ACP Leaders on the Road: Paraguay

Patrick Alguire, MD, FACP
Senior Vice President, ACP Medical Education

I attended the National Recertification Course in Internal Medicine sponsored by the Paraguayan Society of Internal Medicine from November 12 to November 15, 2015. Drs. Maria Cristina Jiménez, FACP, and Dr. Jose Ortellado, FACP, were the course directors. Dr. Ortellado is also the President of the Society. Dr. Jorge Hidalgo, MACP, of Belize, was the international faculty coordinator. I had the opportunity prior to the meeting to review the curriculum and provide my input as the ACP representative and to create the post-course evaluation.

Two-hundred and fifty physicians paid $500 each to attend this meeting that included 34 hours of instruction. More than 80% of all participants stayed to the end of the day each day of the meeting, including Election Day (Sunday). It took me a while to figure out why all the attendees had a purple index finger.

All presentations were in a single large room with excellent audiovisual support and internet connectivity. Each presentation was 30 minutes in duration. This rapid change of faculty reduced learner fatigue and maintained interest. All faculty included self-assessment questions within their presentation, some used a cell-phone technology audience response system. A pre-course examination was offered which consisted of a subset of the post-course evaluation questions. An evaluation of the course was performed and results should be available later.

The faculty was international in scope including those from the United States, Belize, and Guatemala. I thought the quality of the presentations were quite excellent. The lectures were all given in Spanish or English with Spanish translations.

The entire conference was heavily ACP branded including all faculty PowerPoint slides, the program (and each page within the program), the tote bag, name badges, and note taking paper. Following the end of the conference a 30-question post-course examination was administered. The Paraguayan Society of Internal Medicine will score the tests and issue documents of "recertification" for those who met the passing threshold.

For me, the most astounding aspect of the meeting was the end. Dr. Barbara Mathes, FACP, (my spouse) and I positioned ourselves in the pre-function area to wait for the end of the evaluation session and suddenly we found ourselves in an impromptu reception line. I estimate that we personally received the thanks, handshakes, and well-wishes from at least 75% of the attendees, many waiting several minutes in a long line to speak to us. Most wished to have their photographs taken with us. The message was the same from each physician or groups of physicians (many families attended the course, for example father and daughter); they were grateful for the course and this was the best course they ever attended. Some were so emotional about the experience that they had tears in their eyes. For Barbara and me, the experience was overwhelming.

We were thankful for the opportunity to participate in the course, and we even had the opportunity to be able to visit some tourist sights around Paraguay. The trip was well worth every minute.

Pictured above: Patrick Alguire, MD, FACP (right) is inducted as an Honorary Member of the Paraguayan Society of Internal Medicine by Dr. Ortellado (left) and Dr. Jimenez (middle).

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