My AAGL Learning Experience
The 47th AAGL Global Congress on Minimally Invasive Gynecology was a great opportunity to learn basic skills and cutting-edge procedures in the field of laparoscopy, as well as to be inspired. It was also a wonderful opportunity to network with professionals that will be instrumental in the running of our own laparoscopy program in Malawi.
The didactic courses I attended in pelvic anatomy and considerations during pelvic surgery were refreshers in holistic care every patient rightfully deserves. It was a reminder that despite any resource challenges that might ensue, there are some aspects of care that do not require much resources. The slides provided will assist me to teach others. The clarity with which the courses were taught, and the simplicity of the slides make them ideal for new learners to the skill. In one of the urological courses, I witnessed different methods of handling vault prolapse post benign hysterectomy which is common in our setting. Through the knowledge I will bring back to Malawi with me, we will be able to adapt the methods seen and prevent the occurrence of vault prolapse.
Currently the laparoscopic program is underway in Malawi and it is not only for patient use but for education purposes. The AAGL’s provision of the course slides will allow me to also teach the material to the upcoming residents in the Malawian OBGYN program. A session on education techniques called “Put Me in Coach” positively impacted my teaching style to be more student oriented and gentle as opposed to result oriented. Considering my field of interest being reproductive endocrinology and infertility, I was able to interact with different methods of diagnostics and treatment of tubal disorders and endometriosis which we currently mostly make clinical diagnoses. With the knowledge and the new unit, this will result in better diagnostic capability for the Malawian women regarding the two conditions.
I also had the opportunity of meeting with experts in the field who expressed interest in assisting with the offsetting of the program in Malawi. This will be accomplished through the provision of the time either virtually or physically to assist in providing much-needed education in laparoscopy. The networks forged will also assist me to further my formal education in laparoscopy as I had the opportunity to meet educators in America and some based closer to home, in Egypt. With the scholarship award came membership to the AAGL, a society that promises more learning and networking opportunities for my colleagues and me. The individual interactions with American counterparts helped me to appreciate the correct patient attitude, a quality that is at times forgotten in Malawi due to the large patient volume. Seeing it in action served as a timely reminder.
Lastly the fact that I was awarded the scholarship and have attended the AAGL meeting will encourage my colleagues in the field and to apply for other educational scholarships. Before I was not aware of the existence of the AAGL and its reach but after this opportunity, that reach has definitely extended to Malawi.
The Harrith M. Hasson, MD Educational Scholarship Award is supported by the Foundation of the AAGL Harrith M. Hasson Scholarship Fund, established by Dr. Hasson’s family in his name in 2016. This scholarship is awarded to a deserving recipient from an AAGL Affiliated Society in a developing economy (as designated by the United Nations) to attend the AAGL Global Congress. The scholarship award covers travel and lodging, registration fee to the Global Congress, and includes a postgraduate didactic course of the recipient’s choosing and a ticket to the Presidential Gala. Additionally, the recipient is presented a statuette acknowledging their award during a general session at the Global Congress.