American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

U.S. Scholar John Bergquist Makes Lasting Connections at Italian Surgical Congress

In October 2017, I had the distinct honor and pleasure of representing the American College of Surgeons (ACS) at the 119th Italian Surgical Congress meeting in Naples. I was invited to participate in this meeting on behalf of the Resident and Associate Society (RAS-ACS and to present on resectability in pancreatic cancer. My wife accompanied me along on the trip and attended the meeting as well.

Roman ruins at Paestum

Our journey proceeded without event and we arrived in Naples on Saturday morning prior to the meeting on Monday. Over the weekend prior to the meeting, we visited ancient Roman Ruins at Pompeii and Paestum which were incredible. On Sunday night we proceeded to Naples where we stayed at the conference hotel right along the Naples waterfront, in the heart of the historic city. Also, we found out that there was a very important football game being played between FC Napoli and Inter Milan. The Inter Milan team stayed at the hotel next to ours and we (along with half of Naples) saw their team bus parked out front.

Inter Milan team bus

Dr. Bergquist presenting in Naples, ItalyMonday morning, we attended the conference where we got the full experience of Italian-style conferences, complete with real espresso and long lines in the speaker ready room as everybody worked to get their slides uploaded. I met up with Dr. Giuseppe Nigri from Sapienza University prior to the talk. He had helped me with reviewing slides prior to my arrival. I am able to speak some Italian and had decided that I would forge ahead with the plan of giving my 30 minute talk in Italian. I had translated all the slides and made myself a script to work from. There are some attached pictures which show me during the talk.

The presentation went well and was well-received. There were several questions which I did my best to answer. Pancreatic surgery in Italy is regionalized in a way that is a bit different than in the U.S. There were several questions focused on the systemic differences between the U.S. and Italian medical systems and, in particular, regarding centralization of complex procedures at specialized centers. After the presentation, I had some time to meet with residents from Sapienza University who had made the trip down from Rome. I discussed with Dr. Nigri the possibility of foreign exchange between Sapienza and Mayo and we agreed to work toward that moving forward. He invited me to come and speak sometime in Rome if the opportunity later affords itself, and I fully plan to take him up on that. Dr. Nigri presented me a certificate of completion.

Drs. Nigri and Bergquist

I am extremely grateful to the ACS for providing this international scholarship opportunity. Exposure to colleagues in other countries is one of the ways that I think we can continue to make the world a smaller place and further advance the best practices of care to deliver the highest-quality outcomes for our patients. I hope to continue to be able to collaborate with Dr. Nigri and other Italian colleagues moving forward to continue to advance the mission of the ACS in education and high-quality patient care. This scholarship has made possible the creation of connections that will last a long time. Thank you again.

John R. Bergquist, MD, is surgery resident at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.