News nº 33 | Abril 2013
AIMS Meeting 2013
AIMS Meeting 2013

The Organizing Committee of the 4th AIMS Meeting 

AIMS Meeting
Congress welcomes Portuguese and foreign medical students 


“It is the dream that guides us, moved and silent” because even if we ask ourselves “Have we arrived? Will we ever get there?” we will have the courage to say, as Sebastião da Gama did, “We leave. We go. We are.” These were the words that opened the 4th edition of the Annual International Medical Students Meeting (AIMS Meeting), for expressing so well our work over almost a year. 

Here is the account of this experience, in the first person, and in the words of someone who embarked on this journey. 

Day zero 
There was not a day zero, rather several months zero that culminated when we, with a lot of expectations, opened the check-in to the 350 registered participants, 50 of whom foreigners. In the afternoon of that day there were also 2 pre-courses, which was a concept new to this edition. ‘How to write a successful CV’ allowed participants (particularly those presenting their research projects) to acquire skills in the writing of resumes and other types of presentations. The ‘Saving babies - a practical how to course’ was held at the simulation centre of Dona Estefânia Hospital and it taught participants how to act in emergency situations involving babies. 

When the day finally came, we had great pleasure in getting to know the participants we had contacted by email for such a long time, as well as the international speakers who were kind enough to accept our invitation and joined the lecturers of this faculty who, like us, believed in this initiative and made it possible. 

Day 1
The AIMS Meeting officially started in the morning of 15 March and at its opening session we had the presence of Professor José Fernandes e Fernandes, Director of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon, and of Professor António Vaz Carneiro, representing the Association for Research and Development of the Faculty of Medicine, with which we work. This was followed by a unique session on music and medicine with Professor Rui Vieira Nery, who talked about the representations of disease, pain, vulnerability, magic, and healing resorting to musical examples that enthused the audience. 

The Regenerative Medicine module, a topic as promising as esoteric to some people, addressed the role of microRNAs in myocardial regeneration and bioengineering techniques in modulating stem cell differentiation. In the end, an answer was given to the question ‘how to make a liver for dummies’. 

Given that our goal includes instigating and disseminating research projects conducted by students, there were also oral presentations and posters of works in basic and clinical medicine. Many of these works were presented by colleagues from other countries, showing that the internationalization of the AIMS Meeting undeniably involves extending the time and the opportunity to present research projects. 

The afternoon of the first day was filled with a varied social programme, including visits to the Belém Cultural Centre and to the Modern Art Centre, and walks in downtown Lisbon, which not even one demonstration managed to prevent. This was an excellent opportunity for participants to get to know each other in an informal setting, and re(discover) Lisbon at the same time. And due to the fact that science alone will not turn anyone into a doctor, we also invited participants to know the situation of the homeless and the work carried out by associations of volunteers. Participants described this experience as having been very moving as it made them open their eyes and their hearts. 


Day 2
After the talk ‘Stimulating the diseased mind’, which addressed deep brain stimulation in neurological and psychiatric patients, the scientific programme of the day focused on perinatal care ranging from pregnancy to the first days of life. Indeed, the module’s lectures focused on the advances in neonatal intensive care, on new approaches to premature babies and ex-utero intrapartum surgery. 

The ‘speed dating’ session that followed the morning lectures was carried out on an experimental basis for the first time in this edition of the congress and it was a major success, judging by the enthusiasm of participants. The successive 5-minute informal talks between students and doctors or researchers, in a relaxed atmosphere with no rules or script, toppled barriers and gave participants the unique opportunity to known the work and background of the guests. 

In addition to this one, the multiple activities of the ‘I chose Session’, a high point of this congress since its first edition as ENJOY Med, made it possible to acquire knowledge and refine practical skills, ranging from suture and maintenance of the respiratory tract to body language and hospital management. 

That evening there was still room for a dinner party with the participants and guests. To cheer people up, the FMUL choir gave a performance ranging from fado to gospel singing, much to the pleasure of those present. At the end of the evening the prizes for best research projects were announced. The winners, Tiago Rodrigues and Pawel Sobczuk, received scholarships worth 500€ and 250€, respectively. 

Day 3
The module of the last day of the congress focused on advances in surgery, especially extracorporeal circulation, sex change surgery, robotic surgery, and color-coded surgery. Without exception, these lectures were the ones that aroused the curiosity of our colleagues the most, providing interesting occasions for discussion with the guest speakers.
The last lecture was given by Professor Jonathan Howard, Director of the Gulbenkian Institute of Science, who explained why ‘mice are not little men’. During the afternoon, in the new range of activities of the ‘I Chose Session’, participants were welcomed in the workshops of their choice. 

At the time of parting, foreign colleagues were taught the word saudade (longing for something lost) and the feedback of Portuguese colleagues was received with great satisfaction.

Undoubtedly, our goals (aims) were met! The experience of organizing a students’ congress for students taught us a lot and made us grow up within a team in which ideas and desires, more or less unspoken but always translatable into work and initiatives, were shared, thanks to the support of our lecturers, sponsors and partners. 

We conclude this edition knowing we did the best we could, which seems to have been recognized by participants, who evaluated the congress with a 4.5/5 mark. We end with the promise that we shall continue to listen to our colleagues in order to organize, year after year, the best AIMS Meeting ever, to the best interests of medical students

The Organizing Committee of the 4th AIMS Meeting 
Sandra Maurício, Sara Ferreira and Sara Parreira (Coordination) Afonso Nunes Ferreira, Ana Filipa Gomes, Ana Rita Constante, Ana Sofia Vilardouro, Bernardo Pimentel, Catarina Neves, Filipe Figueiredo, Gisela Leiras, João Ferreira, Mafalda Neves, Rúben Vale, and Vítor Veríssimo.

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Propriedade e Edição: Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa
Periodicidade: Mensal
Diretor: Prof. Doutor Fausto J. Pinto
Conselho Editorial: Prof. Doutor Fausto J. Pinto, Prof. Doutor Mamede de Carvalho, Profª. Doutora Ana Sebastião, Prof. Doutor António Vaz Carneiro, Prof. Doutor Miguel Castanho, Dr. Luis Pereira
Gestor de Informação: Ana Raquel Moreira
Equipa Editorial: Ana Cristina Mota, Ana Raquel Moreira, André Silva, Maria de Lurdes Barata, Rui Gomes, Sónia Barroso
Colaboração: Unidade de Relações Públicas e Comunicação - Bruno Moura
Conceção e Suporte Técnico: UTI 
Design e Implementação: Spirituc
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Estatuto Editorial

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