Cheers to 30 Years!

Dec 4, 2023

A peaceful mission, a shared desire to help others, and wonderful company. These marked the 30th anniversary celebration of the Open Medical Institute, which took place on November 29th at Schloss Arenberg, Salzburg. There were over 90 guests present, many of whom have been patrons of the OMI for years. We are overjoyed to announce that our fundraising goal of 100,000 euros was surpassed! Proceeds from the evening will go towards the renovation of the fellow rooms and an update of the technical infrastructure at Schloss Arenberg, the OMI conference center.

The grand event was opened by the Salzburg Stiftung der AAF’s President Johannes Graf von Moy’s welcome address, which captivated the audience. This was followed by a speech by the Wienerberger CEO and a long-time supporter of the OMI, Dr. Heimo Scheuch, titled “Why Philanthropy Matters”. He articulated the importance of helping others in need and supporting programs, such as the Open Medical Institute, that strive to make the world a better place. Dr. Ernst Wolner, who was one of the first keynote speakers ever at the foremost OMI cardiology seminar in 1993, was honored by the OMI and awarded a painting of Schloss Arenberg by artist Martina Stock.

During the concert interlude, the guests enjoyed the classical music pieces Sonate für Violine und Klavier e-moll KV 304 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as well as Liebesleid, Liebesfreud by Fritz Kreisler. The pieces were performed by the violinist Risa Schuchter and Ellen Braslavsky on the piano. We would like to thank our talented musicians, especially Risa Schuchter who has been organizing the weekly chamber music concerts at Schloss Arenberg for more than 20 years, for their contribution to this special event!

On the note of striving to share medical expertise and prevent brain drain, OMI CEO Dr. Wolfgang Aulitzky and OMI Managing Director Stephanie Faschang portrayed the Open Medical Institute’s successes in a captivating presentation, “Looking Back and Moving Forward”. They spoke of the program’s past and future, illustrating the changes and drastic growth of the program over the past 30 years. Some of the highlights that were mentioned included the transformation of Salzburg into the OMI’s headquarters, the opening of two new hubs in Mexico and Vietnam, and the shift of the program’s focus towards African countries. This year alone, the OMI not only educated medical professionals in seminars for 42 weeks of the year in Salzburg, 12 weeks in Mexico, and three weeks in Vietnam, but it also improves healthcare systems worldwide daily.

What started with one seminar in cardiology focusing on doctors from Central and Eastern Europe has evolved, over time, to more than 850 seminars in all areas of medicine, and has extended opportunities to more than 27,600 physicians globally.

The evening continued with the engaging presentation, “United in Global Health” by the head of the Education Department of the Institut Pasteur in Paris, Monica Sala, who highlighted the mutual benefit of the partnership between the OMI and the Institut Pasteur and its worldwide network.

Board member and part of the recently established committee promoting the OMI’s activities to the next generation regionally, Dr. Thomas Bodmer reinforced the importance of contributing to this meaningful endeavor.

The powerful closing remarks by the pediatric palliative care seminar’s course director, Dr. Stefan J. Friedrichsdorf, from the University of California, San Francisco, imparted the uniqueness and tremendous impact of the OMI program to the audience by emphasizing its educational approach and giving examples from fellows’ practices.

While attendees enjoyed each other’s company and spent a pleasant evening in the Grand Hall of Schloss Arenberg, outside, a blanket of snow slowly covered the rooftops of Salzburg.

We would like to thank our esteemed guests for their joyfulness, generosity, and continued support! Without you, none of this would be possible. We hope to celebrate the sharing of medical knowledge and spending time with our friends in the future!