Surgical Careers Lectures


Medical Training in the USA: What Would I Have Liked to Know?

With a more globalised world each day, there is an increasing number of students who start considering the opportunities to continue their medical training abroad. One of the most appealing destinies are the United States of America, not only because of its excellent investigation opportunities, but also for its great labor conditions.

We have recently organised a conference with Dr. Inés Villarroya, who was a former medical student in Pompeu Fabra University between 2010 and 2017. She also carried investigation duties in McGill University (Montreal), as well as an Erasmus program in Tübingen (Germany) in 2015. Soon after finishing her medical degree in Spain, she went to speacialize to the United States of America.

Dr. Villarroya has therefore explained our students how did she manage to study for the USMLE exams and how to apply for a residency program in America. The session has been really appelaing as she explained in a simple and step-based way all the process from graduation to admision in a hospital.

After her amazing talk, more than twenty questions from the students were answered as well as some advice given by Dr. Villarroya. We are really thankful for her participation and wish her the best in her new life stage. 

You can see the whole talk in the attached link. The session was conducted in spanish, but automatic english subtitles can be activated. 

INGLES ines .jpg


24th 2019

Gimbernat Surgical Association Alumni.

Former "Gimbernat Surgical Association" members now undergoing a surgical residency

The first term started with the conference: “AQG Alumni”. It was given by three graduate doctors of the Pompeu Fabra University and former members of our association.  The three residents were Manel Fa, who is doing traumatology and orthopedics at Hospital Sant Pau, Carlos Ruiz, who is doing his vascular surgery residency at Hospital del Mar and Celia Miñón, who is doing plastic surgery.


They shared with us their experiences in the corresponding specialisation and the hesitations they had to choose the speciality. Moreover, they encouraged us to work hard and persevere despite some small setbacks. The event was ended with a round of questions. It was a great success! We’ll sure repeat this event next year! 

6th 2019

Women and Medicine: a vision from different perspectives

On the 6th of March we had the pleasure to welcome Olga Pané, Edurne Arriola, Belén Lloveras, Sílvia Salvans and Sílvia Pérez, all of them doctors at Hospital del Mar. It was an outstanding colloquim around the role of women in Medicine and Surgery and about the difficulties they have encountered. 


We have been able to listen to reflections about their professional journeys and if they have encountered sexist environments, where they received different treatment or expected a different attitude to gender, as well as if they use some strategy to handle these situations.


Likewise, the reconciliation of family life as mothers with professional life has been discussed. Dr. Arriola has emphasized that it has been a whole learning process, an apprenticeship to be more efficient in her work in order to be able to reconcile everything.


They have also explained what their vision is about the generational change that is taking place, stressing that now the effect is beginning to be seen.


We are proud of the outcome of this colloquium and the response to it. It encourages us to continue organizing this type of activities! Finally, we want to thank Aemmar for their work together. All this highlights that with illusion and good ideas you can do things as beautiful.


And to finish, a sentence from Dr. Pané: "What is not measured, does not exist. If we want things to change, we have to write and publish".

Global Surgery


16th 2019

On the 16th of January we had the pleasure to welcome Dr. Carmelo Loinaz, general surgeon of Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid and coordinator of the AEC's humanitarian collaboration committee. He began by giving us figures on the situation of health care in low and middle income countries, as well as measures that are being carried out to try to reduce avoidable deaths and the importance of surgery in this regard. He explained the concept of Global Surgery and also spoke about the integration of cooperation medicine in the training of doctors and in university education.


It was undoubtedly a good way to begin to know the world of cooperation and surgery.




Summer Clerkships: three different experiences

On the 9th of October, three members of the AQG, Ester Puig, Núria Grimalt and Inés Martínez, shared with us their experiences abroad. Ester Puig did two clerkships last summer, one at Guy’s Hospital in London in the department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck surgery with Mr Ricard Simo, and another one at St James Hospital in Dublin, in the Upper Gastrointestinal Surgical Department under the supervision of Professor John Reynolds. Also with John Reynods, Núria Grimalt spent three months at his department. On the other hand, also in Dublin but in the Connolly Hospital, Inés Martinez spent three months with Professor Thomas N. Walsh,  an excellent surgeon specialized in Upper GI surgery. All of them told us that it was an amazing experience and encouraged the students to go abroad with the AQG. They also agreed on the importance of living in a different country in order to know other cultures and different ways of working.

