. Gatchalian also was 2020 president of the International Society of Tropical Paediatrics of the Philippines and previously served as president of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines.

Through her role with the Philippines Pediatric Society, Dr. Gatchalian worked closely with the AAP on initiatives, including advocacy for strengthening immunizations and tobacco control. These initiatives also supported her work through the society to elevate pediatricians’ role in the Philippines and bring systemic changes to community norms and public policy.

After the Philippines was hit by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, she was involved in epidemiology and prevention efforts to help displaced children at risk of tuberculosis. As a former member of the World Health Organization Tuberculosis in Children and Adolescents Working Group, she helped create the Philippines Coalition Against Tuberculosis and led a children’s tuberculosis initiative.

She was a clinical associate professor and attending physician at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine and Philippine General Hospital, where she earned her M.D., completed residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases.

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