‘Everyone felt really safe’

Seminar in Taiwan is an example of how on-site education can safely and successfully resume

03 October 2020

The East Asian island nation of Taiwan led the world in its fast, efficient effort to beat back COVID-19 and now—with just a handful of COVID-19 deaths and just over 500 confirmed infections to date—Taiwan is leading in its approach to reopening. The AO CMF Asia Pacific region has its own role in that reopening: Last month, Taiwan was the site of the region’s first on-site, face-to-face medical education event with international faculty since the pandemic began.

Prof Han Tsung Liao, MD, PhD, organized the AO CMF Seminar—Advances in Management of Congenital and Secondary Craniofacial Deformity, conducted September 19–20, in Taipei City.

“Because the Taiwan government’s management of COVID-19 has been so successful, we are able to start offering on-site events earlier than other countries,” Liao explains. “This has been difficult for surgeons because they have not been able to go abroad to teach or to learn—all social activity was stopped. But this approach has made it possible for us to offer this educational opportunity.”

In total, 100 participants were on-site for the event, where the safety of participants and faculty were a top priority.

“Everyone’s temperature was taken and recorded before they entered the conference center, face masks were worn throughout the event, distancing was enforced by leaving every second seat unoccupied, and hand sanitizer was freely available,” says Liao, who has been AO CMF faculty since 2010. “Everyone felt really safe, and everyone was very excited to get the knowledge offered, as well as the opportunity to interact with others. It had been a long five or six months of missing these opportunities.”

“It had been a long five or six months of missing these opportunities.”

Liao said the seminar naturally followed the AO CMF basic management of facial trauma course conducted in Taiwan in 2019.

“This year, I thought we needed more advanced content. This kind of deformity is very difficult to treat if you don’t know the tips and tricks. These techniques are fundamental to craniofacial surgery,” he adds.

Providing that essential knowledge, in addition to Liao, were international faculty member Maarten Koudstaal Erasmus (University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands) and regional faculty Yasushi Sugawara (Lilla Craniofacial Clinic, Tokyo Japan), and Xu-Dong Wang (the Ninth People’s Hospital, Shanghai China). International faculty and regional faculty joined the event online via videoconferencing, and Taiwanese faculty joined on-site.

“In the rest of the world, the pandemic is still developing, so we have to find other means of offering educational events, but in Taiwan we have proven that when the situation is under control we can offer safe, on-site education by using technology to bring regional and international faculty to the event,” Liao says. “Our main takeaways from this event is that on-site events must have safety controls in place. In our case, participants were able to take new knowledge of posttraumatic secondary deformity and craniostenosis back to their practices and, hopefully, achieve better outcomes for their patients.”

 

The next on-site, face-to-face AO CMF event in Asia Pacific is the AO CMF Focused Course—Principles in Osteotomy taking place October 3-4 in Japan


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