The Young Clinician Program (YCP) of the Africa and Middle Eastern Association of Gastroenterology (AMAGE) is working to raise the medical standards of young African and Middle Eastern physicians and to not only build social bridges between them but also with young clinicians in other zones.
The Young Clinician Program is targeted at clinicians of 40 years and under, of both genders, and is aimed at elevating the practical and clinical expertise of young gastroenterologists.
This is achieved by exposing young clinicians, through an exchange program, to the practices of different gastroenterological schools among AMAGE member societies, and by giving them the opportunity to attend the different Gastroenterology courses and assume the responsibilities of co-chairing congresses. Young clinicians are also given the opportunity to share their knowledge of other disciplines through Combined Studies.
The YCP’s history is a study in what may be achieved from humble beginnings. The organisation had its origins in 1988 as an exchange program for foreign doctors during the annual congress of the Syrian Society of Gastroenterology (SSGE). Initially, 40 young doctors and medical students were involved, and from this program, six were able to get help to continue their specialisation abroad, in England, Germany, France & the USA.
In 1997, the program formally became known as the Young Clinician Program (YCP) and was constituted as a division of the Pan Arab Association of Gastroenterology (PAAG). Through the program, 22 young clinicians were able to benefit from internships in some of the excellent gastroenterology centers in Egypt, Germany, France and Italy.
From 2001 to the present YCP has continued to work within the structures of AMAGE, and six new centres have been added, in Syria, Egypt, India and Germany. During the first two-year cycle of the new millennium, 14 young doctors were selected for training, and since then further centers have been added, notably in Iran.
The work of the YCP is organised into several programs:
The program still has some urgent practical needs if it is to achieve lasting success – it requires a permanent secretary, and available funds to deal with logistical issues such as transport and accommodation for delegates to conferences and for interns. Funds are also required if it is to effectively support the main international focus weeks such as UEGW and DDW.
Despite the challenges it continues to face, the YCP is an excellent example of what can be achieved when the WGO works with committed people on the ground in our member countries.