The first OMI satellite symposium since the COVID-19 pandemic took place December 3-4, 2021, in Pristina, Kosovo. The two-day event was organized by the OMI local coordinator and radiologist, Dr. Bujar Gjikolli. Dr. David Trost, Associate Professor of Clinical Radiology and Director of Interventional Radiology at Weill Cornell Medical Center, travelled to Kosovo to lead the conference and share his expertise. He is one of the most committed OMI faculty members and has been involved in 24 seminars and several satellite symposia over the years.
This was the fourth OMI conference held in Kosovo which took place at the Theater Faruk Begolli at AAB College. The opening ceremony began with a word from Dr. Bujar Gjikolli, which was followed by a welcome speech from Prof. Bujar Demjaha, AAB College Rector. Next was a speech by Prof. Dr. Astrit Kuçi, Dean of Dentistry and Radiology technician study programs at AAB College. We were honored that Christoph Weidinger, the Austrian Ambassador to Kosovo, was present and introduced the OMI, explaining the importance of the exchange of information between medical doctors in Kosovo, Austria, and the USA. He noted the impact that the OMI programs have had towards the Kosovan healthcare system as well as the opportunity for Kosovan doctors to exchange knowledge and build up their networks. Then came a speech by Pavel Bilik, the Czech Republic Ambassador to Kosovo, in which he shared about the partnership between Kosovo and the Czech Republic.
Next was a presentation by Dr. Wolfgang Aulitzky, explaining the mission of the OMI and how important it is to fight against the threat of brain drain. He described the drastic difference between the healthcare systems in Western versus Eastern Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Thus, the OMI was founded and strives to help medical professionals stay in their home countries, build a career, and become valuable members of their international community of experts. Then, Dr. Bujar Gjikolli spoke about the Kosovo Open Medical Club (KOMC) and its achievements. To conclude the opening ceremony, acknowledgement plaques were given to all faculty and contributors involved in the satellite symposia.
The remainder of the two-day event included lectures from several radiology experts, including Dr. David Trost and Dr. Petra Steyerova, a radiologist and a former OMI fellow from the Czech Republic. Nearly 200 doctors applied to participate in the conference. Two doctors were selected to lecture, one from Bosnia and Herzegovina and one from Turkey. Their lectures were held virtually. Lecture topics from the OMI faculty included percutaneous therapies for liver and renal tumors, emergency interventional radiology, oncological imaging for practice, breast interventions, hybrid imaging in oncology, and peripheral nerve ultrasound and nerve blocks. More than 100 attendees joined the event, of which the opening ceremony was broadcasted live on Facebook as well as on state and private television channels in Kosovo.
Upon arrival to Kosovo, Dr. Wolfgang Aulitzky met with the Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Arsim Berisha, and the Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Naim Bardiqi, to discuss future cooperation, aiming to increase the number of participants from Kosovo in the OMI programs. Dr. Wolfgang Aulitzky also visited the radiology clinic and the library, which was named after him, at the University Clinical Center of Kosovo.
We are grateful to Dr. Bujar Gjikolli for the organization of the event, to the OMI faculty for their willingness to participate, and to all who made this happen!
Click here to watch the opening ceremony of the OMI satellite symposium: https://youtu.be/FiHB1oOMdgk