Celebrating an Enduring History of Cardiology at the OMI

Jul 5, 2024

It was a full house at Schloss Arenberg this past week. Once again, we were joined by our esteemed partner and friend, Dr. Robert J. Kim, leading OMI and Weill Cornell Medicine’s 31st seminar in cardiology.

Through more than three decades of partnership, we have trained more than one thousand cardiologists from 4 different continents. Through the dedicated efforts of each fellow, we have delivered world-leading state-of-the-art education, allowing attendees to bring back newly gained knowledge from cardiology experts to their home countries, significantly impacting the lives of their patients. Over 70 different faculty members donated their time over these years, most traveling across the Atlantic to selflessly share their knowledge and encourage the training of cardiologists worldwide. This cumulative effect, multiplied by the thousands of patients directly influenced by each fellow, defines the spirit of collaborative effort and the meaningful impact of OMI.

This year, Dr. Kim was accompanied by distinguished cardiology masters. From Austria, we were honored to welcome Dr. Christian Hengstenberg, chair of the internal medicine and cardiology department at the Medical University of Vienna. Along with Dr. Hengstenberg, world-renowned cardiology ultrasonography expert Dr. Thomas Binder, professor at the Medical University of Vienna, and Dr. Irene Marthe Lang, deputy chair of the internal medicine and cardiology department of the same university came together at Schloss Arenberg.

From the United States, we welcomed Dr. Vinay Kini, professor and associate director of the cardiology fellowship at Weill Cornell Medicine; Dr. Geoffrey Pitt, professor and director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine; and last, but certainly not least, Dr. Christopher Liu, associate professor and medical director of Cardiac Electrophysiology Services at New York-Presbyterian – Weill Cornell Network. Dr. Liu is a relatively new addition to our cardiology courses at OMI, having joined us only once in Salzburg in 2018. Bringing a new perspective, Dr. Liu generously shared with us his commitment to OMI’s cause:

“Having trained with teachers and mentors who taught me their accumulated wisdom and how to conduct honest clinical discussions, I feel a responsibility to help younger generations of physicians – including students and trainees in my own institution and outside. OMI opened my eyes to the needs of physicians from developing countries and has developed an amazing program with a rigorously structured system of teaching and learning, as well as impressive groups of selected attendees. This system has facilitated the exchange of not only medical expertise but also cultural knowledge among the faculty and fellows.”

The cardiology seminar focused deeply on hands-on training. The course combined didactic lectures in “Echocardiography”, “Ablation Therapy”, “Catheterization”, “Valvular Disease”, and more, with workshops organized by Medtronic. Dr. Yanis Dumpis, manager at Medtronic’s operation headquarters, joined us at Schloss Arenberg along with his team to ensure fellows had a chance to put key learnings into practice with state-of-the-art cardiology equipment and simulators. The hands-on training was divided into separate stations, allowing fellows to participate in multiple sessions dedicated to different types of equipment and techniques.

Dr. Liu further shares his view on the seminar structure:

“In this week’s Seminar in cardiology, I focused on arrhythmia conditions and their various complications for patients, including symptoms like palpitations and syncope, as well as the risk of heart failure and sudden cardiac death. My co-faculty and I discussed progress in the management of these arrhythmia conditions: with advanced diagnostic tools like genetic testing, treatment using ablation procedures, management with implantable cardiac electronic devices, and stroke risk reduction in atrial fibrillation using left atrial appendage closure. We discussed the availability of these tools and the proper use for various scenarios, as well as how to properly counsel patients on these treatments. Fellows’ presentations also included some of these conditions – these cases allowed us to have deeper discussions of when and why to use these tools for specific nuanced considerations.”

After 31 years, we hope that our partnership to train cardiologists around the world is just beginning. Following OMI’s expansion, the OMI Weill Cornell faculty accompanies us in OMI Mexico, OMI Salzburg, and OMI Vietnam. Having hosted our first event in cardiology in Mexico in March and our second event in Salzburg this week, we are yet to bring the seminar to Vietnam in November!

The Open Medical Institute extends a heartfelt thank-you to Dr. Robert J. Kim, this week’s course director, for his enduring partnership and commitment to our cause. An enormous thank-you to Dr. Christopher Liu for generously sharing his written seminar experience with us, and to the outstanding leaders in Cardiology from Weill Cornell Medicine and the Medical University of Vienna. Finally, we would like to dedicate a last word of appreciation to Medtronic, for their long lasting support and for providing true practical training at Schloss Arenberg.

The sessions were meticulously organized, covering a broad spectrum of topics from the latest advancements in cardiology research to hands-on workshops that enhanced practical skills. The innovative techniques learned during the hands-on training will translate into better patient outcomes in my practice. This seminar has not only broadened my expertise but also equipped me with the tools and confidence to contribute more effectively to the advancement of cardiology in my home country.
Bertalan Kracsko, MD

OMI fellow from Hungary

I had the honor to witness Dr. Thomas Binder’s lecture on Artificial Intelligence in medicine, which left me optimistic about the future of healthcare, while Dr. Kim’s presentation on conservative cardiology will most definitely change my outpatient practice. The overall seminar experience expanded my cardiovascular knowledge, formed new friendships, and will help me provide better patient care.
Maria Iancu, MD

OMI fellow from Romania

The highlights of the week for me were the deeply practical focus of the seminar and the unique opportunity for knowledge sharing with cardiology colleagues from all over the world. On one hand, we practiced for 3 hours at different stations, using amazing simulators, how to plan a transcatheter aortic valve implantation, how to perform a transseptal puncture, and the use of MICRA, a leadless pacemaker. On the other hand, I made new friends whom I can count on in my profession.
Manuel Ricano, MD

OMI fellow from Mexico

Dr. Liu elegantly described an approach to diagnosing and managing ventricular arrhythmias, providing a clear and illustrative algorithm that consolidated my understanding of ventricular tachycardia. This will allow me to bring state-of-the-art knowledge to my practice back home, in South Africa.
Raeesa Bhorat, MD

OMI fellow from South Africa