Dawn of a new era

AOCMF Lighthouse courses represent a transformation in continued surgical education

04 August 2019

AOCMF Lighthouse courses

As AOCMF prepares to launch its new Lighthouse course concept in September with an intensive, two-day course in Madrid, Spain, the course chair and director say participants will be part of a transformative event in AOCMF history.

The Lighthouse course concept, one year and a half in the making and the successor to AOCMF’s existing wet lab courses, ushers in a new era in continued surgical education. The concept—to be inaugurated with the September 10–11, 2019 course on Reconstructive Surgery in the Head and Neck with Flap Harvesting and Patient-Specific Implants in Madrid—brings together three key components: a standardized approach to a competency-based curriculum; carefully selected, easily accessible, premier lab sites; and affordable access to tailored content delivered by renowned AOCMF faculty.

Dr Ignacio “Nacho” Ismael Garcia Recuero, chair of the Madrid course and a familiar AOCMF face, knows from personal experience how AO education can open a surgeon’s eyes and pave the way to improved patient care.

Eye-opening educational opportunity

“I attended my first AO course around 2002 or 2003, the beginning of the 21st century, and the course opened my eyes to new materials and new plates, for example. It changed my way of thinking, and transformed my daily practice,” Recuero said. “The Lighthouse courses will give participants affordable access to the best professors delivering education on highly relevant topics at better venues and with better resources—including labs—all in one place, at one time.”

Just as Recuero’s first AO course was a milestone in his development as a surgeon, he expects the Lighthouse courses to be a beacon for a new generation of craniomaxillofacial surgeons.

“Designed for residents and surgeons in their early career, these courses will be a real source of knowledge, practice, and inspiration,” he said. 

“The Lighthouse courses will give participants affordable access to the best professors delivering education on highly relevant topics at better venues and with better resources—including labs—all in one place, at one time.”

A dynamic learning experience

Prof Max Heiland, course director for the event in Madrid, has taught more than 20 AOCMF courses over the past ten-plus years, and he sees the Lighthouse concept as a turning point in how the clinical division delivers wet lab courses.

“Our curriculum is based on competencies and a platform for even further development, starting from this approach” Heiland explained. “By focusing on really attractive, easy-to-access locations and facilities for our wetlab courses, we can attract more participants while keeping our fixed costs manageable. This ensures that the courses, which are really crucial for residents and young surgeons, are cost-effective.”

Ideally, Heiland said, Lighthouse course participants should be experienced residents or young surgeons who are prepared to immediately apply in their clinical practices the knowledge gained in the course. Beyond being a dynamic learning experience—with just one lecture and an intense focus on practical exercises on human anatomical specimens—the courses represent opportunities for participants to talk one-on-one with renowned faculty, build their professional networks, and learn about adjacent professional opportunities.

“Coffee breaks and the evening get together during the course are fertile networking time,” Heiland said. “I personally use this face-to-face time to talk with participants about AOCMF fellowships and motivate them to visit other places in the AOCMF network to get a look at other techniques.”

Dr Ignacio “Nacho” Ismael Garcia Recuero has been a senior physician in the 12 de Octubre University Hospital (Madrid, Spain) Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and the Craniofacial Surgery Unit since 2003. A respected and expert craniomaxillofacial (CMF) surgeon, he has demonstrated his commitment to education by giving more than 100 presentations at national and international events, and he has authored 20 chapters on CMF surgery topics.
He has been a member of AOCMF international faculty since 2008 and currently is serving a three-year term on of the AOCMF Europe and Southern Africa Board

Prof Max Heiland, MD, DDS, has been Head of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Charité Universitätsmedzin in Berlin, Germany, since 2017. Specializing in oral and maxillofacial surgery and dental implantology and with a subspecialization in plastic surgery, Heiland is a much-respected surgeon and professor. He currently is an elected member of the board of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Mund-, Kiefer- und Gesichtschirurgie (DGMKG), the German society for craniomaxillofacial surgery.
Since 2015, he has represented Germany as a member of the AOCMF Europe and Southern Africa Board.

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