5 years of the IUA Courses for Young Vascular Specialists

5 years of the IUA Courses for Young Vascular Specialists
On July 6-10, the 5th IUA Course for Young Vascular Specialists was held in Prague, Czech Republic. Having passed five years since the decision to organise these courses seems to be a good opportunity for a little retrospection.
The idea to organise vascular courses emerged in connection to the success of the 25th World Angiology Congress IUA, held in July 2012 in Prague. The aim was to create an event which would appeal to young vascular physicians, irrespective of their basic specialisation and would bring them into the IUA. Focus on interdisciplinary cooperation of vascular internists, surgeons, radiologists and other expertise is the main idea distinguishing IUA from other vascular associations. All five previous years have been organised by a group which was also responsible for the aforementioned IUA congress in 2012. Background for all five courses has been provided by AMCA agency, namely Mr. Jakub Uher, who is currently also the manager of IUA secretariat residing in Prague. 

IUA summer courses are designated for doctors under 35 and since the beginning have been devised as educative events with a specific focus. The courses are not meant for schooling as many people interested in the subject as possible, but as a selective program focused on doctors, who are not beginners but have a certain clinical experience in the field of vascular diseases. Besides enhancement and improvement of knowledge, the aim is the preparation of future scientific and head workers in the field of angiology in individual countries, but also of next representatives of the International Union of Angiology. Another specific is that apart from lectures and workshops there are also provided good conditions for an interactive and informal discussion among participants and the team of lecturers, composed of internationally respected specialists. And additionally, the objective is also the creation of mutual personal connections. 

A 4-day lecture programme was yearly focused on main topics of arterial and vascular diseases and was developed under the supervision of the General Secretary of IUA Dr Piťha (Prague) in cooperation with Prof Nicolaides (London) and Prof Fareed (Chicago). This year, particular blocks were focused on venous thromboembolism, complications of vascular interventions, chronical venous diseases, principles of clinical research, detection and management of cardiovascular risk factors, peripheral arterial diseases, aortal diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes foot and microcirculation. The program of the course has received the UEMS certification and was evaluated with a respective amount of internationally valid European credits. Besides lectures it has also contained practical workshops during which the listeners had the opportunity to participate in a practical training of ultrasound plethysmographic screening of arteries and veins. 

The team of lecturers has been moderately changing during the years and many internationally respected figures had joined its ranks. Apart from Prof Nicolaides and Prof Fareed there were, among others, Dr Kalodiki (London), Dr Jezovnik (Ljubljana/Houston), Prof Biller (Chicago), Prof Antignani (Rome), Prof Jawien (Bydgoszcz), Prof Nikol (Hamburg), Prof Carpentier (Grenoble), Prof Thalhammer (Zurich), Prof Ramacciotti (Sao Paulo), Prof Poredoš (Ljubljana), Prof Hussein (Cairo). From local departments participated Dr Karetová, Prof Kachlík, Dr Heller, Dr Vařejka, Dr Piťhová (Prague), Dr Kučera (Ostrava), Dr Kašpar (Hradec Králové), Dr Hirmerová (Pilsen) and Dr Musil (Olomouc). The participation of all lecturers and their appearance were their personal contributions to the successful progress of the courses and for it, they deserve special acknowledgement. 

The participants were chosen according to the recommendation of national angiology societies of particular countries or based on the evaluation of applications sent in by the applicants themselves. During the course of the past five years, over 150 of young vascular specialists from 33 countries from all continents had absolved the course. 

Represented countries were: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bosnia, China, Croatia, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Monte Negro, Nepal, Panama, Poland,  Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, USA, and Czechia. The trip to Prague was arranged by participants from their own means, other costs of the event were covered by the organisers. An important role was played by grants provided by pharmaceutical companies – this year the main partners were Alfa Wassermann, Amgen, Bayer, and Toshiba.

Within the courses, there was always a space for individual contributions of the participants, and an international panel, consisting of the lecturers, evaluated their overall quality. This year the highest evaluation was given to the work of Dr Giselle Ortiz from Panama, who referred a multidisciplinary case of a poly-morbid patient with loosened cava filter. The reward for the author will be a free registration for the next IUA World Congress in October 2018 in Beijing. Benefits for all the absolvents is a one-year of free membership in IUA, a free access to the electronic version of the International Angiology journal, lowered registration fees for participation in congresses of IUA.

It can be said, that the decision, made by the IUA five years ago and supported by the Czech Society  of Angiology and Czech Society or Atherosclerosis, to organise summer courses for young vascular specialists, has brought results, which are worth being proud of. The courses of IUA have become one of the important annual events, which had significantly helped to bring attention to this international organisation, and not only among the young generation of vascular specialists. The choice of Prague for the hosting city has proven successful and is an appreciation of previous activities of Czech Society of Angiology on the local and international level. As emerges from retrospective evaluation, participants of the course consider the event to be extraordinarily professionally beneficial, and this also shows in the rising number of incoming applications for participation in the course. Moreover, the lecturers have formed an informal work group of IUA members around the organisation of the courses, and its activities go beyond the framework of the courses. From all the reasons listed above, it is evident that the initiated and successful tradition should be developed further. The preparation for the sixth year of IUA summer courses, with the presumed term in July 2018 should, therefore, receive full support.

Karel Roztocil
IUA Past President