An Important Step Toward Advancing Patient’s Care and School of Surgery
December 31, 2018 – On December 3rd, 2018 a group of representative of Kosova Surgical Societies got together on the offices of the National Telemedicine Center of Kosova and established the Kosova College of Surgeons as a unified body of 14 surgical societies of the country, representing more than 800 practicing surgeons (Figure 1). The idea to create a college as an important scientific and advocacy body of all surgeons of Kosova has been ongoing for a few years and that goal has now come to fruition. Subsequently on December 17, a number of surgical societies of Kosova met again and elected the first president of the Kosova College of Surgeons: Prof. Rifat Latifi, Professor and Chairman of Department of Surgery of New York Medical College, School of Medicine and Director of Department of Surgery, Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, New York, a Medical Faculty of University of Prishtina graduate and creator of the telemedicine program of Kosova and Albania (Figure 2). The first Clinical Congress will take place in June 2019.
On the occasion of creation of the Kosova College of Surgeons, the New York-based, Albanian-American newspaper, Illyria, talked to Dr. Latifi.
Dr. Latifi, what is mission of the Kosova College of Surgeons ?
The Kosova College of Surgeons will be modeled based on the American College of Surgeons which was created in 1913. The mission of the Kosova College of Surgeons is to unify all practicing surgeons, residents of surgery and medical students who will pursue surgery in the future in practicing the highest standards caring for the surgical patient. This will be done through committees. that already have been created, the content and activities of which will be advanced over the next few years, in order to improve the quality of surgical care, increase surgical access for all patients, reducing complications, improve the outcomes and lower cost of care for all.
The College is a result of the younger generation of surgeons and the older deciding to work together as one. Of course, Kosovar surgeons around the world will lend a hand to our colleges in Prishtina to make sure that they know we are there to help and will share everything we have to advance the mission of the College and to inspire new generations of surgeons.
The next generation for medical students and residents to come will remember on this cold day in December 2018 when a group of enthusiastic leaders of their societies decided to create the College for decades and centuries to come
How will the college function and be governed?
The governance of the college will be based on the governance of the ACS, with president serving only one-year term. The college will work closely on equality programs, legislation, regulatory issues, surgeon’s voices, quality of surgical care, practice management and ensuring increase of access to care for everyone who needs surgery.
In addition, it will work on having its own publications, the Journal of Kosova College of Surgeons and other ad hoc publications. The Kosova College of Surgeons has created 10 committees: Committee for Yearly Annual Congress; Committee for Cancer
Committee for Continuous Education; Committee for Diversity; Committee for Ethics and disciplinary issues; Committee for Medical Students in Surgery; Committee for Residency in Surgical Disciplines; Committee for Trauma and Emergency Surgery; Committee for Technologies and Information Technology; and Committee for Health Policies and and Advocacy. Other working groups and committees will be added as needed and, as the College and its reach matures.
What will be the role of the College on future leadership?
One more important elements in creating the College is to afford opportunities for leadership, on many aspects of surgical disciplines for general surgery and trauma, orthopedics, pediatric surgery, gynecology and obstetrics, ophthalmology, maximal facial surgery, plastic surgery and other surgical disciplines. Most of these organizations have good number of members, however, having representation by College will be an important element that will unify the structures.
What kinds of challenges you foresee?
Although it will be a difficult beginning and challenging, I am fully convinced the Kosova College of Surgeons will be another successful story of this great, but small country. Surgeons of Kosova operated on wounded soldiers and wounded population during the war in Kosova, in most austere conditions. Some of them worked to finish medical school and surgery training under the difficult veil of war and all have worked very hard in the last 20 years to rebuild the freedom of the country and rebuild the medical system that is still has major challenges.
Furthermore, the Kosova College of Surgeons will become an important arm in helping the Ministry of Health of Kosova in ensuring provision of the highest quality of care, by creating protocols for surgical care, which will reduce, if not obliterate entirely the transfer of patients to the other countries in the region and abroad for even basic surgery.
While of these are very possible, we have to remember that the Royal College of Surgeons of England and Ireland was created in 1505, while the American College of Surgeons was created in 1913. So, we have a long way to go, but if we do not start now, we will never get there.
Will you tell the readers anything else and can you put this in historical perspective?
This the highest honor that I could receive from my colleagues of Kosova and and I will do everything I can to make this another successful story of Kosova. With the team of surgeons of Kosova, who have decided to this, the success cannot be questioned. I invite all surgeons from Kosova who work anywhere in the world to join our college. We need your help and your expertise and you can make a significant contribution to the school of surgery of Kosova, to our patients, our surgical residents and medical students who will join surgery tomorrow. It has never before been a better time to be a surgeon in Kosova, than now, and despite all challenges, we will succeed to build a sustainable school of surgery with all clinical and research advances that public expect from us. We owe this to our people, to our patients.”
The creation of the Kosova College of Surgeons clearly represents one of the most important historical moments of surgery in Kosova and it will undoubtedly advance the surgical care of all patients. The College will standardize the care, practice, and protocols of surgical care and will work to advance clinical and scientific and research agenda of surgery of Kosova, to join world standards. Additionally, the College will represent Kosova in all surgical congresses in the world, especially at the American College of Surgeons, as one of the largest and most important congresses of surgeons in the world”, said Dr. Latifi.