ACP Leaders On The Road:
Maximo Brito, MD, FACP
A Visit to Santiago, Dominican Republic
It was a great pleasure to represent the College at the annual meeting of the Internal Medicine Society of Santiago, the second largest city in the Dominican Republic. Santiago was founded in 1495 during the European colonization of the Island of Hispaniola. It is located in the north-central region within the Cibao Valley, one of the most fertile areas of the country. The population of the metropolitan area is about 2 million people. Locals call it “the first Santiago of the Americas”- sorry Chile! “El Monumento”, the monument, which stands at the entrance of the city, is a memorial to the fallen heroes of the “Restoration of the Republic”.
The meeting was held at the new Metropolitan Hospital of Santiago (HOMS), a joint venture of the Dominican government and the private sector. HOMS is a very modern and well-equipped healthcare institution. It cares for insured workers residing in the Santiago Province and the entire central region of the country. The hospital is gaining an international reputation for excellent care, which is attracting a significant number of foreign patients who travel from other areas of Latin America. This scientific meeting was conceived and planned by Dr. Kenia Garcia, an internal medicine (IM) specialist and director of the internal medicine residency program of the Metropolitan Hospital. Dr. Garcia is an enthusiastic member of the College.
The internal medicine residency program at HOMS is made up of 15 residents and several internal medicine faculty. My visit started by attending morning report and discussing interesting cases with the IM residents. Two patients with infectious problems were presented by the junior residents. I thought the residents were all very bright and enthusiastic about internal medicine. Following the morning session, I had a lunch meeting with Dr. Garcia and some of the other international guests where we discussed potential areas of collaboration and the prospect of a future ACP chapter in the Dominican Republic. At this time, the country does not have enough members to justify a full chapter, but the organizers of the meeting are poised to increase membership which could eventually lead to the formation of a chapter. After lunch, a senior executive took me for a tour of the hospital.
There were around 250-300 participants at the meeting, the majority internists, a smaller number specialists, residents and medical students. The auditorium was filled to capacity, forcing the organizers to open an overflow room and link it to the main auditorium via videoconference. The scientific program was well balanced, covering a wide range of topics in internal medicine. The first part of the meeting was devoted to topics in infectious diseases. I had the opportunity to give two presentations during this session. The first was a brief introduction to the ACP, where I informed the audience about the mission of the College, its programs, and my opinion about the importance of joining professional organizations. My scientific lecture was on the topic of “Primary Care of HIV Patients: State of the Art”. This topic was particularly important because of the high prevalence of HIV in the Caribbean where it constitutes the first cause of mortality among people aged 15-45 years. The audience was engaged and participants asked many interesting questions, mainly dealing with management of complicated patients. The first day of the meeting ended with a wonderful opening reception where I had the opportunity to interact with many local internists, residents and medical students. I was later invited to a dinner with the faculty, residents and other invited speakers.
I was delighted to have the opportunity to represent the ACP and meet such an enthusiastic group of colleagues.
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