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MUSC Advanced Endoscopy Fellowship 2011: Dr Yiannis Kallis

The BSG travelling fellowship provided me with an invaluable experience to learn about advances in endoscopy from an array of expert speakers from around the world. There are several aspects of the MUSC course that stand out as particular highlights listed below. Some have allowed me to reflect on and improve my own endoscopic practice, whereas others have more generally afforded me a broader perspective on my practice.

It was a privilege to have seen Peter Cotton’s final ERCP demonstration and to have been involved in the last MUSC course before his retirement. It was inspiring that he had been able to attract such an eminent line-up of speakers, who had all been at one stage taught by him, and who clearly felt a debt of gratitude. What came across was the sense of legacy, more familiar to an American-educated rather than European-educated doctor,. This was manifest in Dr Cotton’s efforts to fundraise to maintain the MUSC advanced endoscopy fellowship, and certainly resonates with what I have experienced in the last few years in the UK where universities and medical schools are seeking more benefaction from their alumni.

A thoroughly enjoyable component of the trip was the opportunity to visit the facility at MUSC and be taken around by the advanced endoscopy fellows there. It reinforced what can be achieved if sufficient backing and planning are put into the design of a digestive diseases centre. It was apparent that the US fellows were able to focus and maximise their endoscopy training by having some of their administrative tasks delegated to support staff. I am sure the UK medical education system has a lot to learn from this, particularly considering the constraints of the European Working Time Directive.

My personal highlight came from an unexpected source. Dr Nageshwar Reddy’s account of the development of a mobile endoscopy service to reach villages previously inaccessible in rural India was both sobering and inspiring. It reinforced how much is achievable with limited resources with a skilled and dedicated medical and nursing team, and how this can have such a fundamental impact on people’s health. It strengthened my resolve to commit some time during my medical career to voluntary service in the developing world.  

In summary, this was a superb and well organised course in a fantastic location.