Bursary Recipients

2022 Forum Bursary Recipient: Mariya Armova (Bulgaria)

My VdGM Experience
On 28th and 29th of January I attended the 7th VdGM Forum in Edinburgh. This was actually my first VdGM Forum so it was quite understandable why I felt a little nervous.

From the moment I registered all the feelings were completely different – I met a couple of colleagues, we started talking and before I knew it – I was more than excited. The program was full of different sessions, plenary talks and a lot of possibilities to communicate with the other VdGM members. The workshops were on various topics, so everyone could participate according to their interests. The ones I took part in – Domestic Violence and the invisible shadow pandemic during Covid-19, The telephone – friend or foe?, Abortion in primary care and couple of others were perfectly prepared, innovative, interactive and really useful for my future in primary care. The opportunity to create small groups and discuss all the above mentioned topics was a great way to learn about all the other countries and for me to tell the other VdGMs about the situation in Bulgaria.The plenary talks with Prof. Shlomo Vinker, Steve Mowle, Dr. Roger Neighbour, Dr. Raquel Gomes Bravo, Prof. Graham Watt and Prof. Amanda Howe were more than exciting. It was a great honour to listen to them.
Understandably, a great part of this year’s Forum was the Covid-19 pandemic. We had the opportunity to hear the expert opinion and learn from Dr. Roger Neighbour, who taught us how to deal with telephone consultations properly. I believe that is one of the topics, which concerns all of us worldwide and is quite significant in the current situation.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of you, who made the 7th Forum not only possible, but also in person. I went back home with wonderful memories, motivation to continue working in these difficult times and a little smarter than I was before :). These two days have been absolutely amazing, not only because of the scientific program, but also because it was a great experience seeing you all for a first time (not from the couch with my camera on). I can honestly say that I’m proud of being able to participate in the 7th VdGM Forum and be part of the VdGM Family.

2022 Forum Bursary Recipient: Maria János Szidónia (Romania)
I am deeply impressed and truly grateful for being chosen as one of the VdGM bursary recipients for Forum in Edinburgh.

It seems so unbelievable – even if quite a few days have already passed since the event – that despite of the uncertainty of pandemic times I had the opportunity to attend
the VdGM Forum in Edinburgh 2022. As one of the greatest highlights of the Forum besides of its high standard and challenging scientific content I would mention the cultural diversity of its delegates, it really brought me
back to times when I was being an exchange student in Germany. And now, several years after with full strength and inspiration as a GP in my first 5 years of practice I could meet new colleagues, socialize and dream about collaboration and working on some exciting projects such as our study based on the workshop called “Everyone talks competencies – but what does that actually mean for our training?” held by two great colleagues in Edinburgh, which results we aim to present at WONCA Europe 2022 in London. Obviously, this very first time of attending a VdGM event offers me a lot of opportunity and motivation not only to be a good physician in my
own country but also to build a functional and effective network of collaboration with young family doctors across the continent. Furthermore, keynotes as reactive vs. preventive medicine, relational vs. transactional GP, planetary health-psychological and physiological benefits of green spaces have been just a few of the boundary pushing topics of the conference.
At last but not at least I would like to thank you for your hospitality and very warm welcome to Forum in Edinburgh. Social programmes such as Friday’s welcome reception at the Royal College of Surgeons, where I also had the opportunity to visit the Surgeons’ Hall Pathology Museum’s fascinating exhibition or Saturday’s Gala Dinner with scottish ceilidh dancing, where
I had the honor to dance with Prof. Amanda Howe are well worth mentioning. And Scotland’s romantic beauty – which I was able to discover during a day tour into the Highlands, where meeting up Nessi, the Loch Ness Monster and Hamish, the Hairy Coo – has burned unforgettable
memories into my heart.

Kind regards,
Dr Szidonia Janos
Cluj-Napoca, Romania

2020 Bursary Recipient Piotr Kudłacz, Poland
COVID-19 pandemic- this is the reason we couldn’t meet this year in Berlin for the WONCA Conference. Hard-working Host Organizing Committee – this is the reason the Conference happened virtually.

