ISTH International Course in Epidemiology Applied to the Study of Thrombosis and Haemostasis

Belgrade, April 13-17, 2015

 

ORGANIZATION

ISTH International Course in Epidemiology Applied to the Study of Thrombosis and Haemostasis was held in Belgrade, April 13-17, 2015.

The course was organized by the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis in collaboration with the Serbian Society of Haemostasis and Thrombosis.

Chairs of the course: Danijela Mikovic, Suzanne Cannegieter.

Official language of the meeting was English.

The meeting venue: Best Western Hotel M (Address: Bulevar oslobodjenja 56a, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia, Web: www.hotel-m.com). Different categories of accommodation were available. Special rates had been provided for the meeting participants.

 

AIMS

1. To create program that is specifically focused on the knowledge advancement in the field of methodology in clinical research, epidemiology and statistics applied to the study of thrombosis and haemostasis.

2. To design the program that will contribute to the promotion of scientific research over the five-day course including intensive training based on lectures and exercises related to each lecture topic which enabled participants to discuss, apply and interpret basic concepts in epidemiology. 

3. To organize Course which would involve around 30 elected young participants, most of them from Serbia.

4. To provide industry support without symposia and exhibition and also without influence on program and choice of participants.

 

PROGRAMME

Programme was consisted of presentation starting from the basic concepts of statistics and epidemiology, through more complex terms, to the final part of the course when is shown on practical example how to create a study. An important goal of the Course was to learn and exercise some of the techniques in a practical sense. Emphasis was placed on study design and analysis, with the latter specifically aimed at obtaining the best, unconfounded, estimate of effect.

Presentations:

1. Incidence Measures

2. Risk Measures

3. Study design (with exercises)

4. Kaplan-Meier analysis (with exercises)

5. Person-years (with exercises)

6. Bias

7. Confounding

8. Standardization

9. Mantel-Haenszel analysis

10. Statistics and confidence intervals

11. Recapitulation

12. Sample size

13. Case-control examples

14. Meta-analysis

15. Matching and exercise matching

16. Regression analysis (with exercises)

17. Logistic regression (with exercises)

18. Interaction

19. Prognostic studies

20. Interpretation of results and research questions

Within the course there were lectures given by invited speakers, followed by free discussions. Lectures were presented by distinguished speakers from Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC): 

  • Frits R. Rosendaal
  • Suzanne C. Cannegieter 
  • Willem M. Lijfering

Master classes were also a part of the course. Four research studies were presented by participants and afterward discussed with invited speakers. Time provided for each presentation including discussion was 15minutes. The participants who presented research studies were: Jelena Lazic, University Children's Hospital, Belgrade, Serbia;  Branko Tomic, Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering, Belgrade, Serbia; Juraj Sokol, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, Martin, Slovakia and Anton Ilich, First Moscow State Medical University n.a. I.M. Sechenov, Moscow, Russia.

Participation at the ISTH International Course in Epidemiology Applied to the Study of  Thrombosis and Haemostasis has been accredited by the decree issued by the Health Council of the Republic of Serbia (А-1-122/15: 14 credit points for speakers and 7 credit points for participants).

Social program consisted of:

  • Welcome Reception
  • Sightseeing
  • Gala Dinner

PARTICIPANTS

Total of 30 participants took part at the ISTH International Course in Epidemiology applied to the study of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Belgrade 2015.

Participants were medical professionals from: Serbia - 24, Russia – 3, Slovakia -1, Hungary - 1, Croatia - 1.

Participants’ age range distribution was the following: 22-29 yrs (9 participants), 30-39 yrs (17 participants), 40-49 (4 participants).

Among participants there were trainees and junior specialists in: Internal Medicine - 8, Internal Medicine Haematology - 4, Internal Medicine Cardiology – 1, Pediatrics – 2, Transfusion Medicine - 5,   Biochemistry – 4, Molecular Biology – 1, General practitioner - 5. 

 

DESCRIPTION OF THE ORGANISATIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Organization of the ISTH in Epidemiology Applied to the Study of Thrombosis and Haemostasis in Belgrade was initiated by Dr. Danijela Mikovic, president of the Serbian Society of Haemostasis and Thrombosis. The course is result of previous successful collaboration between ISTH and Serbian Society of Haemostasis and Thrombosis. Namely, dr. Danijela Mikovic organized ISTH Educational Course in Belgrade in 2012 with the support and collaboration of prof. Flora Peyvandi and prof. Frits Rosendaal. 

After that meeting dr. Biljana Vuckovic, vicepresident of the Serbian Society, received ISTH fellowship award and she spent three months training (May – Aug 2013) at the Leiden University Medical Centre under the supervision of prof. Frits Rosendaal. During this education, besides other activities of great importance for her future scientific and professional work, she made numerous professional contacts. She discussed initial idea about organizing ISTH educational course in clinical epidemiology with colleagues from the Leiden University Medical Center in order to provide benefits to the wider scientific community in Serbia.

After that, with the support of Mr. Cary Clark, Program and Technology Manager of the ISTH, and Lacey Schneider, Program Coordinator of the ISTH, official contact through ISTH with invited speakers was made, their participation was confirmed and presentation topics were defined by colleagues from Leiden University Medical Centre. Besides, date and place of the ISTH course, target audience and age of participant, structure and draft version the program as well as budgeting principles were established.

Application to the ISTH Education Committee was submitted and our proposal together with preliminary program and budget were approved in November 2014.

