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COMET held its 14th International and Interdisciplinary Conference on COMMUNICATION, MEDICINE AND ETHICS at Aalborg University in Denmark. This is one of the most important world conferences dedicated to Medicine, Communication and the Humanities in Medicine.

As Professor Irina Markovina and myself believed that the theme of the conference was of great interest to us and of great importance to the future of Sechenov Medical University in the context of the 5-100 project, we sent an abstract. The International review panel for abstract submissions is composed of an impressive group of experts, and so we were delighted when our abstract “Cross-Cultural Experience of Training Communication Skills for Medical Doctors” was accepted as an oral presentation.

However, since the acceptance of our abstract, there have been many positive changes at Sechenov Medical University, not least my naming as Head of the Academic Writing Office, and so this was a big step forward on the international arena promoting the name of Sechenov and the newly formed AWO.

The whole conference was extremely interesting and I met some interesting and important names from Medical Education, so I was able to do quite a bit of Networking both before and after my oral presentation.

In the presentation, I discussed the success of our British-Spanish-Russian ( Sechenov Medical University) experience of organising international clinical sessions to train professional communication skills, and explained the scientific approaches to the investigation of professional consciousness, including cross-cultural perspective, as well as the very important practical experience of training case presentation skills through international clinical web-sessions. I emphasised the extreme importance of using two experts: a medical doctor and a professional linguist, which Professor Markovina and I believe to be one of the key points that make our project both important and “revolutionary”. I also insisted that this project would be of interest to other bodies, hospitals, university departments and so on, and lead to collaboration and cooperation on an International scale. My last slide said – “Our aim is to share and NOT divide” and “We are open to Collaboration”.

The talk was very well attended and also the attendees were very interested and had taken notice of our main ideas, and also importantly of the last suggestion, as I have begun mail communication with many professionals from different countries: Taiwan, Finland, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland and the UK. I was delighted by the response from the audience but also extremely pleased and honoured to have Professor Dame Lesley Southgate, a professor of Medical Education with an extremely impressive Curriculum, chairing my presentation. She was delighted with my talk and with the work that we are beginning to set in motion in Sechenov, and we have already started e-mail correspondence as to how we can further our collaboration. An interesting and fruitful one, I am sure.

I came away from the conference with a very good feeling, having felt that I had spread the word about the AWO and Sechenov Medical University to positive ears, and now we look forward to publishing an article in the journal of COMET – Communication and Medicine, and also to next year’s conference at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (USA), which I was told is the biggest Medical Faculty in the USA.

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