If you want to know more about their experiences 


20th 2018

Pediatric surgery as a speciality

On the 20th of February we had the pleasure to welcome Dr. Xavier Tarrado, who gave a speech on Pediatric surgery as a speciality. Pediatric Surgery is the only specialty that is defined by the patient’s age rather than by a specific condition. He explained in what consist the speciality and their main career opportunities. We also were able to supervise the diagnostic, operative, and postoperative surgical care of patients from prenatal diagnosis through adolescence, as well as the most typical developmental, inflammatory, neoplastic, or traumatic diseases. 

We don't rotate in pediatric surgery in out medicine studies so it was an unknown speciality for all of us. However, It was a complete success, we were more than 120 students! We would like to thank Dr. Tarrado for his speech and for his ability to motivate the student. 


21st 2017

EuroSurg collaborative - The European Student Research Network

The last 21st of novembre we had the pleasure to welcome Ruth Blanco, graduated in medicine  for UAB, committe membre management group eurosurg and our contact with the EuroSurg study. She explained us her experience as a member of Eurosurg group and motivated us to take part of it, pointing out the advantages of being involved in research as medical students.  

The EuroSurg collaborative is an international research group led by students and surgical trainees. It was founded at the European Society of Coloproctology (ESCP) meeting in 2015 and has evolved quickly with active members in over 10 European and International countries. Its main purpose is to achieve  significant multicenter studies in several countries around the world.

We would like to thank everyone that has made possible this conference, especially Ruth Blanco and Dr. Miguel Pera, who also said a few words a bouts his experience as a project supervisor.




Summer Clerkships: three different experiences

On the 17th of October we had the pleasure to hear the experiences of Marta Contreras, Sergio Sans and Manel Fa in different internationally recognized surgical departments of UK and Ireland. Marta Contreras explained how grateful she was for the amazing opportunity that represents sharing three months with the reknown surgeon Thomas N. Walsh in Dublin. Also in Dublin, Manel Fa spent three moths  with John Reynolds and his team in St. James’s Hospital,one of the largest university teaching hospitals in Ireland in association with Trinity College, an experience he highly recommends. Finally, Sergio Sans explained his stay in Guildford, where he spent a month with Dr. Shaun Preston,one of the most skilled surgeons in laparoscopic surgeries. The three of them told us that they felt like one more in the team and agreed in the importance of going abroad and getting to know other cultures and different ways of working. 

If you want to know more about their experiences 




Knowing the past to predict the future: a journey throughout the cardiovascular surgery 

Professor José Luis Pomar, cardiovascular surgeon and IDIBAPS researcher, gave a conference in which we learnt about his life as academic cardiac surgeon and the beginning of modern cardiac surgery in Barcelona. 


All along the conference we had the opportunity to be driven through his life and vital experiences in the field of cardiovascular surgery. He became a doctor in the University of Navarra and since that moment, he completed his training in different hospitals such as the Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla (Santander) and the Montreal Heart Institute in Canada. Back in Spain, he started working in the recently created cardiac surgery unit at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona.  To illustrate his major achievement, the Professor Pomar displayed a video on the first heart transplantation performed in the Hospital Clinic. All the students learnt from his experiences and had a great time.





Former "Gimbernat Surgical Association" members now undergoing a surgical residency 


The second term ended with the conference: “From the Gimbernat Surgical Association to a training as surgeons”. It was the first talk of the AQG given by four graduate doctors of the Pompeu Fabra University and former members of our association.  The four residents were Maria Munarriz who is doing urology in Hospital del Mar, Carlos Ruiz, vascular surgery in Hospital del Mar, Oriol Pino, general surgery in Parc Taulí and Sergio Loscos, orthopedics in El Sagrat Cor Hospital.


They shared with us their experiences in the corresponding specialisation and the hesitations they had to choose the speciality. Moreover they encouraged us to work hard and persevere despite some small setbacks. The event was ended with a round of questions. It was a great success! We’ll sure repeat this event next year! 




