Candan Kendir reflects on the VdGM forum in Strasbourg

Candan Kendir was the Vasco da Gama Movement (VdGM) Fund Winner attending the 4th VdGM Forum which was held from 20-21 April 2017 in Strasbourg, France

I feel privileged to have been one of the winners of the Vasco da Gama Movement (VdGM) Fund 2017. This was to attend the VdGM Forum which was held in Strasbourg. The aim of VdGM Fund is to assist trainees and junior General Practitioners/Family Physicians (GPs/FPs). It was launched in 2012 - an initiative of VdGM Past President, Sven Streit, and the Fund has already helped 16 junior GPs/FPs to attend the WONCA Conferences in Prague, Lisbon, İstanbul and Copenhagen. This time, it was also available for the VdGM Forum.

At the Forum, as a receiver of the Fund, my goals were to meet with young doctors coming from different countries across Europe and exchange ideas, projects, professional life with them. I appreciated making new friendships while meeting with my old friends. Needless to say, I enjoyed every moment of the forum with plenary sessions, workshops and social activities – many of which are now available to watch on YouTube.

I was impressed with the beauty of the city of Strasbourg and took time to make visits to special places such as Petite-France, a historic neighborhood on the city’s canals, which in the past met the constant need of tanners, millers and fishermen, for water. Nowadays, their half-timbered homes situated along the river still stand, and provide a truly beautiful sightseeing place.

On the first day, I facilitated the workshop of the ASPIRE Global Leaders Program as Europe Liaison Person. In this session, I worked with Dr Claire Marie Thomas (the President of VdGM) and Prof Job Metsemakers (WONCA Treasurer and Past President of WONCA Europe). We focused on the topic “Improving presentation skills”.

First, we presented a summary of the outcomes of our workshop held at the 3rd VdGM Forum “Characteristics and Skills of a Leader”. Then, we worked in groups with the participants to define the different aspects of good presentation skills. The outcomes were divided into three requirements for a good presentation: before, during, and after the presentation. The most relevant for “before the presentation” were testing the presentation room, practicing the presentation and have a good plan of the topic adapted to the intended audience. The most important for “during the presentation” were interaction with the participants, using body language properly and believing in the presentation and showing enthusiasm. Additionally, the groups focused on being empathic, on anticipating questions and receiving feedback “after the presentation”.

In the second part, we had a guest speaker (Dr Emmanuel Allory, Rennes University) who made a 10 minute presentation. Then, we worked in groups to review his presentation skills. In the last part of our workshop, each group gave feedback to our guest and he gave his reflections to the participants.

The session was live streamed on Facebook and it’s now available on-demand on the VdGM YouTube channel.

This was my second workshop with Dr Claire Marie Thomas and Prof Job Metsemakers as co-facilitators. It was a great opportunity to observe them closely during the presentation - to consider how they face difficult situations and how they put their personal stamp on a workshop. At the end of the workshop, we also debriefed as co-facilitators. Working with two experienced leaders also gives me the opportunity to improve my own communication, presentation and leadership skills.

On the second day, the most interesting plenary to me was “Community Building” moderated by Claire Marie Thomas. This was an “Open Space Technology” session to allow members with new ideas or existing special interests and theme groups, to recruit, gather, network and develop ideas. According to the instructions, the participants were allowed to be either “a flower” (who has a project/idea and looks for collaboration) or “a Bumblebee” (who doesn’t have a project but seeks for interesting ones in different flowers). I had a project in my mind about my interest in “Health Literacy” and with the help of this session, I had many Bumblebees around me (including Dr Per Kallestrup “Very damn Good Medic”) to create the group and make this project come true.

If you would like to collaborate with us and have further information, please contact me on [email protected]

You can also join our google group “Health literacy for primary care” [email protected]

In conclusion, each time I attend to a VdGM event, I feel privileged to be part of this team. I feel the support and the collaboration of my colleagues across Europe – and even the world.

I’d like to thank to all Host Organising Committee members and VdGM Executive Team for making this meeting awesome for us! Thanks to all my colleagues for attending this amazing forum! Lastly, I’d like to thank to all jury members for giving me this opportunity!

Hope to see you all next time in the 5th VdGM Forum will be held in 27-27 January, 2018 in Porto, Portugal!

Candan Kendir