Report on 5th VdGM forum in Porto.

The Host Organising Committee of the 5th VdGM forum (there are two members missing).

On the 26-27th January, 2018, the 5th Vasco da Gama Movement (VdGM) Forum took place in the beautiful city of Porto, Portugal.

The event was organised by the Portuguese Association of Family Medicine (APMGF) and, for the past two years, together with an amazing team, we have looked at the possibilities for creating an innovative and inspiring event that would facilitate networking, learning and collaboration.

“Stronger Together: charting the course to navigate the future” was this forum’s topic. The program and all activities related to the forum, were designed to promote teamwork and also to be a showcase for new, alternative ways to structure and to organize a conference.

In the days prior to the forum, a pre-forum exchange was held, where 17 participants from nine different countries got to know and experience the Portuguese Primary Care system for four days. Delegates were challenged to participate in a “treasure hunt” throughout the city of Porto and in an “escape game”, where they needed to collaborate in order to solve mysteries and cross the finish line (or open the door!).

The keynotes followed the Forum’s topic with each keynote addressing it from a different point of view. Anna Stavdal’s keynote “Stronger Together: networking across borders in primary care” highlighted the importance of understanding borders and respecting them. Amanda Howe and Salomé Azevedo covered the topic “Stronger Together: teaming up with patients”, where possibilities for patient collaboration were addressed with examples taken from the Patient Innovation platform, a non-profit startup where patients share the solutions they have developed for their own conditions. Finally, the last keynote “Stronger Together: teamwork in healthcare” was given by Nadim Habib, who wrapped up the whole ethos of the forum by drawing attention to the importance of collaborating and working in teams, a fact especially relevant when it comes to primary care.

Photo: The dragon mascot for the forum

For the scientific program, we received a total of 127 abstract submissions, with nearly 100 accepted. As well as the usual oral presentation and workshop formats, we opened submissions for creative, “unconference” sessions (participant-driven sessions that complement a traditional scientific program): the “ignite” presentations and special sessions. Ignite presentations offered participants an opportunity to pitch an idea in just five minutes and 20 Powerpoint slides and to share information that would not fit into the usual Oral/Poster presentations. In the special sessions, participants were invited to share a question or a challenge for open-ended discussion. All special sessions and workshops included a team building icebreaker/energizer that was planned and discussed with the authors of the sessions in advance of the forum.

Posters were also presented in a new, creative way. All authors were requested to record a “poster spotlight”, a small video on the topic of their poster that was uploaded on youtube and was used to draw the participants’ attention to their work. Prior to the forum, these spotlights had already been watched over 1700 times in a total of 17 viewing hours. Posters and their spotlights were continuously displayed through QR-codes in coffee breaks and lunch, thus driving up attention to the posters and total watch time. Attendees were able to vote on their three favorite posters throughout the Forum. Ultimately, posters were presented in “speed geeking” sessions, where presenters stood beside their posters and discussed their work with a small group who rotated every five minutes to the next poster on one of four poster circuits.

A “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind session” was also organized, so that delegates could start off the second day of the Forum with rhythm and fully re-energized!

Having social responsibility in mind, and being committed to the importance of sharing and contributing to the ones who need it most, participants were offered the opportunity to donate to the VdGM Fund and also to donate clothes for charity.

Overall, we are very pleased with the outcome and the participation of this forum – with 341 participants, this VdGM Forum had not only the biggest attendance of all five fora to date, but also had a global impact, including at least one participant from each of the seven WONCA regions. Preliminary results of the feedback survey show high levels of satisfaction and that participants felt professionally and personally enhanced. The event was streamed live and the sessions held in the main hall are available online.

Videos of main sessions
Team building and teamwork being in the forefront of the 5th VdGM Forum, we cannot thank enough the dream team who made it all possible: Nina Monteiro, Ana Luís Pereira, Vera Silva, Mariana Leite, Maria João Nobre, Beatriz Figueiredo, Tiago Castanheiro, Sara Teotónio Dinis and Helder Vaz Batista. We feel it was a privilege and an honour to be entrusted with such an undertaking.

Hoping that the success of this forum will inspire the further development of the young doctors’ movements in each of our regions!

Don’t forget to check out the last Young Doctors’ Movements news and please feel free to join us!

Ana Nunes Barata, WONCA Young Doctors’ Representative, Chair of the 5th VdGM Forum
Luís Pinho-Costa, Chair of the scientific committee of the 5th VdGM Forum