The following organizational step was to find and delegate participants who are trainees and junior specialists in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Haematology, Transfusion Medicine, Vascular Medicine, Biochemistry and other medical specialties engaged in  problems of thrombosis and haemostasis and PhDs wishing to acquire biochemical and clinical knowledge in the field of haemorrhagic and thrombotic disorders. In Serbia, selection of participants was made through personal communication with the most relevant institutions, officials and colleagues involved in the field of haemostasis and thrombosis by dr. Danijela Mikovic and dr. Biljana Vuckovic. Contacts with colleagues within the region of South East and Central Europe and colleagues from Russia where achieved thanks to previous cooperation within Danubian League against Thrombosis and Haemostasis. 

CME accreditation was obtained by official Serbian authorities. Accreditation process required submission of necessary documents:

  • Filled in CME accreditation application, signed and sealed by the CE organizer
  • Summary of the education programme 
  • Timetable, topics and list of lecturers 
  • Detailed lecturers’ CVs in the official form provided by the Serbian Health Council
  • Decision made by Education Committee of the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostas that the Application for the ISTH-supported course has been approved 
  • Intelectual property certificate.

ISTH Advanced Course in Haemostasis and Thrombosis has been accredited by the decree issued by the Health Council of the Republic of Serbia (А-1-122/15).

The meeting was announced by personal communication, electronic mailing information and through the official website of the meeting at the website of the Serbian Society of Haemostasis and Thrombosis (www.uhts.or.rs).  Meeting website consisted of following sections: About Meeting, Programme, CME Accreditation, Grants, Social Events Registration, Accommodation, Online Registration/Accommodation, General Information, Sponsoring, About Belgrade and Contact. It enabled on-line registration and continuous communication with participants via official webmail. The website communication was efficient at all times and it enabled continuous and timely follow up of registration process. All participants’ requests and questions were dealt with promptly.

 

PRINTED AND EDUCATIONAL MATERIAL 

As a part of meeting organization the following items were printed:

- Official posters of the meeting

- Poster with the list of sponsors

- Branded printed material for the meeting venue

- Registration material (bags badges, notebooks, pencils)

- Certificates of attendance

- Evaluation questionnaires

- ISTH flyers 

Printed educational material for participants consisted of:

- Book with lectures and exercises.

- Handouts of lectures’ presentations that were distributed to all participants.

Book with lectures and exercises is huge document that cannot be send through email. It could be send by standard post if it is necessary. 

 

ANALYIS OF THE EVALUATION QUESTIONNAIRES

Detailed evaluation forms, consisted of sections related to participants characteristics (profession, age, country). Course organization and program were distributed to all participants. Twenty-two participants filled in the forms.

Over half of participants were informed about the meeting in direct communitarians and electronic mailing.

Overall average mark of the Course organization and program is 4,84.

Organization and program of the Course were highly rated from 4,59 for relevance of the Course for one’s work to 5,00 for the quality and up-to date level of the lectures, average 4,85.

All invited lectures were highly rated, with marks ranging from 4,63 to 4,95, average 4,83.

Master class session was ranked with marks from 4,03 to 4,38, average 4,24.

 

PERSONAL EVALUATION

According to guest speakers, as well as dr. Biljana Vuckovic who also actively participated in the organization of this Course, who expressed their impressions right after the meeting and my personal opinion we succeeded to achieve several goals we anticipated at the beginning.  

We achieved our main goal which was to gather together 30 young participants involved in haemostasis and thrombosis field, most f them from Serbia and several from the other countries of the region and from Russia.

On the other hand, I am grateful for having been enabled to engage highly distinguished invited speakers who presented exceptional and valuable lectures, who transferred their knowledge and experience to younger colleagues.  Many participants expressed their gratitude for having been able to attend this meeting which in their opinion was so far one of the best one they have ever attended.

This meeting was an excellent opportunity for several young doctors to present their research and at the same time they had an extraordinary opportunity to get precious comments and recommendations for their future work from invited speakers.

Each session was followed by constructive discussions which contributed to the overall atmosphere of the meeting which was at the same time highly professional and relaxed, and marked with close and spontaneous interaction between speakers and participants. Invited speakers were also active and inspiring moderators of discussions with participants during the entire course. It stimulated participants to freely communicate with the experts which encouraged very active exchange of opinions.

We succeed in providing industry support without symposia and exhibition and also without their influence on program and choice of participants.

One of the greatest achievements of the meeting is that a regional network of young professionals in haemostasis and thrombosis field has been strengthened. That liaison will certainly show its effects in future through collaboration, mutual projects etc.

As some of the main goals of Serbian Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis is to improve global knowledge in the field of haemostasis, and to promote the scientific research in this field we succeeded in our idea to provide education by this course that will be precious for professional development of young scientists in our country and thereby for improvement of the quality of health care services in it.

In the end, I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to all three speakers and especially to prof. Frits Rosendaal for his persistent support and valuable suggestions related to the organization of the previous and also this ISTH Course in Belgrade. I would also like to point out important role of Mr. Cary Clark, ISTH Program and Technology Manager and Lacey Schneider, Program Coordinator of the ISTH,  to thank them for selfless  assistance in the course of the meeting preparations. Last but not least, I would like to stress the support and help of my local Meeting Coordinators thanks to whose enthusiasm the meeting was, step by step, finalized and held as anticipated.

 

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