Thanks to them, their commitement and work in times when all the healthcare workers are overwhelmed, we could all meet together again. Thanks to VdGM bursary I could be there too. I listened to plenty of interesting lectures, I participated in workshops (and in one case as a co-host) and I discussed about presented posters. Some of these virtual meetings made me feel strenghten and more secure – again as a family doctors we were together and could support each other to face our daily challenges in these weird times. Ways of tackling problems in different countries can be very creative and this can give bigger perspective to the way we work. I was collecting inspiring stories and I believe at least some of them I will manage to implement in place where I work. The other advantage of having the Conference virtual is that I can come back to interesting recording and look at these I couldn’t watch during the Conference days. To say nothing about the fact that you can stay during the conference in your pyjama (unless camera needs to be on:)
Exchanging experiences, thoughts, ideas and solutions as well as emotions is the way to normalize the situation in which all of us – healthcare workers – happen to be. Situation that requires being together and staying strong. This meeting, despite its virtual form, provided me with these needed resources, more than I expected.

2020 Bursary Recipient Gintarė Trepėnaitytė, Lithuania
Let me start off by saying how much I wish I’d had the opportunity to participate in a live version of WONCA Europe conference and (especially) the Vasco da Gama pre-conference.

I sincerely hope I will still get to do it in the future. In the meantime, I would like to thank the Vasco da Gama movement for the chance to get a glimpse of what this experience would be like – and even though an online version is far from the real deal, I could still feel that the ambience and the inspiration that these events bring is spectacular.
Firstly, I was really honoured to participate in the pre-conference by VdGM. Having been in various medical students’ associations myself, I appreciated the more interactive part, as well as meeting my fellow junior doctors from different countries. I sincerely hope we’ll be able to meet up in the future and make even more connections. I believe sharing experiences on how we handle things in different countries is a crucial part of progress and improvement.
Secondly, it was absolutely mesmerizing to listen to the speeches given by true experts in and around the field of Family Medicine. The topics of patient-centeredness, having a broad mind and approach of dealing with patients have always interested me. The importance of primary care in the strength and sustainability of our health systems has always been apparent to us, however it showed up even more obviously in the light of the last year’s pandemic – a topic that has also been broadly discussed in this year’s conference.
Even though I probably didn’t get to scratch even the surface of what the live conference would be, I still learned a lot and gained a ton of motivation to continue working in my field. There was a quote that has stuck in my head since the very first day of the conference: “More specialized medicine does not equal healthier societies”. And I stand by this quote – I believe we, future or present family physicians, should always remember this and never underestimate the importance of the role we play in our health systems. We should strive for an even better quality of our work, as well as better working conditions and better system preparedness. And please WONCA and VdGM, keep up the great work and keep inspiring young doctors like me to strive for change and advancement!

2020 Bursary Recipient Jolanta Mękarska, Poland
On 16th of December 2020 I attended the virtual WONCA European Conference and Preconference which continued until 19th of December.

This was the best conference in which I participated, prepared by family practitioners especially for GP’s and medical professionals from around the World. It was inspiring, involving, full of positivity. We looked beyond treating disease, focused on the way to deliver holistic care without exclusion of vulnerable patients and satisfy the needs of their families and partners. Many of the projects and presentations were focusing on education, self-development of doctors, encouraging students and young doctors to get involved in research in the field of family medicine. There was an amazing choice of interactive workshops- from dermatscopy techniques, family medicine in multicultural society discussions, and strategies of writing scientific papers. Partcipants introduced innovative ideas, technologies like apps, call lines, and other aspects of telemedicine to overcome language problems, communications and distance barriers to improve and deliver better medical help.
Understandably, many presented topics were touching on subjects such as wellbeing and time management as an important part of everyday doctor’s routine to enjoy a life and work balance, and become a more enthusiastic, caring professional. The unforgettable part of Wonca 2020 event was Preconference, with virtual visits to family practices in 3 regions of Germany. This was a great introduction to the German health system. WONCA is much more than a medical conference. It is a welcoming community of doctors and health care providers, with insights into modern medicine and human nature. It was a celebration of Family Medicine. If a virtual meeting can bring so much positivity, I’m looking forward to the virtual meeting in Amsterdam WONCA 2021 and cannot wait to meet in London WONCA 2022.

