VAM travel scholarship applications available this month

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Many attendees took part in the resident and medical student reception at VAM 2021 in San Diego

Medical students and general surgery residents will be able to apply this month for travel scholarships to attend the 2022 Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) Vascular Annual Meeting (VAM)—with the application period opening toward the end of the month. The meeting will be June 15–18 in Boston.

SVS offers the SVS General Surgery Resident/Medical Student VAM Travel Scholarship and the SVS Diversity Medical Student VAM Travel Scholarship. Each provides a travel award to underwrite expenses to attend VAM, as well as complimentary meeting registration, a mentorship program and a dedicated educational and networking program.

Diversity scholarship winners also will participate in the Meet the Leaders Luncheon with members of the SVS Leadership Development and Resident and Student Outreach committees and mentors. Priority will be given to those who have not previously received any type of SVS travel scholarship and have not already matched into a vascular surgery training program.

Students who live in the Boston area will not receive the travel award portion of the scholarship but are eligible to participate in the program. Students and residents may apply to each program but are eligible to receive only one award per year.

“These scholarships provide medical students and general surgery residents the opportunity to explore vascular surgery as a career choice,” said Bernadette Aulivola, MD, chair of the SVS Resident and Student Outreach Committee (SROC), which helps oversee the scholarship award process.

“Attending VAM as a student is sometimes the first step toward becoming a vascular surgeon,” said RSOC Co-chair Cassius Iyad Ochoa Chaar, MD. “For students already interested in the field of Vascular Surgery, the experience can provide important affirmation of the decision.”

Aspiring applicants are encouraged to keep an eye on their email inboxes and/or social media for the opening date. More information is available at vascular.org/VAMTravel1 and vascular.org/VAMTravelDiversity.

2012 scholarship recipients discuss the experience

Julia D. Glaser, MD, a fourth-year medical student when she attended the 2012 VAM, is now an academic surgeon within the University of Pennsylvania Health System. “The opportunity to go to VAM as a medical student exposed me to the welcoming community that is vascular surgery,” she said. “The meeting highlighted advances in the specialty with an interesting and engaging program, and I was able to meet medical students as well as trainees and attendings from other parts of the country.”

Matthew Wooster, MD, attended 10 years ago as a fourth-year medical student who had just matched into an integrated vascular program. He’d already decided on vascular surgery, with camaraderie amongst vascular surgeons something he experienced and appreciated even before that annual meeting. That, he said, “definitely attracted me to the field over, say, CT surgery or interventional cardiology.”

“VAM itself was particularly helpful for re-establishing connections with many of the students I saw along the applicant trail and have remained friends with to date, as well as with re-connecting with faculty I met at various programs” he said. I have stayed in touch with them and often reach out to even now whether to participate in national committees or most recently, for career help.”

“Attending VAM as a travel scholarship recipient was important in reinforcing my decision to pursue vascular surgery,” said Doug Jones, MD. “As a general surgery resident, I had enough exposure to the field that I felt a strong affinity to the patient and procedures; I also had very strong mentorship in medical school and residency.

“It was attending VAM, though, that crystallized a few important aspects of the field. As a smaller subspecialty, there is a lot of camaraderie among vascular surgeons and everyone is invested in each other’s success.  I felt very welcomed and was encouraged by all to continue on my path.”

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