PCMS_Philadelphia_Medicine_Spring2017 - 22

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even years ago, a fourth-year Jefferson Medical College
student breathed life into a vision he had had since the
start of medical school: a joining of medical students from
all across Philadelphia who showed an exceptional interest in
surgery to listen to and have the chance to meet some of the
brightest, most intelligent, most successful surgeons in the region.
He had experienced what he felt was a lack of surgery-specific
collaboration between medical students and saw no outlet for
students from different schools to come together and learn about
what a career in surgery is really like from the experts: surgeons
themselves. From this need evolved the first ever Philadelphia
Surgery Symposium. Awake and excited, 187 medical students
from the Philadelphia area gathered at 7am on Saturday, April
23, 2011 on the Thomas Jefferson University campus. The event,
sponsored by the department of surgery at Jefferson and free
to all attendees, boasted two catered meals and presentations
by renowned Philadelphia surgeons such as Dr. Michael S.
Weingarten, Dr. Daniel T. Dempsey, Dr. John Chovanes, Dr.
Pinckney J. Maxwell, Dr. Karen A. Chojnacki, Dr. Sunil Singhal, Dr. David Rose, Dr. Nathan G. Richards, and Dr. John
C. Kairys. The keynote address, entitled "Surgery: Be the Best
You Can Be," was given by Dr. Charles J. Yeo, Samuel D. Gross
Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at Thomas
Jefferson University Hospitals.

Today, that fourth-year medical student, Dr. Jordan Bloom, is
completing a residency in general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery
at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts
and has fond memories of the inception of the symposium.
"I was always struck by the fact that Philadelphia had 6
medical schools within a 10-mile radius of one another. Despite
this proximity, there was virtually no collaboration between
students at these different institutions," Jordan recalls. "After
discussing the idea with Dr. Charles Yeo, Dr. John Maxwell
(former surgeon-advisor to the Gibbon Surgical Society) and
Dr. Gerald Isenberg (surgery clerkship director) I was supported
by Jefferson's department of surgery in an effort to create a
collaborative forum among these proximate medical schools.
My goal was to create an annual symposium, that students
from the surrounding medical schools could attend, that would
result in increased exposure and knowledge of what life is
like as a surgeon. Using this information, hopefully students
would be able to make a more well-informed decision about
their career path. In addition, I hoped that students could use
this symposium as a networking tool to meet both staff and
colleagues to facilitate career mentorship, advancement and
collaboration. I am humbled and honored that the Philadelphia
Surgery Symposium has continued each year since 2011 and
applaud the students and faculty of the included institutions
for its continued success."
In years since, the Philadelphia Surgery Symposium has continued
to offer free admittance to attendees and has grown to include more
medical schools, resident-led panels, and for the first time last year
(2016), a poster presentation session showcasing the exceptional
research performed by students from medical schools all over
Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Last year, Dr. Peter Altshuler, the
past president of the Gibbon Surgical Society at Sidney Kimmel
Medical College, spearheaded the event, held at The College of
Physicians of Philadelphia. Peter is now completing a residency
in general surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. When
asked about his thoughts on the symposium, Peter stated,
Panel discussion at the 4th annual Philadelphia Surgery
Symposium (2014)

22 Philadelphia Medicine : Spring 2017


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