The Next Generation of Neurological Surgeons in Latin America

Written by Lindsay Doucette

Boot Camp Participants

A diverse faculty of nearly 30 US and Latin American neurosurgeons convened over the weekend at the Caja Nacional de Salud Hospital in Santa Cruz for the second Neurosurgery Resident Boot Camp. Dr. Richard Moser, director of the Solidarity Bridge Neurosurgery Program, shared, “As lifelong teachers and students, we are all committed to continuous learning as the only way to provide for the well-being of our patients. The Neurosurgery Boot Camp model is the truest expression of our obligation to prepare the next generation of neurological surgeons.”

The Neurosurgery Boot Camp was developed by the Society of Neurological Surgeons in the United States as a means to transmit knowledge, wisdom, and experience from experienced neurosurgery faculty members to resident learners. This Boot Camp course is now a requirement for all US neurosurgery residents.

The professional passion of our neurosurgical faculty members was evident in their one-on-one interactions with residents from Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, Mexico, and Brazil. Bolivian neurosurgeon Dr. Miguel Saenz said that the direct interaction with the students was inspiring to him as a professional and that he was happy to participate for the second time in the Boot Camp course.

The residents were grateful for the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through simulated patient care, individual skill stations, and engaging lectures and case studies. Guided by the faculty, they cycled through ten distinct skill stations that provided practice in procedural and operative techniques.

Dr. Robert Dempsey, US missioner and president of the Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery (FEINS), said that the excellent Latin American faculty gave him hope for the future. Dr. Roberta Glick, who was instrumental in bringing the Boot Camp to Bolivia in 2015 and adapting it to the Bolivian context, expressed her gratitude to the resident participants, saying, “You’ve been a great group. You were thirsty for what we could share. It is our rule as professionals to impart what we know to you. Thank you for helping us.”

It was inspiring to see neurosurgical mentors and learners from North and South America uniting around the common mission to increase quality of and access to care for future patients throughout Latin America. Throughout the two-day course, there was a palpable sense of camaraderie and friendship and a desire to maintain these bonds of solidarity into the future.

Solidarity Bridge would like to acknowledge the many groups who made this event possible, including Medtronic, the Integra Foundation, Globus Medical, Puente de Solidaridad, FIENS, SNS, the Bolivian Neurosurgical Society, FLANC, and the Caja Nacional de Salud Hospital.