Summer Clerkships: four different experiences


The Gimbernat Surgical Association had the pleasure to organize a special session where four members of our association had the opportunity describe their experiences as clerkships or ERASMUS in internationally recognized durgical departments of UK and Ireland. Marina Garcia explained her three months experience combining research and clinical work at Queen's Medical Research Institute in Edinburgh, Ana Segarra described her clinical experience at St. Jame's University Hospital in Dublin under the supervision of Professor John Reynolds, Ana Fernández shared her experiences at Conolly Hospital in Dublin under the mentorship of Professor Tom Walsh, and María M. Soriano told us about amazing stay at the Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospital in London. 

If you want to know more about their experiences 




USMLE exam: An indispensable step to do a residency or a fellowship in the US. Why, when and how.


Last wednesday we had the pleasure to invite Dr. Dimitri Dorcaratto, an italian surgeon related in many ways to our country. He studied medicine in the University of Milan, choosing Valencia for his Erasmus. Later, he specialized in gastrointestinal surgery in “Hospital del Mar” in Barcelona.

Afterwards, he decided to carry out the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) in order to do a fellowship in the United States. Although he passed the exam, he was chosen for a fellowship in Dublin and he decided to remain in Europe. Nowadays, he is working as a surgeon in “Hospital d’Elx”. Dr. Dorcaratto explained us how to perform the USMLE, a necessary exam if you want to work or study as a doctor in the United States. He guided us in where, when and how to do it in order to succeed. The conference was very motivating, reminding us the importance of going abroad, not just because of the experience but also because it allows you to learn different ways of working. Dr. Dorcaratto is a great example of hard working and perseverance in our profession.


To obtain the PDF of Dr. Dimitri Dorcaratto's presentation, click on the following link: 





Oral and maxillofacial surgery conference 


March began with one of the most expected conferences of the year, a conference about an almost forgotten medical speciality: oral and maxillofacial surgery.


We had the pleausure to invite Dr. Carles Martí, a renowned doctor in his work in different clinics of Barcelona.

He guided us through not only the most basic and common surgeries practiced in this field, which mostly are wisdom teeth extraction, but also through the complex part of how to make serious facial and oral transformations (and how the advance of technology has improved technical skills). We’ve seen some of his works of art, which allow us to conclude that oral and maxillofacial surgery actually is an art, that improves the quality of life in patients who have suffered severe traumas, or even birth defects. 





Vascular Surgery in the XXI century: A profound technological evolution 


The second conference of the trimester took place on November 3rd and counted with the presence of an important guest, Dr. Vicente Riambau, head of Vascular Surgery in Hospital Clinic. He explained the importance of vascular surgery and his strong evolution during the past years.

We were able to have a clearer idea of what this surgical specialization is exactly, how to specialize in it or which important attitudes and skills a surgeon needs. Vascular surgery evolved incredibly due to endovascular surgery. A vascular surgeon performs a large range of surgeries, such as: endovascular or open repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms, thoracic aortic aneurysms and thoracoabdominal aneurysms, open surgical reconstructions and balloon angioplasty and stenting in all vascular areas, carotid endarterectomy and carotid artery stenting, bypass surgery and endovascular therapy for peripheral artery disease and gangrene of the limbs, etc. As we can see it is a wide specialization, full of challenges, but the most relevant advice Dr. Riambau gave us was to try to be the best at our work in every moment of our career.




Summer Clerkships: five different experiences


The Gimbernat Surgical Association had the pleasure of, once more, giving a conference that allowed its attendants to get to know the experiences of five association members that had the opportunity of going abroad. This year, Víctor Ruiz explained his summer experience at Charles University in Prague, María Rodríguez told us all about Trinity College in Dublin, Celia Miñón y María Soriano shared their joined experience at the Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford and María Teresa Murcia told us about her stay at the Royal Marsden in London.  

If you want to know more about their experiences 


22nd 2015

Surgical training in the UK


Last Friday, May 22th 2015, AQG had the great honour of counting with the presence of Professor Michael Griffin, who gave a speech about the Surgical Training in United Kingdom.


