An IMU Lecturer for its medical programme, Gandhi Nathan Solayar, was selected as one of three surgeons in the Asia-Pacific region for the prestigious American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) fellowship (June-July 2018) held only once every two years. The last time a Malaysian was selected for this fellowship was about 8 years ago. This is an extremely prestigious honour and the recipients of this fellowship are inducted into the Magellan Society (reserved only for those surgeons who have been through a travelling fellowship and to meet and observe world renowned sports surgeons perform operations and socialise).
According to Gandhi, it is competitive to apply for this fellowship as a large number of young orthopaedic surgeons (below age 45) from around the Asia-Pacific region sending in applications to the APKASS (Asia-Pacific Knee, Arthroscopy and Sports Surgery society) once every two years. Recipients are selected based on their achievements on their curriculum vitae and references and are sent to tour North America as representatives of the Asia Pacific Knee, Arthroscopy and Sports Medicine Society (APKASS).
For Gandhi, it provided him with the opportunity to visit hospitals and universities such as John’s Hopkins, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) New York, University of Pittsburgh, Washington University, UCLA and Iowa University. The fellowship included many sessions in the operating theatre as well as tours of the various facilities for sports medicine. At each city, the fellows were shown the various research undertakings and cutting edge laboratories which rank of among the best in the world. Gandhi was also honoured by speaking at each of these prestigious institutions; highlighting his own orthopaedic research undertaken at IMU and Hospital Tuanku Ja’afar which was well received by the many leaders in the sports surgery field. Apart from the academic side of things, the fellows were able to socialise and given many networking opportunities. Among the highlights of the fellowship included a visit to the LA Lakers (Los Angeles), an on-Broadway show in New York, dinner at the Duquesne Club (Pittsburgh), an exclusive tour of the White House (with fellow sports surgeons from the Walter Reid National Military Hospital, Washington D.C.), Orioles baseball game in Baltimore, speedboating in Iowa and the fourth of July fireworks display in St Loius. At the end of the tour, Gandhi attended the AOSSM annual congress in San Diego and was inducted into the Magellan Society. He was among those honoured during the congress reception dinner and again at a dinner on board the aircraft carrier USS Missouri, docked in San Diego. They were also invited to the separate meetings hosted by surgeons from Kerlan-Jobe (LA), Hospital for Special Surgery and the University of Pittsburgh during the event. As a token of appreciation, Mr Gandhi was also invited as a reviewer for the prestigious American Journal of Sports Medicine (AJSM) by the editor-in-chief, Dr Bruce Reider.
Overall, Gandhi says “It was a chance of a lifetime. I never thought to be the one considered for this and I’m glad it worked out. For four weeks, we were treated like rock-stars, being wined and dined from coast to coast. The surgeons appreciated the work and results I presented from my research back in Malaysia and they have given me a few pointers on how to improve.”
“One main thing I take back is the superb funding that these institutions have for developing and maintaining their research and laboratories. I believe, with proper funding and leadership, Malaysia to will be able to put our foot down as main players in developing Orthopaedic technologies and improving outcome-based evidence. Overall, I was thrilled to have been chosen and will cherish the memories and friendship of those I have met there.” Related article: Guiding Young Doctors, Surgeons Read more about Gandhi’s journey towards becoming a surgeon and his passion in teaching at A Surgeon with a Passion to Teach.