Fulbright Academy of Minimally Invasive Surgery TTT Program for developing countries

Inspired and supported by Prof. Diego Gonzalez Rivas, the world-renowned Uniportal VATS guru. Fulbright Medical initiated the Fulbright Academy of Minimally Invasive Surgery TTT (Train The Trainers) Program in July 2019, with a common expectation of bringing advanced surgical technics and affordable medical hardware to practicing surgeons in developing countries, but unfortunately have less resources to carry out their practice.  


The aim of the program was to organize VATS Master Classes in 25 developing countries or regions in the coming five years.


Since the kick-off session in Myanmar in October 2019, where the 1st thoracoscopic surgery was historically executed by Diego and local Myanmar surgeons, the program has so far been successfully implemented in more than 10 countries, including: Laos, Myanmar, Algeria, Palestine, Djibouti, Cote D 'Ivoire, Lebanon, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Guatemala, etc. 

1 / 2

1st uniportal VATS case in Laos, 3rd Jan. 2020

In Laos, a small southeastern Asian country surrounded by China, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, medical resources are generally known as extremely scarce. It is hard to imagine that all surgeries had been done were OPEN until 2020  - not a single surgeon had been trained to perform video-assisted-surgey, and patients in this country could only travel to Thailand for basic image diagnosis for surgey.

In January 2020, there introduced are the newest and most professional surgical technique in Thoracic Surgery during the 1st Laos Uniportal Mastercalss directed by Prof.Diego Gonzalez Rivas who led a team to perform the 1st Uniportal VATS at the Lao People's 103 Army Hospital, which was actually the first thorascopic case in Laos’ history.

Only with the basic OR facilities, prof.Diego handled it skillfully and demonstrated to all the surgeons in the OR his well-acclaimed uniportal approach with a single incision. This masterclass was open to surgeons of all levels, whether they are experienced doctors, freshmen who had just entered the OR, or even medical students from schools.

A new door is open for the young generation of surgeons, pursuing new surgical technologies with great enthusiasm. The pioneering strength of Prof. Diego has inspired numerous young blood for decades to come. The successful completion of the first Uniportal VATS in Laos has no doubtedly become a milestone in the history of minimally invasive surgery in Laos.

1st uniportal VATS case in Gaza, 19th Dec. 2020

The pandemic has largely impacted the world, especially in poor cities under siege such as Gaza. Nobody can go in, nobody can go out.

After overcoming the unexpected visa problem and passing 3 checkpoints including Hamas militants, Dr. Diego eventually managed to enter gaza strip. 10 cases were prepared for Dr. Diego’s visit to Gaza and 5 of the patients were tested positive just one day before the surgery. What’s more irritating is that electricity went off during operations. After the operation, one of the patients waked up and said, “Thanks God, I can breath now.” Maybe this is just the meaning why Dr. Diego came to Gaza despite of so many difficulties.

I’d like to help people, I’d like to teach what I know, I’d like to share knowledge, I’d like to go places to meet all the cultures, to learn from them, to explore the world, especially doing surgery and helping patients in places where they need, in the poorest places. It is what made me feel  happier. Thanks to our visit, we can improve little bit the life quality of the patient.