Educational Trip Abroad – Part 1

International Conference in Australia and Famous Centers for Stem Cell Work in Japan – Part One

Making the Plans
As a medical provider in this country, CME (Continuing Medical Education) is required and a doctor can meet his/her 20 hours goal by attending educational meetings throughout the year. However, since I believe that the more CMEs the better, I attend at least three to four conferences annually, adding up to more than fifty hours of CME.

While attending the American College of Phlebology’s annual meeting in Anaheim, CA, in 2016, it was announced that the International Union of Phlebology (IUP, or more commonly UIP) would be holding their next international conference in Melbourne, Australia, in February 2018. This was really exciting news as I had never been to Australia; and I have two Australian cousins who fortuitously both live in the same city, Adelaide- an hour’s flight from Melbourne.

My mind drifted, even more, to think about including Japan in the trip, and getting the best of both worlds! As it turned out, this was rather ambitious because Australia was at the height of her Summer, while Japan was bitterly cold and snowy in places, requiring different attire altogether. I went ahead and informed my cousins of the dates of the trip to Australia and informed old friends and Medical colleagues in Japan of my intention to visit with them. My wife, of course, jumped on the opportunity pretty early and my daughter declared that she had never been to either country and she wanted to join us. It was decided, so over the next few months, we made the necessary preparations for a trip for the threesome to Australia and Japan!

We left New Orleans, LA on a Wednesday afternoon to arrive in Melbourne late Thursday morning. The journey took over 20 hours, changing planes twice, once in Houston, TX and then in Aukland, New Zealand. Our hotel was a few minutes’ walk from the Melbourne Convention Center and adjacent to a casino, a food court, some cafés, and restaurants. We were right in the center of town!

We spent the first few days before the conference exploring as much as we could! We visited a nearby wildlife reserve where we were fortunate to be able to see the illusive duckbill platypus! We took a tour to Phillip Island, where the unique tiny Australian penguin lives. On the island, we encountered koalas, wallabies and other local wildlife. The real treat, of course, was the penguins and the penguin parade, for which we had to wait in designated areas until after dusk to see the penguins return to the shore and waddle up the hill to reach and feed their young in their nests!

They never come ashore before dark for fear of being spotted by birds of prey!  They would come out of the water in groups and walk in rows for few yards then break up and waddle up the incline to wherever their babies may be waiting for the long-awaited meal. It was shocking to see that a few of them traveled almost half a mile to reach their young. Photography of the penguin parade was forbidden for fear of the camera-flash might cause the parents to regurgitate their treasure of fish before reaching their young. However, we were told the whole affair of penguin parade could be seen on their website.

International Union of Phlebology Conference
The conference started on Monday and went on until Thursday evening. There was a pre-conference meeting over the weekend that included basic information about veins, lymphatics, diseases of the blood, and lymph vessels in the lower extremities. It also included live relays of procedures performed at local hospitals by local experts, including some aesthetic operations.

The opening ceremony on the convention on Monday morning was spectacular, which included presentations and displays of traditional art from Australian Aborigines and New Zealand Maoris, as well as from Japanese, Indian, Chinese and other ethnic immigrants to Australia. (Visit our YouTube Channel to view all videos.)

Over the next four days, we were served a diet of knowledge and fun throughout! Of course, we had the scientific side, but the event also included an evening reception, a gala event, and many other activities. During lunch breaks, staged in the exhibition hall, there were displays and events relating to different ethnic groups of Australia; and sponsoring exhibitors displayed different medical practice offerings and necessities.

When the conference was ended, we traveled to Adelaide, to see my paternal cousin, Gus, waiting for us at the airport.  I had not seen him nor his wife Beryl, since the mid-nineties. We had both aged! That evening we all gathered at my maternal cousin and his family’s house for a welcoming feast. Adelaide was both beautiful and restful. In Gus’s back-garden (where we lodged); parrots, magpies and other colorful and spectacular birds descended from the trees throughout the day to drink and feed on the daily rations that Gus had left them. We visited a wildlife refuge, where we saw Koalas, Wallabies, Kangaroos and other marsupials, including a rather strange-looking, rat-like marsupial, also unique to Australia.

Cousins in Adelaide

Please stay tuned for the conclusion of my trip abroad. And as always, I welcome any constructive comments through our websites; Spring of Youth Medical Group and Gulf Coast Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Center or email.

Download: SOY/GCSC Conference Trip – Aust/Jap 2018 Part1

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