Prof. Michael Griffin is a consultant surgeon and professor of gastrointestinal surgery at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary. He is an expert in his field, performing extremely complex upper gastrointestinal surgery. Not only did he provide the information in a simplest way, but also he made the conference really enjoyable and entertaining. 

The following diagram outlines the structure of the training program for physicians in UK: 

Starting from the beginning, when Medical students finish their degree they enter in the Foundation training programme, which is going to go on for two years. During this period of time, trainees are going to be exposed to a range of competencies across a great spectrum of specialities. After that, doctors take the MRCP (UK) Examination (Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom examination) which evaluates general clinical and non-clinical competencies aquired during the foundation years. Moreover, the doctors have to pass the WPBA (Workplace-based assessment, which consists on different practical situations that they have to solve). 


The next step is the Core Medical Training (CMT) which also lasts two years. The aim of CMT is to acquire generic competencies named as General Internal Medicine and forms the first stage of specialty training in physicianly specialties.       

The third step is passing the Specialty Certification Examination to be able to start the Specialty training. Specialty training programmes vary in length and are tailored to the needs of the specialty. Upon successful completion of CMT, trainees will be able to access a huge range of possible CCTs (Certificates of Completion of Training), which will allow them to be eligible for entry onto the General Practitioner or consultant register.

To come to an end of this summarise about the English Medical Training that Professor Griffin gave us, we would like to express our gratitude to Dr. Manuel Pera who did his bit to make this conference possible.





A personal view of my future after completing my surgical training


Our association’s third conference was included in the Cicle of Surgical Career Lectures and was delivered by Dr. Silvia Salvans, who explained us the path she followed from the end of her medical career to becoming a consultant. The conference began with an introduction about the different subjects that General Surgery integrates and the necessary qualities and abilities to become a good doctor. Dr. Salvans specially insisted in the necessity of a formation in basic, experimental y clinical investigation. 


The doctor started her residency in Hospital del Mar in 2006 and finished it in 2008. In between this period of time she had the opportunity of going abroad to the Hepatic Transplant Unit of the King’s College Hospital in London. She went there as an observer but she was able to help the unit anyway and to even participate in a published article. During her residency the doctor tried her best to complete her formation in investigation by attending courses and congresses. After finishing her residency she decided to focus in investigation from 2011 to 2013. To be able to suffice for herself she worked and got several scholarships during that time. Between 2013 and 2014 she went back to the United Kingdom to become a fellow in Colorectal Surgery in Oxford. She finally came back to Spain in may 2014 to focus on her PhD and present it in december of that same year. In the present time she is a General Surgery consultant in Hospital del Mar and a published author in several referenced magazines. 

Dr. Silvia Salvans is a clear example of what effort and hard work can accomplish and of the importance of a good formation in investigation. Of this amazing and long path the doctor highlights not only the several aspects of her formation in medicine but also the experience, relationships and friendships established during that time.  




Neurosurgery's past, present and future


The second conference of this year was led by Dr. Conesa, Head of the Department of Neurosurgery in Hospital del Mar, Barcelona. He explained us his experiences through time and told us about the changes and developments of this medical specialty. His speech began in the past, with an introduction about the early imaging techniques and ended with the newest advances, the most recent changes and his perspectives for the near future.

Thus, the speaker showed us the first neurological imaging tests and how they slowly gained their importance and became fundamental tools in planning surgical interventions. Moving forward through time, Dr. Conesa told us about another type of tests as vital as the ones mentioned previously but exclusive in neurosurgery: neurophysiology maps. The ability to draw functional maps of the areas of motor and cognitive skills allowed a better understanding of tumours and decreased the harm deflected by surgery. Dr. Conesa proceeded talking about the present, mainly about the development of tools and devices used in microsurgery, in order to treat hydrocephalus and aneurysms. The speaker took us then to the future by talking about the newest advances that will allow further changes in neurosurgery. The most overwhelming examples were the possibility to operate sensitive intracranial lesions with radio frequencies, avoiding this way an invasive surgical intervention; and the recent progresses made in the area of micro electrodes in brain tissue. Micro electrode’s implantation already gave some patients the capacity of moving mechanical arms trough an electronical interface and its importance will most certainly keep increasing in the near future.




