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ACP Leaders On The Road:
Norman Wilder, MD, MBA, MACP

Caracas, Venezuela

Dr. Wilder

Dr. Wilder gives a talk during the Annual Meeting of the Venezuelan Society of Internal Medicine/ACP Venezuela Chapter meeting.

I jump at any opportunity that allows me to travel. My wife, Kathy, and I seem to always be on the road and it was while on a trip to Argentina and Chile last fall, that I got an invitation from Dr. Eva Sekler, FACP, Governor of the ACP Venezuelan Chapter, to visit Venezuela and lecture at the combined meeting of the ACP XVIII Reunión Anual Capítulo de Venezuela and the XVI Congreso Venezolano de Medicina Interna, May 19-22 in Caracas. We had previously landed at the Caracas airport on a stop from Miami to Quito, but this would be our opportunity to actually touch Venezuelan soil. My answer to Dr. Sekler was “Yes!”

Los Roques

Dr. Wilder and wife Kathy relaxing on the beach during some free time.

We have always been received like family wherever we go and Venezuela was no exception. We pride ourselves on our Alaskan hospitality, but we told several people that the Venezuelans had raised the bar. Friendly and helpful are the words that we think of when recalling our eight days in Venezuela. We spent three days at a posada in Los Roques for relaxation before the meeting, experiencing the most spectacular beaches we have ever seen. A day tour in a colonial suburb of Caracas and a tour of the city on another free day added to our cultural experience. By the time we left Caracas we had made many new friends and we have started to set in place a return visit to Venezuela. There is so much to see and the country is so beautiful.

The meeting was equally spectacular! There were multiple rooms and concomitant lectures running simultaneously. I never was sure just how many attendees there were, but the venue was packed with enthusiastic physicians and students. The meeting lasted for four days and I attended many lectures. I was impressed by the level of experience of the lecturers who had studied at many of the outstanding medical centers of the world in addition to representing the best of the local medical society. The lectures were scientifically sound and often presented updates of material published within the previous weeks. The presentations on unique medical problems that I never see in Alaska were a special bonus to me. The meals, the entertainment, the camaraderie, the opportunities to socialize, and the friendliness of all, rounded out the educational program. A special presentation of the youth symphony will never be forgotten. Kathy and I have many good memories.

The Venezuela program typifies why I like to travel and participate in international conferences, but it was the e-mail I received from a medical student following my return to Alaska that reassured me that I had been able to offer something in exchange for our wonderful experience. She wrote:

“Hi, I am a student who attended the XVI congress of internal medicine in Venezuela, and this mail is just to say that your conference ‘What I'd have liked them to teach me in Medicine School, but didn't’ (sorry If I didn't translate that properly), was THE BEST. Anyway, I really enjoyed it, like everyone else, and I also think you were an excellent speaker. Congratulations.”

To all the Venezuelans we met, but particularly to Dr. Eva Sekler (and her husband, Nelo), thank you for the opportunity to participate in your very successful educational meeting and to get to know your country better. We look forward to returning in the future and to seeing you at other events of the ACP.

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