Read about Dr. Karen Lam’s recent onsite hands-on training experience in Seoul:
I started learning EUS a few years ago after completing a fellowship in gastroenterology and hepatology. While I had learned much from my seniors and colleagues, I struggled to find a structured EUS teaching program in Hong Kong. One day when I was searching online for EUS teaching videos, I came across the WEO webpage and learned about the WISE program. And I knew this was exactly what I had been looking for.
Around 90 endosonographers worldwide participated in the first online part of the WISE program, which consists of five modules. It is a comprehensive course covering everything from how to set up a EUS machine, basic EUS anatomy, and adjuncts, to EUS imaging, tissue acquisition, and EUS-guided drainage. We were also introduced to innovative endoscopic treatments such as radiofrequency ablation of pancreatic tumors. As well as lectures by prominent endosonographers, these modules featured interactive content, including video quizzes, case presentations and discussions, and live endoscopy demonstrations. We also had the opportunity to ask the experts for practical tips and to ask our own questions which was very helpful to my clinical practice.
But no program is complete without a hands-on component. This year’s WISE hands-on course was a joint training program for classes 2020 and 2021 due to the disruption caused by COVID. I was privileged to be selected as one of the nine endosonographers to take part in this intense and fruitful 9-day course in Seoul, Korea.
On the first two days, we had case presentations and hands-on sessions with porcine and phantom models at the beautiful site of the Olympus Korea Medical Training & Education Center close to Incheon airport. For the following five days we were privileged to join Professor Seo’s dedicated team at the world-renowned Asan Medical Center in Seoul. Being the largest medical institution in Korea with a total of 2732 beds, it has one of the busiest hepato-biliary-pancreatic units in the world with a caseload of more than 15000 endoscopic procedures per year. We started the day with clinical rounds in the inpatient wards and engaged in the team discussions on patient management and care plans. This was followed by procedure observation in the endoscopy unit. It was truly a mind-blowing experience to see in person how Professor Seo and his endoscopy team performed highly complex endoscopic procedures with exquisite technique and exceptional efficiency. The team could not have been more accommodating in teaching us and answering our questions (which were endless!). In the afternoon we had hands-on experience with swine and phantom models in the cutting-edge science laboratory annex to the Asan Medical Center. Despite Professor Seo’s busy schedule, he continued to teach us in person every day and showed us how to perform advanced interventional EUS procedures such as radiofrequency ablation, lumen-apposing metal stent (LAMS) placement, hepaticogastrostomy (HGS) and choledochoduodenostomy (CDS). In the evenings we ended the day with presentations and discussions on topics related to the hands-on sessions, where we exchanged ideas with the Asan experts; this was invaluable for my clinical practice.
WISE has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience because not only have I gained a lot of knowledge, I have earned nine lifelong friends (including Laura our super helpful secretary!). We made memories walking together to AMC on foot at –12 degrees in the dawn, we shared laughter when we tried (and failed) to ask the hospital staff for directions in Korean. I really look forward to the ENDO 2024 in Seoul where we shall meet again!
On behalf of our group, I would like to take this chance to express our sincere gratitude to Professor Seo and the faculty. Professor Seo is an inspirational teacher and a man of wisdom. We are humbled by his unparalleled vision in how to promote and develop EUS around the world. What we have gained in those nine days is going to change us for a lifetime. Thank you very much for having us, and we are honored to join the WISE family.
Dr. Karen Lam (Hong Kong)