By:  Malou Dulce-Betco, HS 84

Back in high school, in one of our career talks, a doctor went onstage and said things that would change a young girl’s life.  She said that, while she may not have achieved much materially, she knew she had made a difference in people’s lives as she helped heal many patients. 

Little did she know that there was a young girl sitting in the audience who was inspired by her words to pursue a profession in Medicine.  Her name:  Carmen Batacan.

Carmen recalls, “That really struck me because I wanted to find a path where I can make a difference in others’ lives in concrete ways. I prayed a lot over it and asked Him to make it easy for me to follow this path if it is truly His Will. Lo and behold, God opened doors for me and got me accepted in my college of choice and my medical school of choice, though the odds were not good back then.”

After Carmen graduated from Assumption High School with top honors, God paved the way so that she could be accepted at the Ateneo de Manila University (even without taking entrance exams), and later on, the UP College of Medicine (despite being the only non-UP applicant).  God also provided opportunities so that she could receive training in Pediatrics and Pediatric Infectious Diseases both locally and abroad.  “He opened doors because it was truly His Will for me.  And now my daily professional life is in His service.”

Carmen felt God’s guidance time and time again.  When the opportunity arose to go into vaccinology, she was reluctant at first to forego her time for this.  But, God intervened.  While attending a meeting, Carmen heard a global vaccine expert talk about how vaccinology impacts more lives and provides populations as a while — protecting them against diseases that are otherwise informing or devastating.  “I knew that God was calling me to the field of vaccinology.  Again, He opened doors and things fell into place.”

Today, Carmen Batacan-Nievera does God’s work as a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist and a Global/Asia-Pacific Medical Director for Vaccines.  Her days (and nights) are filled with daily rounds at the hospital, virtual meetings with scientific experts here and around the world, as well as research, scientific writing, lectures and data dissemination.  “My field of work is one where Faith is paramount.  I pray constantly for His grace, guidance, protection… for His Will to be done… for everyone and everything in my care.  Medicine is a field where one constantly realizes that not everything is under our control, and outcomes of our endeavors are ultimately in His hands.  As our Faith drives our Actions, in my practice, I pray for each patient, but I also strive to give the best evidence-based medical care.”

Carmen’s life is an inspiring example of what it means to be “Women of Faith, Women of Action” in today’s world.  As Carmen says, “The world is not short of achievers and trailblazers.  But as women of faith and of action, the difference is that — flowing from our Faith — we are moved to makes this a better world through our daily deeds, big or small.  Our Faith allows us to know God’s Will, gives us the grace to embrace it, and strengthens us to courageously follow it.  We can’t help but be directed by Him in our daily choices in our careers and our personal lives.  We can’t help but act, using the talents and abilities He has generously given us, to fulfill His Will and bring His Kingdom to the lives of our families, our country, and the world. Hopefully, in doing His Will, we also reflect a glimpse of God’s love to others whom we encounter in our daily lives, and move them, too, into faith and action.” 

Though Carmen’s journey has been long and challenging, she felt that her Assumption spirituality and core values helped prepare her for this life.

AWARENESS = “Sensitivity to the needs of others was a core value ingrained in us at AC since our earliest years. Being attuned to the unmet public health needs of our country and of the world drives me to work towards the research and development of vaccines that can alleviate these needs.”

COMMITMENT = “My preparation for a career in pediatric infectious diseases and vaccines spanned at least 16 years of training and is an ongoing, constant process. My Faith that I am doing His Will drives me to stay committed to constant learning, research and excellence.”

HUMILITY = “In the field of infectious diseases, we acknowledge that there will be patients who will not get better, things we have yet to discover, mistakes that have been made and have yet to be made. The recent pandemic brought this to the fore.  We are truly humbled by all these and remain in awe of God’s mysteries and His ways.”

INTEGRITY = “Medicine is a science and integrity is fundamental in every aspect of our work, especially in our research. There is no room for ‘fake news’ and dishonesty.  AC has always taught us how we should be ‘how Jesus wants us to be’.  And that includes being upright in the eyes of the Lord.

ONENESS = “St. Marie Eugenie said, ‘The world is too small for my love.’ Indeed, my work needs me to have a global view and to work together with others.  I was given the opportunity to work with colleagues from all over the country and the world — people from diverse backgrounds, expertise.  I have learned to work with them collaboratively in pursuit of our common goals — forming global teams, yet bringing my authentic self.

Carmen…the occasional artist!
Still life…a sample of her artistry!
Peaceful serenity…captured on canvas.

Today, four decades later, Carmen has become the figurative “doctor onstage” and she knows that there are many young girls out there who are still trying to figure out what God’s will is for them.  To these young ladies, Carmen has these words of advice.


St. Marie Eugenie said ‘Be all Jesus wants you to be.’ Sometimes it is not easy to do this. We ask ourselves ‘What does He want me to be?’ and ‘How do I become that person?’ My advice would be to constantly say a prayer that I learned in school: ‘Lord, grant me the wisdom to know your Will, the grace to love it, and the courage and strength to follow it.’  This prayer has carried me throughout my life and has allowed me to surrender to His Will. It has also enabled me to be bold and courageous in pursuing my career, trusting that I am doing God’s will and that He will provide for me, that He will always be there for me in good times and in bad. I still pray it every day as our lives are constantly changing. There will be times when He will press the RESET button and redirect us to His ways when we are lost. Just pray and trust in His ways, yield to His will, and ‘transform everything into praise and thanksgiving’ (another quote from St. Marie Eugenie). And to ensure that you are being heard, always pray to Mama Mary. As a mother myself, I can guarantee that she always listens to her children and that her Son always listens to her. Then, be ready to be amazed by what God has in store for you. ‘Oh Lord our God, how great Thou art!’