Amiel Villanueva, MD

“In the medical profession we make important and difficult decisions close to a daily basis. The medical ethics seminar I attended at the Witherspoon Institute helped put things into perspective: that our actions and decisions as medical practitioners have moral significance and should always be oriented to the good. In short, as physicians we are called to be good.”

Dr. Cary Amiel Gil Villanueva from the College of Medicine at the University of the Philippines Manila (UP Manila). A licensed physician, he is currently doing his Residency Training in Internal Medicine at the Philippine General Hospital. He is interested in the field of Bioethics. With the help of the CEO of Universitas, he organized Inquies Pro Medicina: Conversations on Science, Medicine, Law and Philosophy in UP, a seminar exploring the intersection of Medicine with other fields. Through Universitas, he was able to participate in a seminar on Medical Ethics at the Witherspoon Institute in the United States.


In the mid year break of 2016, three Filipino doctors flew to the East Coast of the United States to attend a week-long course on medical ethics, held at Princeton University.

The seminar, entitled “Medical Ethics: A Natural Law Perspective”, ran from June 12 to 18, 2016 and was organized by the Witherspoon Institute, a research center in Princeton, New Jersey that works to enhance the public understanding of the moral foundations of free and democratic societies.

Originally intended for medical students, the seminar saw at the time its most diverse set of attendees. Apart from medical students from Yale University and Duke University, pre-med students, a nurse and a philosophy graduate student were in attendance. There were also two ladies from New Zealand involved in law and non-government organization work.

The Philippine delegation was composed of Kristine Noelle M. Sunga (Saint Louis University), who then recently passed the physician licensure exam, as well as Christian Wilson R. Turalde (University of the Philippines College of Medicine) and Cary Amiel G. Villanueva (University of the Philippines College of Medicine) who were both beginning internship at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH). They were encouraged to go by Universitas CEO Atty. Oliver M. Tuazon who earlier attended one of Witherspoon’s summer seminars.

The program faculty was composed of two distinguished individuals. The morning sessions were usually led by Farr Curlin, MD (Duke University), a specialist in internal medicine and hospice and palliative care. Dr. Curlin formerly taught at the University of Chicago and delivered a speech on conscience before the U.S. President’s Council on Bioethics. Stimulating discussions on philosophy were then handled by Christopher Olaf Tollefsen, PhD (University of South Carolina) who has several publications on natural law and medical ethics. Read More.