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We are starting a regular section on our website where we will feature alumni of both University of the Philippines College of Nursing (UPCN) and Philippine General Hospital School of Nursing (PGHSN) and their accomplishments, their whereabouts, important milestones, or just about anything newsworthy to showcase our fellow alumni and be proud of their colleagues. We hope you will email us similar stories of yourself or your classmates. You can email them to upnaai.inc@aol.com.


 Maria Leilani A. Relucio, or Lani, completed her B.S. in Nursing in 1992 at the U.P. College of Nursing and went on to pursue a Doctor of Medicine degree in 1996 at the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. She received her M.D. degree in 2000. She finished her anesthesiology residency in 2004 and practiced at St. Luke's Medical Center until 2009 prior to migrating tothe United States and worked  as an acute care dialysis nurse at Fresenius Medical Care North America, Southwest OH region until 2011. She moved to Cincinnati Children's Hospital and Medical Center and worked as a research nurse until 2015. 

Lani has been married to Dr. Alvin Relucio since 1998, a former ophthalmologist in the Philippines. He now works for a leading ophthalmic medical-surgical device company in Fort Worth, TX. The couple has two daughters, one who is now a senior in high school, and the other is a 7th grader.

Lani took a two-year sabbatical to pursue novel writing and completed a copywriting course. She is now a stay-home mom and found her calling in her writing ministry through blogging and writing devotionals in her website since the beginning of 2017. You can learn more of her professional journey as a nurse, doctor, and eventually, as an inspirational and devotional writer at www.inspiredcopywriting.com.


Oliver is among the shining stars of our alumni association in the East Coast. He arrived in the U.S. in 2006 as a Scholar of the Global Scholarship Alliance (GSA), and obtained his Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree tuition-free at Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY. Concomitant to his pursuit of graduate studies is his employment in various hospitals and skilled nursing facilities where he worked his way up from staff nurse to supervisory positions.

At present, Mr. Punongbayan is the Regional Director for Medical Reimbursement of Excelsior Care Group, where he manages several skilled nursing facilities in the tristate area (NY, NJ and CT). He is also currently a part-time quality manager at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, NY.


Rosario or Chat to her classmates recently obtained her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Rutgers University Health Sciences Center in December 2016. She has a Master’s degree in Informatics and has years of experience in bedside nursing from the regular floors to the intensive care units. She is so adept with case management and has her certification to prove this. She was most recently a Case Manager at St. Barnabas in Livingston, NJ. She shuttles between her two houses in NJ and NV. She has two adult kids who have completed college and are working.


Nelia Rose Sakai Adaci graduated cum laude from the UP College of Nursing, Class 1991, and is an accomplished nurse executive in the long term health care industry. She has taken on many leadership roles as Director, Assistant Director of Nursing, MDS and QA Coordinator, unit manager and staff nurse. These experiences have enabled her to understand the many challenges faced when operating a successful nursing facility. She has extensive expertise in clinical reimbursement, MDS 3.0, budget and resource utilization, clinical documentation, the survey process, and establishment of systems that promote quality of care and maximize facility profitability. She is a prolific speaker in the areas of quality improvement and health service delivery. She resides in Jackson, New Jersey with her husband Atty. Jonas Adaci. She is currently Vice-President of The Charts Group, a company that conducts seminars on Medicare, CMI and regulatory compliance information and updates; assists in Federal and state survey preparations; establishes and implements plan of corrections for regulatory deficiencies; provides expert testimonies in Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearings; recommends comprehensive clinical and reimbursement support to skilled nursing facilities; trains and mentors Directors of Nursing, MDS Coordinators and Nursing Managers; and, assists health care providers (nursing facilities, ambulance companies, DMEs, etc.) in the claims and appeals process. Nelia is a member of the Worldwide Who's Who, a special distinction honoring individuals who have shown exceptional commitment to achieving personal and professional success. She is a member of the American Association of Nurses Assessment Coordination and the National Director of Nursing Association.


