Surgical Training in a Desert Oasis
On August 18-19, 2018, AAGL in conjunction with FMIGS hosted the annual Fellows Boot Camp in Phoenix, Arizona. This was the first time the event was held in Phoenix and was attended by 73 fellows and 37 MIGS faculty. We were hosted by Dr. Nita Desai, faculty at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, and the incredible team at Barrow Neurological Institute.
This was also the first year that the course was limited to just fellows, and the curriculum was designed to focus on educational objectives specific to their level of training. The course included a variety of didactic lectures, simulation labs, and cadaveric dissection. In the simulation labs, fellows were able to practice vaginal hysterectomy skills on a state-of-the-art model, improve basic and advanced operative hysteroscopy skills, and utilize an iPad™ model to work on laparoscopic suturing. In the cadaver lab, fellows were paired with some of the best MIGS teachers in the country to hone their dissection skills and gain experience in the retroperitoneum.
In addition to the exceptional lectures, which covered a variety of topics from tissue extraction pearls to getting a job after fellowship, we introduced a novel group of didactics on day 2 that were optional for the participants. They were given the opportunity to decide which group of lectures they wanted to attend, with one track focusing on ERAS, surgical route selection, and a “teach the teacher” workshop, and an optional track on work/life balance (including a group meditation session), dealing with job disappointments, and successfully navigating an academic career.
Even though the outside temperatures reached 109 degrees (!), our host institution made sure we were very comfortable. It was a highly successful and rewarding weekend, and our initial feedback is extremely promising. We are very grateful to the faculty who volunteered to teach at this event, and we are excited to begin preparations for next year’s Boot Camp.