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Graduate Medical Training
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Aleksandrs Maļcevs, member of the board of the foundation Doctors Safe Train (DST), is excited about the training opportunities offered by the foundation. DST was established by Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) and the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (LLU) in 2013. ‘It is a unique leaning opportunity which gives a sense of true participation. Working with live tissue in a real-life operating room using modern technologies gives a sense of involvement and responsibility, just like during a real surgery.’ Aleksandrs thinks highly of RSU as he graduated from the Faculty of Medicine and later continued in the residency programme choosing surgery as his speciality – more specifically transplantology. Finally Aleksandrs pursued his studies in the doctoral programme where he focused on kidney transplantation from donors after cardiac death. Currently the young doctor works as a surgeon-transplantologist at the Latvian Transplantation Centre and is a lecturer at the RSU Department of Surgery.

To continue what has already been started, and to develop new ideas

Aleksandrs Maļcevs was only recently appointed as a member of the board - in February 2019. As so often happens when it comes to new challenges, Aleksandrs has ambitious plans. He aims for the centre to become a leading training centre in the Baltic States, and even beyond. He talks about several directions for the centre’s development which include training courses that have already proven efficient as well as many new ideas. The training of residency students has to continue in cooperation with the RSU Faculty of Continuing Education, and more training opportunities for students from a wider range of specialities need to be provided. Students from the surgical residency programme have already undergone laparoscopy training courses. The next training cycle for residency students will start at the end of May. Residents of other specialities, such as gynaecology and family medicine, will also have the opportunity to undergo training in the future. Physicians who use invasive methods in their work would benefit the most from these courses, and the centre offers courses on invasive radiology.

Aleksandrs thinks that the training centre is not only necessary for students, but also for experienced doctors who need to learn new methods and technologies. The new board member therefore plans to find and attract already experienced specialists by addressing medical associations in Latvia and other European countries. Aleksandrs sees communication with medical associations as a two-way street - the centre offers its facilities, distributes information about modern training equipment, available technology and opportunities, but needs to listen to the needs and desires of doctors’ associations from various specialities. 


Joint centre for residents of the Baltic States

Since DST is the only simulation centre of this kind in the Baltic States, Aleksandrs sees an opportunity to develop it as a joint training centre for residents of several medical universities in the Baltic States. A collaboration is already underway with Kaunas University.

Attracting outstanding local and foreign lecturers is another aspect of cooperation which can raise the capacity of the training centre. Last year, for example, DST invited visiting lecturers from Dresden Medical University, Saarland Medical University Hospital and the Medical University of Gdansk. In October 2018 the centre became a member of the German Association of Small and Medium-sized Businesses which provides more extensive opportunities to establish new contacts and find new cooperation partners in the European Union and beyond.

The significance of research

The training centre offers extensive research opportunities. Aleksandrs reveals that you can study the behaviour of various new synthetic materials used in transplantation, as well as new technologies and methods at the centre. 

Tissue replacement improves quality of life. Before tissue is transplanted into the human body, however, the different tissue materials have to be carefully tried and tested - also on live tissue. The testing of new diagnostics materials and biomarkers can be carried out at DST for research purposes.

‘The RSU and LLU joint training centre, Doctors Safe Train, serves as a modern, simulation-based training facility, which promotes the training of excellent physicians on the one hand and makes an invaluable contribution by enhancing patient safety on the other – specialists are well-prepared and highly qualified after receiving training at the centre. Moreover, the training centre can serve as a basis for improving cooperation between medical practitioners and medical treatment institutions in Latvia, the Baltic States, Europe and, possibly, also on a larger scale,’ says Ilona Bundze-Zdanovska, the Chair of the Board of the Foundation Doctors Safe Train adding that training at DST can prepare for great achievements in medicine.