When young physicians participate in an OMI Program they leave equipped with state-of-the- art medical information, tips and tricks from the most experienced specialists, and a network of colleagues and mentors whom they may consult for the rest of their careers for advice and support. This makes them ideally qualified to take on leadership positions in their own countries for the benefit of their patients. Below are some success stories, which are representative of hundreds of alumni whose careers were positively impacted by the Open Medical Institute.
Arsen Torosyan, MD
“Armenia is a country in transition where challenges in healthcare should be addressed on all levels. As the Minister of Health, I have a tough role, which I have accepted for the future of my country. The OMI seminars and observerships are unique in the way they are organized and carried out. They have a great impact on fellows’ professional development, networking skills, and – most importantly – on the vision of what the future of healthcare should look like. I am glad that I had the opportunity to participate in an OMI seminar.”
Rahima Gabulova, MD
Dr. Rahima Gabulova, who is one of the most active OMI fellows from Azerbaijan, has attended three OMI seminars in Cardiology as well as four OMI leadership seminars. She has completed two OMI observerships and organized several satellite symposia in Baku, Azerbaijan. In 2019, she was appointed Medical Director of the Institute of Sport and Rehabilitation Medicine.
Igor Stoma, MD
Dr. Stoma graduated from Belarusian State Medical University, Faculty of General Medicine, where he began his PhD program in 2013. At the time, he was working as Assistant Professor and eventually became Associate Professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Stoma is an experienced attending physician and biomedical scientist who specializes in the areas of microbiome, transplant infectious diseases, infections in hematology, antimicrobial therapy and data analysis. He was awarded the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Grant in 2017-2018 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Igor Stoma participated as a fellow in OMI Programs four times, including clinical OMI Seminars in Infectious Diseases (2014) and in Systematic Reviews (2019). During both seminars, the course directors noted his excellent participation and case presentations. Dr. Stoma also attended the OMI Leaderships Programs “Economic Evaluation in Healthcare” and “Global Health: COVID-91 Update” in 2020.
Ivan Ivanow, MD
Professor Dr. Ivan Ivanov attended the OMI seminars in Pediatric Neurology and Development in 1996, Pediatric Gastroenterology in 2004, and was the local host for a visiting professorship. He has been appointed Vice Rector of Quality Management at Medical University Plovdiv.
Jan Marounek, MD
Dr. Jan Marounek is one of the leading cardiac surgeons in the Czech Republic. He attended several OMI seminars in Salzburg. From 2016 to 2018 he served as Director of the Healthcare Service Supervisory Department at the Ministry of Health. Since 2018, Dr. Jan Marounek leads the Division of Public Health.
Archil Talakvadze, MD
Dr. Archil Talakvadze attended the OMI seminar on Law and Health in 2010. Afterwards, he became Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Corrections in 2012, and then Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in 2014. Next, in 2016, he became the Leader of the Parliamentary Majority. Dr. Archil Talakvadze now works as Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, after having been elected in 2019.
Peter Nyirady, MD
In 2019, the Open Medical Institute and the Open Society Foundations (OSF) launched a program to reduce brain drain in Central and Eastern European countries by establishing Centers of Excellence in different areas of medicine. At each center, the OMI alumni act as leaders, developing and overseeing strategically important programs and activities. Through investments in critical medical infrastructure and by providing in-country educational initiatives, this program expects the local healthcare systems to improve significantly and stem brain gain. In the field of Urology, four of the most prominent chairmen, Dr. Peter Nyirady, Dr. Piotr Chlosta, Dr. Milan Hora, and Dr. Zoltan Bajory decided to establish a cross-national center of excellence, enabling them to collaborate in areas of education, science and clinical expertise.
Tatyana Ivanova-Razumova, MD
Dr. Tatyana Ivanova-Razumova attended five OMI seminar and leadership programs between 2010 and 2019: Pediatric Gastroenterology, Pediatric Pulmonology, Clinical Research Methods, Medical Quality and Safety, and Systematic Review.
“Eight years ago, I changed my position to become the chief of the pediatric cardiology department in the largest cardiac surgery center in our country – the National Research Cardiac Surgery center. My experience in Austria was a very important factor in the decision for my promotion.
In my new position, the OMI seminars continue to play a vital role. The ‘Clinical Trials’ seminar was very useful in my clinical and teaching activity. Now I am also a lecturer for the Nazarbaev University Medical School. As a result of these seminars, I have improved my statistical knowledge and presentation skills.”
