A Cohort that Be-Lungs Together!

Jan 12, 2024

The pulmonology seminar has been taking place annually since 2018 under the initiative and supervision of Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi. In 2023, a three-year course curriculum was implemented, marking this the second year that the curriculum was used.

Vital to note is that Dr. Choi is the former Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr. Choi was dean of the prestigious medical institution from 2017-2022. Dr. Choi’s full commitment to OMI is evident in the fact that the pulmonology seminar has not only taken place seven times in Salzburg, but also one time in Vietnam.

This week’s seminar in pulmonology, which took place from January 07-13, 2024, kick-started the Open Medical Institute’s seminar series for the year 2024. The faculty members stemmed from both Weill Cornell Medicine and the Medical University of Vienna.

The course was led by course director Dr. Choi and the two co-course directors Dr. Fernando J. Martinez and Dr. Marco Idzko, alongside the hardworking faculty members Dr. Clemens Aigner, Dr. Daniela Gompelmann, Dr. Maximilian J. Hochmair, Dr. Robert J. Kaner, Dr. Irene Marthe Lang, Dr. Michael S. Niederman, and Dr. Helmut Prosch. In total, the cohort consisted of ten members, all of whom were present at Schloss Arenberg, except for Dr. Hochmair, who presented his lectures remotely to the motivated fellows.

Speaking of fellows, there was a total of 34 fellows from over twenty countries, including Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Austria, Tanzania, and Latvia, present at this week’s seminar. Despite their multi-cultural backgrounds, the fellows all shared the same eagerness to learn more about the medical field of pulmonology and presented their cases to the faculty and each other in engaging ways.

The seminar was held to evaluate the current updates in the medical field of pulmonology, including topics, such as asthma, COPD, lung fibrosis, and lung infections. Additional matters that were reviewed were lung cancer, radiologic images, and lung vascular diseases. Some of the fascinating lectures were titled “Severe Asthma”, “ARDS”, “ILD Diagnosis and Treatment”, and “Outpatient CAP and Other Advances in CAP”.

One of the Austrian faculty members, Dr. Idzko, from the Medical University of Vienna, stated: “I have always felt that it is our responsibility to teach and train pulmonologists from lesser developed countries. The OMI, with its seminars, workshops, and observerships, has the perfect set up to efficiently train the future leaders in medicine. It is always a highlight to come to Salzburg and contribute to the OMI’s aims (stop the brain drain!) and achievements.” This quote highlights the doctor’s enthusiasm about the OMI, specifically regarding the topic of pulmonology.

“This seminar was more than just a learning journey; it served as a springboard for personal growth, cooperative endeavors, and profound inspiration.”

Anh Nguyen Tuan, MD

OMI Fellow from Vietnam

“The extent of what the seminars and the OMI are doing for young doctors from different parts of the world is incredible!”

Nani Gonjilashvili, MD

OMI Fellow from Georgia

“As I bid farewell to Salzburg, I carry with me a renewed sense of purpose and a commitment to implementing and sharing the knowledge and insights gained during this seminar.”

Tamrat Elias, MD

OMI Fellow from Ethiopia