International Connections for Urology
30 August 2021
The RCSEd has appointed Faris AbuShamma to the Surgical Specialty Board (SSB) in urology – a first for an overseas Member. It is hoped that the appointment will create collaborations between the College and Middle East institutions in medical education, surgical training, and newly graduated consultant and research opportunities. Chair of the Urology Board and consultant urologist Neil Fenn says the appointment "highlights the College’s commitment to its international partners and Fellows".
AbuShamma was supported via the Medical Training Initiative (MTI) scheme to complete his urology training in the UK. The presence of a clear pathway supported by the RCSEd to help international trainees come to the UK is a significant step that improves medical services in developing countries. Having now returned to Palestine and established himself at the An-Najah National University there, AbuShamma feels it’s the right time to develop links between the College and the Arab world. Fenn says:
AbuShamma is well positioned to contribute to College life by forging lasting links with our international partners in the Middle East. His story is worth telling as I am sure it will encourage others to use the MTI programme, thus helping their surgical development and ultimately strengthening links between the College and its Fellows all over the world.
AbuShamma came to the UK in 2016 after completing his urology training in Jordan. He joined the Bristol Urological Institute (BUI) as a senior clinical Fellow through the MTI scheme. During his stay in Bristol his eagerness to learn and willingness to work as a team member enabled him to achieve many academic and professional goals. In August 2019 AbuShamma was awarded two BUI Fellowships in robotic/laparoscopic uro oncology and endourology. During his stay in the UK he was awarded the certificate of management and leadership from the BUI for developing and running the junior doctors’ educational programme and was appointed Chief Resident in 2018. His Fellowship journey in Bristol ended in 2019 when he passed the FRCS Urol exam at first attempt and joined the RCSEd as a Fellow. We hope that having a new overseas SSB member of urology who has come full circle will enable the RCSEd to continue to support the international programme.
Faris AbuShamma explains the merits of the MTI scheme in helping international doctors develop their surgical and academic skills:
I have been able to use my skill set to improve and develop medical services in my home country and hence the circle is complete. Since my return to Palestine I have joined An-Najah National University as an assistant professor and a urology consultant. I have achieved several significant steps in improving urology services and boosting the urology research spirit among my peers. Now we have minimally invasive urology surgery at the hospital and I have operated on more than 200 cases over the last year alone. I developed the residents training programme at An-Najah and am currently Programme Director of urology. I have always been enthusiastic about clinical research and I am on the Clinical Research committee at the hospital. Since my return to Palestine I have published several articles affiliated with the University Hospital in peer-reviewed medical journals to confirm the progress we are making. This includes an article on recommendations to deal with urological surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic, written in collaboration with several institutions across the Middle East and the UK. One of my original research articles was nominated for the best research paper in urology among the top eight papers presented in Dubai during the 17th Annual Arab Association of Urology Conference in 2020. From a leadership aspect I currently chair the Quality, Patient Safety and Risk Management Committee at An-Najar. International trainees are keen to seek further training and education at UK medical institutions and hospitals, which are recognised for their evidence-based training and experienced practitioners. The experience I gained in the UK has enabled me to provide a comprehensive clinical and academic service in Palestine.
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