Seeking for opportunities in India
Saiseikai Shiga Hospital Division of Nephrology
Tetsuya Makiishi, MD, FACP, FASN
The 3rd American College of Physicians India Chapter Congress was held from August 31th to September 2nd in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India. The theme of the congress was “Practicing wellness to prevent illness”. On behalf of the International Exchange Program Committee (IECP) at the ACP Japan Chapter, Dr. Tsutsumi and I participated this meeting.
Leaving home early in the morning of August 30, we arrived in Lucknow in the middle of the night. It became the next day when we got to a hotel after a short drive from the airport. It was a muggy night. We could see a couple of cows roaming on the street from a car window. The hotel was located alongside a main street, and had extensive grounds surrounded by tall fences. There were several security guards in front the gate, who asked a few questions to a driver and checked inside the trunk before our car got to the building. Despite after a long travel and coziness of the room, I couldn’t fall asleep easily. I mused over the days I spent in India 26 years ago.
The reason why Dr. Tsutsumi and I came to India originated from a short conversation with Dr. Muruganathan, the Governor of the ACP India Chapter, at the ACP Japan Chapter meeting held in Kyoto, back on June this year. At that time, and until now, the members of the IECP have been discussing what new programs and seminars it could offer. Through the discussion, the idea of an exchange externship program with international chapters of the ACP (chapters outside the United States) came across, and it seemed really nice to us. Having heard that the Governor of the India Chapter was being invited to the meeting, I talked to him to convey the idea at the reception revenue.
“Sounds great. No problem, I think. Let’s do it.” He replied quickly with a big simile on his face.
To be honest, I didn’t expect that things went well so easily. The next day I emailed him a thank-you note. The day after next he replied me to invite me to the India Chapter annual meeting to be held three months later. Actually, I have ever been to India 26 years ago. It was when I was a medical college student. Back in 1992 summer, I backpacked across India for a month on my own. The experience I had during the travel was so impressive, or more correctly put, it was so shocking that it has been a part of my life since then. So, when I read the mail, I definitely thought it was an opportunity I could not miss. After exchanging several emails regarding the schedule and a content of the lecture they want us to deliver in the meeting, Dr. Tsutsumi and I were finally and formally invited to participate in it. I was assigned a talk on the following topic: Is microalbuminuria an indication for RAAS blockade therapy in patients with normal blood pressure? My summer of 2018 was spent preparing for it.
The congress was really great. All sessions were held in English. The topics covered were ranging widely, from clinical research conducted by medical students to up-to-date, clinically relevant theme presented by professors from both inside and outside India. There were also a webinar presented by three physicians from Mayo Clinic, the theme of which was the role of the hospitalist in this day and age. I was amazed by their eagerness to learn the problems that we face and discuss how to deal with them by sharing information with half a dozen invited physicians from abroad. They were from the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, and Japan. In fact, the panel discussion entitled “Challenges and solutions of medical practice” held for this purpose was I thought one of the highlights of this congress. Dr. Tsutsumi participated as one of panelists and commented clearly and sharply about the issues Japan faces. He also did a perfect presentation in his lecture about Japanese medicine in overaging society.
Furthermore, we really appreciated their hospitality. There was a buffet-style reception dinner on the second day of our stay. It was a warm and cozy atmosphere. All participants were talking each other in a relaxed mood. We had a fun time talking with other participants and enjoying a little spicy Indian food. During our stay in India, every single participant and organizer was always nice and kind to us. India warmly welcomed me back.
The experience we had with distinguished colleagues in the India Chapter will be valuable assets to the IEPC. Besides being able to deepen the friendship with them, we could understand the health care environment in India and could also inspect the situation of a big city in India from security perspective, for the planned exchange externship program between the two chapters. Based on them, the IEPC now starts to prepare for its success.
I would like to end my report by showing appreciation to all the people who were involved in my attendance to the congress, to the members of the IECP, to my colleagues in Japan, and to my family. Namaste!
Tetsuya Makiishi, MD, FACP, FASN