Valbon Krasniqi, MD
Dr. Valbon Krasniqi attended the OMI seminars for Medical Education in 2015 and Infectious Diseases in 2018. After the seminars, he became a political advisor to the minister of health and has an active role in the country’s healthcare politics, including the preparation of legal infrastructure and the establishment of the health insurance fund. Furthermore, he has a main role in the clinical management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kosovo with a focus on regular communication with the public.
Azamat Kasymov, MD
“In 2016, I was fortunate to participate in an OMI seminar in the field of Surgery. I especially liked the atmosphere at the seminar; I was among like-minded people who also love surgery and sought to improve their skills. I met doctors who came to the seminar from all over the world. We discussed and shared information on new methods of diagnosis and treatment in surgery.
After participating in the seminar, I began to use the knowledge gained not only in my practice as a surgeon, but also in teaching students. I was appointed the head of the Department of Surgical Disciplines at the Medical University, and then Vice-rector for Academic and Scientific work.
Then, in 2018, I became the Head of a new Medical center in Bishkek. This Medical center is one of the biggest private hospitals in Kyrgyzstan. Today, our Medical center is among the best medical institutions in the country.
Participation in the seminar was a turning point for me. My professional skills improved significantly, I became more confident in myself, I had clear plans for the future, and I understood in what direction I needed to improve. The result of the seminar was my career advancement.
I hope for further productive cooperation with the OMI, as I am sure that this will be useful to me, and our clinic, in improving the quality of medical care for our patients.
I would like to express my great gratitude to the OMI for hosting such seminars!”
Dana Kigitovica, MD
“I was honored to participate in the OMI observership in Cardiology under the auspices of Prim. Dr. Andrea Podczeck-Schweighofer. It was my goal to experience the work atmosphere in an Austrian hospital, and this observership exceeded my expectations. I appreciated the possibility to work, to watch and to learn how patients are managed, examined and observed. The work in the department was intense, but I balanced it out with social activities organized by the OMI. I benefited a lot from working in Vienna, and I will use the gained knowledge in my hometown, Riga. It was a fantastic month!”
Victor Hugo Borja Aburto, MD
Dr. Victor Hugo Borja Aburto was a fellow of the first OMI seminar in Pandemics. Thanks to his excellent work, professional contributions, and international relationships, he is now a member of the National Academy of Medicine in Mexico and the National Council of Public Health, as well as Director of Medical Benefits of the Mexican Institute for Social Security (IMSS). He is responsible for leading the healthcare of more than 70 million Mexicans. As a leader in the field of Public Health and Epidemiology, Dr. Victor Hugo Borja Aburto has received numerous awards, such as the Medal for Health Merit awarded by the Mexican Society of Public Health.
Natalia Palarie, MD
Dr. Natalia Palarie attended three OMI seminars in Ophthalmology in 2009, 2013, and 2016 as well as an observership in 2011. Furthermore, she has organized two visiting professorships in Moldova in 2015 and 2018.
“The impact of the Open Medical Institute on my life and my career is hard to summarize. Over the years, I have taken all three steps of the OMI educational program: I participated in seminars, attended an observership, and organized visiting professorships in Moldova. It all started in 2009 when I had the chance to visit the Weill Cornell seminar in Ophthalmology in Salzburg, and it dramatically changed my way of approaching and managing patients.”
Byambasuren Luvsandagva, MD
“I was fortunate enough to attend two OMI seminars and to participate in the OMI observership program twice. I will always be grateful for those opportunities because they helped to improve my professional skills. The program helped me learn about new medical practices being used as well as some recent medical achievements. Predominantly, my area of interest is the development of the otolaryngology sector in Mongolia. My OMI mentor from Salzburg helped me to get in touch with MED-EL, a hearing device manufacturer, which enabled my hospital to obtain a selling license. As a result, we successfully completed surgeries for two deaf children to improve their hearing capabilities. Additionally, I completed a soundbridge surgery in 2011 and bonebridge surgery in 2014; these surgeries were the first of their kind in Mongolia. As of now, I have successfully completed these surgeries more than 130 times. Finally, I would like to share that these successes have made a significant impact in the otolaryngology sector for Mongolia, as well as on a world-wide scale, and have helped to improve the symptoms of many deaf people.”
