In April 2017, Ana Rukavina Foundation announced the third public tender for professional training this time for young resident doctors or specialists in pediatrics at Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital, Utrecht, The Netherlands for 3 months, and 3 months at The Great North Children’s Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.
At the tender was chosen dr. Nevenka Cigrovski, a pediatric resident employed at University Hospital Centre Zagreb.
1. Dr. Cigrovski, for starters, tell us something about yourself, your career so far, and your education.
I graduated from the Faculty of Medicine in Zagreb. I was already interested in pediatrics during my medical studies, so as a part of my student exchanges I stayed at children’s wards abroad (the United Kingdom and Switzerland). Today I work as a specialist of pediatrics at KBC Zagreb (Rebro).
2. What motivated you to apply for the public tender of Ana Rukavina Foundation for professional training?
My area of interest is hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in children (especially in children with congenital immunodeficiencies) so the Ana Rukavina Foundation’s public tender fully suited my affinities and I applied to it with great enthusiasm.
3. What do you expect from your six months of professional training at Universal Medical Center Utrecht (Netherlands) and Newcastle University (United Kingdom)?
I expect that I will learn from the best experts and that upon returning to Croatia, I will be able to apply as much as possible in the treatment of our patients. Besides, I hope that the contacts I will make during my professional development will help me address the future challenges that I will face
when treating children in Croatia who needs a hematopoietic stem cell transplant.
4. Who will be your mentor?
Both mentors are world-renowned experts and are among the best in their field. Dr. Jaap Jan Boelens of UMC Utrecht is an expert in transplanting hematopoietic stem cells in children, including children with congenital metabolic diseases. Dr. Andy Gennery, my mentor at Newcastle and Professor Andrew Cant, deal with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in children with congenital immunodeficiencies.
5. Tell us a bit more about the program itself, what exactly will you be doing at Universal Medical Center Utrecht (Netherlands) and Newcastle University (United Kingdom) in the next half year?
I will spend the first part of my professional development at UMC Utrecht, where I will be involved in the work of their blood donor stem cell transplant team. In addition to working in sterile units, I will attend professional and scientific meetings of this team. The second part of my professional development will be at Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle, a leading European center for primary immunodeficiency treatments with an outstanding international reputation, where among children from the United Kingdom, children from Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East are also transplanted.
6. How can this help to patients in Croatia when you get back?
Given that so far many children with metabolic diseases and some congenital immunodeficiencies have gone to get transplant abroad, it will also mean a lot to patients and their families that they will be able to be treated in Croatia in the future. This is also a great saving for the Croatian healthcare system, which bears the cost of treatment.
7. In your opinion, how important are these kinds of public tenders, such as the one from Ana Rukavina Foundation, for professional training of young doctors, especially hematologists?
The funds allocated by the Ana Rukavina Foundation for professional development abroad are a true investment in the future of Croatian healthcare. These educations are an excellent opportunity for our young doctors, but also a great contribution to the future of the entire Croatian healthcare system.
8. And for the end, what is your message for everyone who follows the work of Ana Rukavina Foundation and what can they expect when you come back to Croatia?
I will endeavor to contribute as much as possible to the advancement of care for children in need of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation through the acquired knowledge and experience.