Cleveland Clinic Experts Teach an OMI Satellite Symposium in Croatia

Nov 15, 2023

Being known for putting their whole heart into a cause, the OMI faculty from Cleveland Clinic traveled to Zagreb directly after leading the cardiac surgery seminar in Salzburg!

Croatia is one of Europe’s most scenic countries. On the November 13 and 14, 2023, the Satellite Symposium in Cardiac Surgery took place in the heart of Croatia, in the city of Zagreb. However, despite its natural beauty, Croatia is not flawless, as it’s healthcare system is known for its brain drain. “A lot of physicians are going abroad for work”, Dr. Tomislav Tokić states. The Open Medical Institute (OMI) satellite symposia program is here to prevent exactly that! One of the many benefits of the symposia is that they have a major impact on regional healthcare systems through the teaching of local medical professionals by expert faculty.

An OMI satellite symposium is a two- or three-day event hosted by one or more OMI fellows in their home country. Expert faculty members are invited to share their knowledge and experience with the local medical professionals. The conference includes didactic lectures, case presentations, hospital visits, and round tables. The courses are aligned with the regional healthcare needs. Thus far, there have been 280 satellite symposia in over 30 countries.

The OMI Cardiac Surgery Satellite Symposium 2023 was opened by Dr. Wolfgang Aulitzky, OMI CEO. It was hosted and organized by Dr. Hrvoje Gašparović, head of the cardiac surgery department at the University Hospital Centre Zagreb, OMI local coordinator Dr. Gloria Lekšić, and fellows Dr. Tomislav Tokić and Dr. Goran Međimurec. Remarkably, all of the organizers are OMI alumni.

When interviewing Dr. Tokić and Dr. Međimurec, they were both eager that their Croatian peers would be able to partake in the same knowledge transfer that they experienced in Salzburg at the OMI Cardiac Surgery Seminar just a week prior.


Dr. Međimurec enthusiastically argued that “the opportunity to hear about cardiac surgery from the world’s best is rare!” The two fellows hoped that the symposium would have an impact on Zagreb’s healthcare system by inspiring the doctors in the audience to change their practice habits.

There were over 60 attendees at the symposium. The three OMI faculty members teamed up with 14 local experts, providing a total of 20 lectures. The OMI faculty representatives were Dr. Edward G. Soltesz, Dr. Nikolaos J. Skubas, and Dr. Faisal Bakaeen. The remainder of the skilled faculty was made up of local doctors, namely Dr. Hrvoje Gašparović, Dr. Davor Miličić, Dr. Igor Medved, Dr. Tomislav Kopjar, Dr. Željko Čolak, Dr. Jadranka Šeparović Hanževački, Dr. Svetozar Putnik, Dr. Igor Rudež, Dr. Grgur Dulić, Dr. Daniel Unić, Dr. Mate Petričević, Dr. Zrinka Šafarić Oremuš, Dr. Ivan Knežević, and Dr. Davor Barić.

The specialists addressed the thrilling topics of “Heart Failure Surgery”, “Heart Transplantation: Current Challenges”, and “Cardiogenic Shock Management”, amongst others. The multicultural faculty participated in a stimulating discussion about “Contemporary Challenges in Coronary Surgery” with local healthcare workers during the round table session. An active exchange of ideas and opinions took place during the insightful fellows’ case presentations. Certificates were handed out to the best paper presentations as well as excellent case presentations.

We would like to thank the wonderful faculty and our local partners for their immense support, hospitality, and commitment!

Through programs, such as the Open Medical Institute’s satellite symposia, it becomes apparent that the future of medicine lies in the sharing of medical knowledge on a global scale, as opposed to the harboring of it!