Ernest Kuchar, MD
Dr. Ernst Kuchar has attended five OMI seminars and one OMI observership in Pediatrics. He is now the Head of the Pediatric Department of the Medical University in Warsaw, Poland and encourages young doctors to participate in the OMI programs.
“I am an alumnus of the OMI. Thanks to the OMI programs, I am now the Head of the Pediatric Department at the Medical University of Warsaw. I have always been grateful to the OMI for inviting me to the seminars in Salzburg, which were the pivotal educational events for my personal and professional development.”
Veronika Skvortsova, MD
Dr. Veronika Skvortsova is a Russian neurologist and an OMI seminar alumna. From 2012 to 2020, she served as the Minister of Health of the Russian Federation. In 2017, she was elected the 70th President of the World Health Organization (WHO). In January 2020, Dr. Veronika Skvortsova was appointed as the Director of the Federal Biomedical Agency.
Lubica Kovacikova, MD
Dr. Lubica Kovacikova has participated in five OMI seminars since 2003. As a dedicated fellow, she co-organized five OMI satellite symposia in Slovakia. In 2013, she launched a cooperation between her institution in Slovakia and the OMI faculty of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In collaboration with the U.S. embassy in Bratislava, she started regular videoconferences to discuss difficult cardiology cases with her peers in the United States. The success of this scientific collaboration was published in the journal Congenital Heart Diseases. In 2019, Dr. Lubica Kovacivkova became the coordinator for the OMI/OSF Center of Excellence in Pediatrics in Bratislava.
Tina Bregant, MD
“Coming from a small village in the small country of Slovenia, it is not easy to go abroad in search of knowledge and wisdom. It is also not easy to return and stay when foreign countries offer you privileges your own country cannot provide. You encounter different people and places, and you sometimes feel timid and unsure. The OMI allowed me to bring new medical knowledge home to benefit not only my patients in Slovenia, but also the political table of our country, since I had become the State Secretary at the Ministry of Health. I am now in a position where I am able to return some of the knowledge and skills to the patients that I am in touch with. Because of the OMI’s willingness to share medical knowledge and skills without prejudices, I am a better doctor and human.”
Remigius Rugakingila, MD
“The OMI seminar in Salzburg enabled me to establish a urological department at the Benjamin Mkapa Hospital in Dododma, Tanzania. Furthermore, we were grateful to be with the OMI faculty from Vienna who taught us tips and tricks of laparoscopic surgeries. These were the first laparoscopic kidney and adrenal surgeries performed in our hospital and they helped to kick off the journey of laparoscopic surgeries. Their input on how to improve patient care and our clinical practice has helped us grow.”
Nadiia Demikhova, MD
From 2014 to 2017, Dr. Nadiia Demikova was the Deputy Dean for Science of the Medical Institute at Sumy State University in Sumy, Ukraine. From 2018 onwards, she has been a consultant of the Sumy Regional Center for Public Health and a consultant to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (Project in Ukraine).
“The knowledge gained at the OMI seminar (Public Health; Human Rights in Patient Care), the exchange of experience with participants from other European countries, as well as materials from lecturers from the United States (Dr. Judith Owerall) gave impetus to a new direction of my scientific activity – the development of public health in the Sumy region and in Ukraine.”
Abdusalom Abdurakhmanov, MD
“When I first participated in an OMI seminar in 2013, it was my first time abroad and it completely changed my way of thinking. As I continued to participate in more seminars over the years, I received more knowledge not only in the field of cardiac surgery, but also in the field of research and professional activity. Following the OMI seminars, I partook in two observerships at the Department of Cardiac Surgery in Vienna. These were amazing experiences for me. The OMI faculty not only explained everything to me, but also showed techniques that have since become useful to me as a cardiac surgeon. Their deep academic knowledge and great experience hit me to the depths of my soul. After my return, I began to collaborate with my OMI mentor, and under his supervision and mentoring, we introduced a program of aortic aneurysm surgery in Uzbekistan. Over the next three years, we organized at least two meetings per year for which he came to Uzbekistan. Now we are able to independently perform operations on valves and aortic aneurysms. The support from the OMI professors has also helped me improve my position in academia. I have since become the head of the newly organized department of cardiac surgery. Since that time, my department has continued to improve and expand cardiac surgery services for the Uzbek population. In addition, some of the knowledge and skills that I received during the OMI seminars on faculty development are very useful in terms of the development of my department. I believe that this academic exchange program organized by the OMI will help develop a high standard of medical care in my country.”