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Why are international connections important? 

EUROECHO 2012 Congress News

Prof. Alessandro Salustri 

Prof. Alessandro Salustri
Topics: Echocardiography (Non-invasive imaging)
Date: 08 Dec 2012
Alessandro Salustri, Cardiology Consultant, Co-Director of the Non-invasive Laboratories in the Institute of Cardiac Sciences at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

“Although I’m originally from Italy I now work at a hospital in Abu Dhabi which employs medical staff from over 62 different countries around the world. The idea behind such international recruitment has been to appoint high calibre staff who provide the best possible health care for citizens.

The experience of working with colleagues from so many different countries has taught me the importance of establishing universal training programmes in echocardiography that bring everyone up to the same international standards. At present the training echocardiographers receive in Egypt, for example, is very different from that in Pakistan or Denmark. With so many different training schemes in existence we find it hard to evaluate people at recruitment interviews.

There is a need for both individual doctors and echocardiography laboratories to be certified by an international body to show that they conform to international standards.

Where ever possible we now try to encourage doctors to be certified by the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI), taking examinations in adult transthoracic echocardiography (TTE), adult transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) and congenital heart disease (CHD).

Many doctors also find that these qualifications help them get jobs when they want to return to their home countries.
To encourage international colleagues to feel comfortable working in our hospital we were one of the first echocardiography laboratories outside Europe to receive certification from the EACVI.

Accreditation provides doctors with the reassurance that they’re being trained in departments with high standards for both laboratory practice and patient care that adhere to international guidelines.

I’ve found working with people from other parts of the world really educational. For example, I’ve learnt from colleagues from India about imaging rheumatic valve disease and congenital heart disease in adults who haven’t undergone corrective surgery. These are clinical scenarios that I’d never have encountered in western hospitals.

Young cardiologists need to appreciate that working in other countries can broaden their horizons. It exposes you to completely different ways of doing things and allows you to consider putting new structures in place when you return home. You can also get the opportunity to see new technology in action for the first time and to decide whether you want to adopt it in your own country.

Attending meetings like EUROECHO and other Imaging Modalities 2012 also provides valuable opportunities to network and establish international connections. You should look on every session break as providing the perfect opportunity to meet new people and establish valuable research collaborations and exchange programmes.”

Authors: Janet Fricker
EUROECHO 2012 Congress News