In her Editorial for Issues in Mental Health Nursing 37:12, 883-884, published on December 12, 2016 (IMHN), Dr. Sandra P. Thomas, PhD, RN, FAAN mentioned in detail the various accomplishments and professional services that Dr. Lantican provided to the journal for 25 years as peer reviewer for manuscripts submitted for publication. Dr. Thomas praised Dr. Lantican for her dedication, meticulous, prompt, and timely review of articles assigned to her. The journal recently received its Impact Factor in June 2016 (0.990) a significant number and quite competitive with other psychiatric nursing journals whose impact factors range from 0.725 to 1.535. You can access the full-text article at DOI: 10.1080/01612840.2016.1249698.

In her editorial, she prominently mentioned Dr. Lantican’s education (BSN, MA, and PhD) having been from the University of the Philippines College of Nursing (UPCN). We all know that she served as faculty at the UPCN for 22 years prior to coming to the U.S. and becoming a member of the faculty at the University of Texas in El Paso (UTEP), serving in various capacities and receiving various awards. She was awarded tenure and retired as an Associate Professor Emerita status.

Some of the awards Dr. Lantican received include the Texas Nurses Association of El Paso (TNAEP) TNAEP Nurse of the Year Award; American Psychiatric Nurses Association Research Award; the prestigious J. V. Sotejo Award from UPNAAI; American Nurses Association Ethnic Minority Post-Doctoral Training; Fellowship - Health Policy Research Institute, Health Policy Research, Washington, D.C.; Recognition as Project Evaluator from a Kellogg-Funded School - Based Health Project; Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society; Sigma Theta Tau’s Directory of Nurse Researchers; Distinguished Professional Awardee in Nursing (UPAA); Distinguished Alumna (UPCNAA); Listed in The International Who’s Who of Contemporary Achievements, Biographical Publications, Cambridge, England; Pi Gamma Mu International Social Science Honor Society Member; Faculty Fellow, University of the Philippines (Doctoral Study); University Scholar, M.A., Ph.D. Studies in Psychology, University of the Philippines; and Fellow, China Medical Board of New York (Masteral Study) at University of California, San Francisco.

Despite all these accomplishments, Dr. Lantican remains quite humble and would not wish this recognition from the IMHN publicized. We are ecstatic in UPNAAI, as well as UPCN, that Dr. Thomas highlighted her educational degrees coming from the University of the Philippines (U.P.). She really exemplifies the U. P. tradition of excellence in education. She is quite proud that many of our alumni, including those from the PGHSN and UPCN have accomplished so much internationally. We are likewise so proud of you and your achievements, Dr. Lantican!


Willy is Chair of the Early Mobility Program at St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. As Chair, she spearheaded the program in the ICUs where patients are now exposed to early mobility as soon as they are able to. There is now clear evidence that early progressive mobility can result in increased patients’ sense of psychosocial well-being, reduced length of stay, diminished likelihood for pressure ulcers, enhanced patient, family and significant others’ satisfaction of care, reduced risks for ventilator-acquired pneumonia for intubated patients, decreased intubation days for those who require assistive respiration, and decreased caregiver frustration, burnout, and even injuries. The program required that Willy, as leader, collaborate with all members of the multidisciplinary team to implement this program. She and her team of nurses worked with the Clinical Education and Research, as well as the Risk Management Department and the physicians, rehabilitation therapists, nutrition, respiratory therapists and everyone involved in the care of their ICU patients. Despite the initial growing pains when implementing a new program, the passion and dedication of Willy and her team prevailed and have succeeded in improving the care and recovery of their patients, including diminishing the many potential and actual adverse events associated with prolonged immobility. Willy was awarded the Daisy Foundation Award for her leadership and hard work in this initiative. This is a prestigious, international award given by the Daisy Foundation to honor the strong and impactful work of nurses to affect nurses' job satisfaction, retention, teamwork, pride, organizational culture, and healthy work environment. There are now over 2K healthcare facilities in the 50 states in America and 14 other countries who honor the work of exemplary nurses. Willy is now in the next stage of the project, working towards its sustainability and identifying more measurable outcomes. We are truly proud of you Willy! Congratulations to another alumna who continues to carry the torch of excellence embedded in our U.P. education.

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