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The Exeter Surgical Society launched the conference this month

Huge success for student-led plastic surgery conference

Exeter Medicine students had huge success this month with the first ever South West Plastic Surgery Conference, aimed at helping students develop skills and maximize opportunities in the field of plastic surgery.

The conference, organised by the Exeter Surgical Society (ExeSS), took place at the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital on 5th May and welcomed almost 50 students from across the South West, with over a dozen surgeons and surgical trainees helping to enrich students’ knowledge of the plastic surgery specialty.

ExeSS President, Waheed-Ul-Rahman Ahmed (3rd year) founded and chaired the conference with Events Coordinator Miriam Beattie (2nd year). The pair presented the idea at the Association of Surgeons in Training’s (ASiT) first-ever ‘Battle of the Student Surgical Societies’ competition in Edinburgh this April. They fought off opposition from Universities of Edinburgh and Swansea to claim the winning title and a grant of £500 towards the conference.

The society secured over £3000 in funding for the conference, principally being awarded a grant of £1400 from the Exeter Alumni Annual Fund, and a £300 small grant award from the University of Exeter Students’ Guild.

The conference was hosted by Mr Vikram Devaraj, Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon and Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School. Mr Devaraj said: “A good teacher will attempt to ignite the imagination, instil a love of learning and inspire the learner. When students themselves initiate the activity, the process becomes simple. Medical School students conceived, organised, funded and ran an incredible day with abundant opportunities to learn and practice new skills to last a lifetime. My colleagues and I felt privileged to be part of it.”

Waheed said: “Plastic surgery is one of, if not the most, competitive surgical specialties, and with the increasingly earlier specialisation in medical training, it’s essential that students are equipped early to access this specialty and make their CVs stand out.

“We therefore wanted to create an opportunity for students in the South West to have access to local undergraduate plastic surgery opportunities. This is the first conference in the South West, and one of only two other similar plastic surgery courses nationally. We hope it will provide a lasting legacy and enhance future opportunities for Exeter Surgical Society members and Exeter Medicine students, and indeed students from the whole of the South West.”

It’s been a busy couple of months for Waheed, who won three poster prizes this spring. Waheed received first place prizes for his presentations at the South West Orthopaedic Conference in March and at the Plymouth Undergraduate Surgeons Annual Conference in April. He also came runner-up at the National Surgical Conference organised by the Universities of Cardiff and Swansea’s surgical societies.

Date: 16 May 2018

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