2020 Bursary Recipient Karyna Uvarova, Ukraine
My participation in the European Conference for Family Doctors was both a great surprise and extreme benefit for me.

When I got an email suggesting to send an application form for the reimbursement of such participation from VdGM movement, I just decided to take this chance without any confidence, but with a slight hope. And…on the day previously assigned I got the reply about me being chosen among other 3 participants! I was excited, because I have wanted to take part in a WONCA conference long time ago. Thank you, VdGM, for this opportunity to try my luck.
Now about the event itself. It was a pre-conference held by VdGM that preceeded the main conference. I thought it would be just as a formality, but it turned totally different. The organisers made it possible to get to know the Movement closer and, furthermore, they arranged several sessions with discussions of several hot topics in Family Medicine practice between the participants. And this final online dance with all the pre-conference participants, it was so cute and necessary in these hard times!
Before writing about the Conference I would like to say several words about the organisation and techical issues of all this. Guys who help with getting into the connection moments and with solving some essential technical problems, you were of such a great help! Thank you kindly for your time and quick replies via email! You made my participation such a valuable and memorable experience! The main Conference itself was organized perfectly – several halls with vital subjects for the presentations given by famous and respected medical professionals, cool workshops with the possibility to participate in them, properly arranged section where e-posters of the presenters could be viewd. It was my first experience of participation in a conference of such a magnitude and I was very pleased with the outcomes. So much useful and practically oriented information. Besides I can say the same as above-mentioned about the technical organisation of the event – it was greatly arranged.
Finally I would like to thank both VdGM and WONCA for such a pleasure I have got after these amazing four educational days. I hope that next time I will present my own investigations to such a respected audience. And to your organizations I wish the prosperity and expansion of your influnce around the globe!

2019 Bursary Recipient: Margarida Oliveira e Silva (Portugal)

The VdGM Fund was able to assist two individuals to attend the 2019 VdGM Preconference & WONCA Europe Conference in Bratislava.

One bursary was granted to Margarida.

2019 Bursary Recipient: Shirin Talapbek Kyzy (Kyrgyzstan)

The other bursary to attend the 2019 VdGM Preconference & WONCA Europe Conference in Bratislava was awarded to Shirin.

2018 Bursary Recipient: Gulnaz Yessengeldiyeva (Kazakhstan)

From the 34 valid applications received from 12 different countries, the VdGM Fund was able to assist twelve individuals to attend the 2018 VdGM Preconference & WONCA Europe Conference in Krakow, thanks to a special donation by the local Host Organizating Committee. Among the bursary recipients were Gulnaz, a 1st year trainee from Kazakhstan;

2018 Bursary Recipient: Rita Oliveira (Portugal)

A 3rd year trainee from Portugal.

2018 Bursary Recipient: Zane Lucane (Latvia)

A 2nd year trainee from Latvia.

2018 Bursary Recipient: Elena Miana (Spain)

A 4th year trainee from Spain.

2018 Bursary Recipient: Emilija Petrauskiene (Lithuania)

A junior doctor from Lithuania.

2018 Bursary Recipient: Victoria Tkachenko (Ukraine)

A junior doctor from Ukraine.

2018 Bursary Recipient: Gabriela Badea (Romania)

A junior doctor from Romania.

2018 Bursary Recipient: Sara Correia (Spain)

A 2nd year trainee from Spain.

2018 Bursary Recipient: Meltem Nuzumlalı (Turkey)

A junior doctor from Turkey.

2018 Bursary Recipient: Rocco Giannotti (Italy)

A 1st year trainee from Italy.

2018 Bursary Recipient: Yana Maksymets (Ukraine)

A 3rd year trainee from Ukraine.

2018 Bursary Recipient: Aiste Mikalauskaitė (Lithuania)

A 2nd year trainee from Lithuania.

2018 Bursary Recipient: Ikbal Akyildiz (Turkey)

From the 8 valid applications received from 4 different countries, the VdGM Fund was able to assist two applicants to attend the 5th VdGM Forum in Porto, 2018.

