An opportunity of a lifetime: The AMSSM Traveling Fellowship

Drs. Leonardo Oliveira, Jason Zaremski, and John Lombardo (L to R), enjoying the long evenings in Scandinavia.

In 2015 I became a very lucky man:  I was chosen, along with Doug McKeag and Alison Brooks to be one of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) Traveling Fellows.  That year, we visited South Africa, and AMSSM/USA enjoyed a reciprocal visit from Jon Patricios, one of the pre-eminent sports medicine practitioners in the land of the Springboks.

The journey I shared with Doug and Alison and so many South African colleagues was a trip of a lifetime.

The AMSSM, one of CJSM’s affiliated societies, awards the Traveling Fellowship annually. This year’s worthy (and lucky) recipients were the Americans John Lombardo (past-president of AMSSM), Leonardo Oliveira and CJSM’s Jr. Associate Editor, Jason Zaremski.  Their journey took them to Scandinavia, where they were hosted by Norway’s Hilde Moseby Berge (Chief Medical Officer of her country’s Paralympic team) and others.

I reached out to the American team to ask them how their trip went. They couldn’t have been happier to share a bit of their wonderful experience.

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AMSSM Traveling Fellowship — Scandinavia 2018

By: Leonardo Oliveira, John Lombardo, and Jason Zaremski

Drs. John Lombardo, Hilde Moseby Berge, Leonardo Oliveira, and Jason Zaremski (L to R)

As sports medicine physicians in the United States, we (Leonardo Oliveira and Jason Zaremski) had the opportunity of a lifetime—to travel to Scandinavia under the direction of one of the AMSSM founders, Dr. John Lombardo (known as “the Godfather” to our Scandinavian Colleagues 🙂 as the AMSSM Junior Traveling Fellows for 2018. The traveling fellowship is an educational international experience designed to provide a unique global academic learning opportunity to interact with sports medicine leaders from around the world. The Traveling Fellowship program is also a two-way exchange. Each year AMSSM selects a sports medicine physician from a partnering country to serve as the International Visiting Fellow. This year it was Dr. Hilde Berge, Chief Medical Officer for the Norway Paralympics. Dr. Berge, in addition to attending and presenting at the AMSSM Meeting in Orlando, FL, also lectured and visited sports medicine centers in Greenville, SC, Richmond, VA, and Boston, MA.

We have been asked multiple times since we have returned to the States:  what were the highlights of your trip?.We all agree that the opportunity to attend a 3 day educational conference in Kleivstua, Norway–centered around education, research, and teamwork for PhD candidates, some of whom were completing their research and others who were just beginning–was amazing. In addition, John has commented how grateful he was to visit the Institute for Sports Medicine in Copenhagen, at the Bispebjerg Hospital with Dr. Michael Kjaer. Dr. Lombardo again was impressed with the teamwork and emphasis on research during our stop in Copenhagen. “The research programs didn’t seem to have the same type of competitive nature of programs that I have seen in the US. It seems to be more collaborative.” The team approach could be felt in Sweden in the University of Gothenburg and the Swedish School of Sports and Health sciences leading to significant productive medical and scientific knowledge.

We also learned a great deal on the health care systems noting their similarities and differences. The utilization and the flow of resources is quite different. As one example, musculoskeletal ultrasound is used with a significant frequency by surgical and non-surgical physicians before any other imaging in nearly all patient encounters we observed. Additionally, non-surgical treatment modalities are emphasized significantly more than surgical treatment when at all possible.

Dr. Oliveira competing in the Gothenburg half-marathon

Viking long boat — still looks capable of doing some damage

While a large portion of our experiences involved academic exchange (we did provide a total of 15 lectures between the three of us) there was also ample time for some fun. Leo ran in the world’s largest half marathon in Gothenburg, Sweden. We visited both the Nobel and Viking Museums in Stockholm and Oslo, respectively. And while it was amazing to have this Scandinavian opportunity experience different local culinary delights and explore beautiful historic cities, we were humbled to be able to pick the brains of sports medicine physicians who have paved the way before us. Hopefully we Junior Fellows can do the same and pay it forward to our Junior contemporaries and fellow AMSSM colleagues.

In short, the 2018 AMSSM traveling fellowship was an unbelievable, amazing, academic and cultural experience between 4 countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the United States). We encourage all eligible members to apply! The AMSSM Traveling Fellowship will open your eyes to educational, cultural and social opportunities and experiences that you will not have otherwise. The challenges that we have in the United States are present in the Sports Medicine Centers in other countries. Through creativity, perseverance and collaboration, our outcomes can be positive both nationally and internationally.  For any eligible applicant, brush up on your Japanese—as we strongly encourage you to apply for the 2019 AMSSM Traveling Fellowship in Japan with Dr. Brian Halpern, the next Senior AMSSM Traveling Fellow! These opportunities do not often present themselves. The website for more information for the AMSSM traveling fellowship is: https://www.amssm.org/TravelingFellowship.php

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Thanks Drs. Lombardo, Oliveira and Zaremski.  I echo your sentiments:  all eligible AMSSM members should consider this special opportunity.  It is the chance of a lifetime.

About sportingjim
I work at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio USA, where I am a specialist in pediatric sports medicine. My academic appointment as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics is through Ohio State University. I am a public health advocate for kids' health and safety. I am also the Emerging Media Editor for the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

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