52nd Global Congress Reflections!
First, thank you to all the participants, you made this event a memorable one. Thank you for the sessions that were built from your ideas and abstract submissions.
In our theme, “Sustainability in Surgery: Paving the Way Together,” together is the most important word! Together, it is so nice to share these moments with the energy and the talent of participants from 62 countries. We have so much power and so many ideas when working together.
In this spirit of mutual purpose, we are eager to gather more AAGL members around the world to attend our future events. AI simultaneous translations and virtual attendance individually or as a group, enormously increase our ability to “Elevate Gynecologic Surgery Worldwide.” This year, an AAGL HUB in Chile, a group that watched the General Sessions online together, was a valuable concept.
It was essential for every one of us to understand, from Kelly Wright’s MedTalk, that the climate consequences of surgery are huge. It is even more important to go back home knowing that surgeons do have the power, using solutions proposed during the meeting, to improve this situation and thus to hand a preserved planet down to their children!
A new definition of health was presented by our keynote speaker, Eloi Laurent. He proposed a change from the 1948 WHO definition which states health is: “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being” to a broader concept: “A continuous state of well-being: physical and psychological, individual and social, human and ecological.” This holistic view of health links individual health to collective health, and human health to planetary health. Moreover, human well-being and ecological sustainability are closely linked, as evidenced by the heat waves and pollution that caused thousands of deaths in Europe during the last few years.
Live surgeries were replaced by pre-recorded surgeries. This format allowed for a more interactive discussion with the surgeon and allowed for the first time to present surgeries performed by fellows, which were both excellent and taught us a lot. In addition, surgeries such as sacral root surgery for endometriosis, as demonstrated well by Horace Roman’s pre-recorded surgery, are complex and seem almost unethical to present live. This point was also supported by Matthew Siedhoff’s MedTalk which emphasized the importance of decreasing pressure to preserve surgeons for the future through the implementation of strategies that support our well-being.
Our opening sessions on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion were, in my opinion, the main event. It is unacceptable that the race and economic status of someone may influence the way a woman is treated. Our speakers also presented effective solutions to better understand and improve this situation. Good surgeons should be aware that they are operating on poor, malnourished or even homeless patients since these situations, encountered worldwide, do increase the risks of complications!
I encourage us as surgeons to not be addicted to technology, even if more than 20% of the accepted submissions were about robotics and technological innovations. I want to stress that many solutions to decrease our carbon footprint will come from low- and middle-income countries, as illustrated by our pre-congress session organized on the 15th of September. Please take a close look at this amazing webinar!
We were re-introduced to semeiology by Alka Kumar’s Hysteroscopy MedTalk on uterine preservation surgery and endometriosis, titled The Endometrium-An Organ? The other “stars” of our program were Kristen Pepin and Frederica Bologna with their MedTalk on the role of patient online communities.
Our Congress is not over. I missed so many sessions that I am interested in, and I am looking forward to watching them when the videos of the meeting are available online in early December!
At this Global Congress we learned that many mandatory changes are possible to improve our practice while preserving the planet. We have to make them happen! Many ideas and innovations will give us the ability to make our Congress more global. I look forward to future AAGL meetings!
Again, thank you all, thank you to all the speakers and presenters, and thank you to the outstanding AAGL staff for making this happen!