Among them was Ikbal is a 1st year trainee from Istanbul, Turkey. Read her report here.

2018 Bursary Recipient: Monika Kalesinksaite (Lithuania)

On her report, Monika, a 3rd year trainee from Kaunas (Lithuania), reflects on the learning and networking opportunities that arose from the bursary that allowed her to participate in the 5th VdGM Forum in Porto, 2018.

2017 Bursary Recipient: Kelly Baldeón (Spain)

In 2017, 9 applicants from 3 countries applied for VdGM Bursaries. For the first time bursaries were offered for a VdGM Forum, in addition to the bursaries for the VdGM Preconference/WONCA Europe Conference. Thus, the VdGM Fund was able to assist two individuals to attend the 2017 VdGM Preconference & WONCA Europe Conference in Prague and two others to attend the 4th VdGM Forum in Strasbourg. One of the latter was granted to Kelly.

2017 Bursary Recipient: Candan Kendir (Turkey)

The other bursary to attend the 4th VdGM Forum in Strasbourg was granted to Candan.

2017 Bursary Recipient: Codruţa Constantinescu (Romania)

Codruţa was one of the two individuals awarded with a bursary to attend the 2017 VdGM Preconference & WONCA Europe Conference in Prague.

2017 Bursary Recipient: Elena Klusova (Spain)

Elena received the other bursary to attend the 2017 VdGM Preconference & WONCA Europe Conference in Prague.

2016 Bursary Recipient: Cristiana Avramescu (Romania)

In 2016, 19 applicants from 9 countries applied for VdGM Bursaries. The VdGM Fund was able to assist two individuals to attend the 2016 VdGM Preconference & WONCA Europe Conference in Copenhagen. One bursary was awarded to Cristiana.

2016 Bursary Recipient: Jakab Engya Aniko (Romania)

The other bursary was awarded to Jakab.

2015 Bursary Recipient: Yelena Khegay (Kazakhstan)

In 2015, 13 applicants from 7 countries applied for VdGM Bursaries. Yelena Khegay (Kazakhstan) was one of the two individuals that the VdGM Fund was able to assist in attending the 2015 VdGM Preconference & WONCA Europe Conference in Istanbul.

2015 Bursary Recipient: Vera Pires da Silva (Portugal)

Another bursary was granted to Vera Silva to attend the 2015 VdGM Preconference & WONCA Europe Conference in Istanbul.

2014 Bursary Recipient: Joana Neto (Portugal)

In 2014, 29 applicants from 11 countries applied for VdGM Bursaries. The VdGM Fund was able to assist six of them in attending the 2014 VdGM Preconference & WONCA Europe Conference in Lisbon. Among them was Joana Neto from Portugal.

2014 Bursary Recipient: Ana Costa (Portugal)

Ana Costa also from Portugal.

2014 Bursary Recipient: Belisa Tarazona Chocano (Spain)

Belisa from Spain.

2014 Bursary Recipient: Lisa Gambhir (Luxembourg)

Lisa from Luxembourg.

2014 Bursary Recipient: Seda Coskun (Turkey)

Seda from Turkey.

2014 Bursary Recipient: Jacek Bujko (Poland)

Jace Bujko from Poland.

2013 Bursary Recipient: Cristina Sicorschi (Spain)

In 2013, 22 applicants from 10 countries applied for VdGM Bursaries. The VdGM Fund was able to assist six of them in attending the 2013 VdGM Preconference & WONCA Europe Conference in Lisbon. Among them was Cristina from Spain.

2013 Bursary Recipient: Grabiella Iski (Hungary)

Grabiella from Hungary.

2013 Bursary Recipient: Maija Kozlovska (Latvia)

Maija from Latvia.

2013 Bursary Recipient: Sergey Surkov (Spain)

Sergey from Spain.

2013 Bursary Recipient: Luís Pinho Costa (Portugal)

Luís from Portugal.

2013 Bursary Recipient: Kristina Horova (Czech Republic)

Kristina from Czech Republic.