International Fellowships Support Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery



The International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (IAOMS) Foundation has awarded its 2016-2017 Fellowships to Dr. Ignacio Velasco Martinez of Puerto Rico, Dr. Timothy Aladelusi of Nigeria, and Dr. Ahmed Maki Merza of Iraq. The organization also reports that it received a record number of applications this year from more than 30 different countries.

The IAOMS Foundation launched the fellowship program in 2009 to immerse resident and trainee surgeons in their specialty to advance their knowledge and skills while experiencing an unmatched cultural opportunity. The one-year fellowship begins on September 1 and ends the following August.

“The volume of applications received this year speaks to the need for training in oral and maxillofacial surgery on a global level. These candidates will experience a year of refining their surgical skills and learning new ones,” said IAOMS Fellowship program director Dr. G. E. Ghali.

“This fellowship experience will positively impact their ability to practice these much needed procedures in very underserved regions of their respective countries. Many are attached to training programs that should also benefit all involved,” Ghali said. “In turn, for IAOMS and the oral and maxillofacial surgery community, this additional exposure further solidifies our relevance and role in global oral healthcare.”

As the recipient of the KLS Martin Fellowship in Oncology and Reconstructive Surgery, Velasco Martinez will spend a year at Peking University School & Hospital of Stomatology in Beijing under the guidance of professor Guang-yan Yu.

“I am especially interested in free-flap microsurgery,” said Velasco Martinez. “After completion of the fellowship, I plan to pursue an academic career in a residency program to teach surgical techniques with solid scientific evidence to future specialists in Chile and Latin America.”

Aladelusi, who received the Fellowship in Oncology and Reconstructive Surgery, will spend a year at Ninth People’s Hosptial in Shanghai under the supervision of professor Zhang Chen-Ping.

“I hope to acquaint myself with the Chinese culture while developing in-depth knowledge and skills in head and neck surgery and exploring opportunities for collaborations toward improving oral and maxillofacial oncological services in Nigeria,” said Aladelusi. “When I return home, I will be able to help many patients who would otherwise be unable to access such specialized care. This training program is a unique gift to the people of Nigeria.”

Maki Merza will take part in the Cleft Lip and Palate and Craniofacial Surgery Fellowship, where he will split a year between Hyderabad and Bangalore in India. He will focus on cleft lip and palate care from infancy through adulthood while teaching comprehensive patient care.

“I hope to gain more experience in preoperative analysis and planning, allowing me to spend more time in the operating room and evaluating postoperative outcomes,” Maki Merza said. “When I return to Iraq, I wish to draw a smile on many children’s faces and support their families because they need exceptional surgical and psychological care and focusing on those who are unable to travel abroad to seek treatment.”

Since the inaugural class of IAOMS Fellows, 21 surgeons have participated in the program, benefitting thousands of patients. Applications for the 2017-2018 Fellowships will open on August 1, 2016.

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