Monday, October 10, 2016

Cartagena: Cultural and Academic

Last month, thousands of health professionals related to the Gastroenterology and the digestive system Endoscopy met at one of the most interesting and lovely cities of the world: Cartagena de Indias in the northern coast of Colombia.  The PanAmerican Digestive Disease Week took place on September 10th to 13th with a high academic level.  Essentially, all you need to know as a Gastroenterologist and/or Endoscopist was updated at several sessions, courses, talks, workshops and hands-on trainings held in the modern Cartagena Convention Center "Julio Cesar Turbay Ayala".
Cartagena de Indias was a great setting for this event.  There is always something to do in the city... walk within the walled town with its plazas, or above the impressive wall itself, enjoying the colonial architecture, or taking a journey to the past to pirates tales at the Castillo de San Felipe (and its impressive tunnel system -- recommended), drink a coffee at the historic Getsemani neighborhood, or eat a traditional fried fish with coconut rice and avocado salad in Boca Chica beach... you name it!
Many of my colleagues from Panama and all over America attended this great event... it was nice to see some old friends again and to listen my professors, textbooks' authors and worldwide authorities in the matter at their lectures.  Certainly, my major highlight was to meet a personal hero... a person who changed the world's gastroenterology for ever by establishing the relationship of the germ Helibacter pylori and the peptic ulcer disease (and winning a Nobel Prize by the way): Barry J. Marshall.  Hearing the story of how he did that (with co-author J. Robin Warren) was sublime! C'mon, that's the story I tell each semester to my young Medicine students... but charismatically told by the protagonist himself!
Barry J. Marshall
From Marshall B. Helicobacter connections. ChemMedChem 2006; 1: 783-802
OK, saying "to meet" is not exactly accurate... once he finished his lecture, most of the audience gathered around him to speak with him and get some photos; it was crowded!  However, I ran across him the night before at the welcome cocktail and got a nice photo with a legend. Not only that, I found out that he is a blogger too (check his blog: What I know and what I think I know).  He has not posted for a while, but to have something in common with a Nobel Prize winner is something special.... just another reason to keep blogging!

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