Summer Clerkships: three different experiences


The Gimbernat Surgical Association had the pleasure of inaugurating the academic year 2014-2015 with a conference that allowed its attendants to get to know the experiences of three association members that had the opportunity of going abroad. Two of the medical students, Irene Giménez and Nerea Sevilla, shared their summer clerkship experience, whilst the third student, Carlos Ruiz told us his Erasmus Practicum experience. 

Irene Giménez spent her summer clerkship at the Surrey Hospital in Guildford, Nerea Sevilla was the first medical student to go to the Imperial College in London and Carlos Ruiz spent three months at the Trinity College in Dublin. All three students explained how they spent their days during the stay, including their hospital schedules and their free time activities. The audience also had the opportunity of learning interesting facts about medicine and to have an idea of how is the everyday life of a doctor in the England and in Ireland.  

By sharing their experiences abroad these three students transmited how enriching those experiences where and inspired the audience to follow their paths in the future. 




Surgery inside a third world humanitarian organization: A personal experience


In january 27th, the association had the honor to bring Dr. Mario Ubach to our faculty to talk about his personal medical experience in third world countries. The conference was mainly about the doctor's experience in surgery inside an humanitarian organization localized in Chad, a country in Central Africa, and about the country's health sistem.

Dr. Mario Ubach is a surgeon and the president of a nonprofit organization called Mission and Development for Goundi, founded in 2003. The work of this organization is of great importance since it developed very special and life changing projects such has the creation of a hospital and the formation in health care of several young students in Chad. It's also impressive the work this surgeon was able to develop in the poor conditions of a third world country. The differences between the work conditions in Spain and Chad are very accentuated, specially in matters of type of surgical interventions, context, culture or the surgeon's roll. In such contexts, experience is much more important than medical specialization since it's common to encounter a wide range of health problems. During the conference, the doctor shared some photographs that describe the daily reality of a country in such a complex situation. 


Also, the book "Goundi, different vacations" was available to anyone who might want to adquire it. The book was written by Isabel Rodríguez Villa, a nurse, photographer and Dr. Ubach's wife and it describes the adventures she experienced in Chad.


Dr. Ubach's enriching words awaked an interest for the world of health in third world countries in many of the event's participants. 


8th 2013

Surgery performed by women: two stimulating experiences

The first conference of the new academic year was protagonized by two female doctors with a known international trajectory: Dr. Joana Ferrer, surgeon in the hepatobiliopancreatic unit of Clínic Hospital in Barcelona and Dr. Esther Kreisler, surgeon in the colorectal unit of Bellvitge Hospital in Barcelona. 

The aim of the conference is to draw female students to the possibility of choosing surgery as a medical speciality in the future. Both doctors shared some of the keys to obtain the necessary and wanted experience in both professional and personal contexts. 




USMLE exam, an essencial step to work in the USA 


Dr. Dimitri Dorcaratto, a specialist in general and gastroenterological surgery inaugurated the events of 2013 by telling us his experience with the USMLE exam (United States Medical Licensing Examination). The doctor explained what the USMLE exam exactly is and how it is divided  in  three  different  exams:  one  theoretical  exam  about the basic sciences, another one. 

about clinical and surgical knowledge and a practical exam to evaluate diagnostic skills, empathy, education and the capacity of dealing with complex and difficult situations. The theoretical exams can be taken in Barcelona, but the practical one has to be in the USA, specifically in one of the five hospitals that are allowed to perform it. Also, the students may choose to take the exams before finishing the bachelor's degree in Medicine. The cost of taking the three exams is around 3000 dolars without including the trip or the stay in the USA. 




To complete a specialized surgical formation in USA's excellence centers: an enriching personal adventure  


Dr. Miguel Pera, head of the Colorectal Surgery Unit of Hospital del Mar and Dr. Constantino Fondevila, specialist in the Hepatobiliary Surgery and Transplant Unit of Clínic Hospital in Barcelona shared their experiences with the conference's attentive audience. 

Both doctors explained their personal experiences shortly after a presentation performed by the association president, Sergio Loscos and the association honorary president, Professor Manuel Pera. Afterwards, the audience had the opportunity of asking the doctors information about how to complete medicine studies abroad: available options, application forms, access, and so on.