The American Austrian Foundation

NEWSLETTER November 2018

1. VIENNA CITY OF SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM, New York, November 16, 2018

The fourth Vienna City of Science Symposium was organized by AAF and the Vienna Science and Technology Fund and took place on Friday, November 16, 2018 at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.

Augustine Choi, MD (Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM)), Wolfgang Aulitzky, MD (Associate Dean for International Medicine and Distance Learning (WCM)), Hugh C. Hemmings, Jr., MD, PhD (Senior Associate Dean for Research (WCM)) and Georg Stingl, MD, PhD (Chairman Emeritus, Division of Immunology, Allergy & Infectious Diseases (DIAID)), Department of Dermatology, Medical University of Vienna) hosted this year’s Symposium.

The 2018 topic was ”Molecular Medicine from Immunodefiency to COPD“. THe Presenters were Augustine Choi, MD, ”COPD: Old and New Pathways“; Kaan Boztug, MD (Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases) ”Inborn Errors of Human Immunity - from Genomics to Targeted Therapies“; Fernando Martinez, MD (Chief Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York) ”COPD: How does our Scientific Understanding inform Therapeutic Decisions“ and Thomas Wekerle, MD (Professor of Transplantation Immunology, Medical University of Vienna), ”Immunological Tolerance in Organ Transplantation“.

Please see the program details here.

2. SAVE the DATE Music for Medicine Concert and Dinner Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Open Medical Institute

On December 10, 2018, at 7:00pm members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Martin Kubik, Alexander Steinberger, Martin Lemberg and Jan Ryska) will perform music by Anton Dvorak and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at Zankell Hall at Carnegie Hall. The concert will be followed by dinner, a live auction and a raffle drawing benefitting the Salzburg Weill Cornell Seminars of the OMI.

For more information, please call +1-212.856.1075 or email

3. 25th Anniversary Celebration of the OMI, November 19, 2018, Vienna

The Austrian Minister of Education, Science and Research, Dr. Heinz Fassmann invited the Open Medical Institute’s faculty members and academic partners to a 25th anniversary celebration, honoring George Soros on Monday, November 19, 2018. The ceremony took place in the Ministry’s Grand Ceremonial Hall and was followed by a brunch.

Speakers were: Minister Dr. Heinz Fassmann, George Soros, Dr. Wolfgang Aulitzky, Rector Michael Müller (Medical University of Vienna) and Vice-Dean Dr. Michael G. Stewart (Weill Cornell Medicine, New York)

4. Vienna SCHOOL OF MEDICINE GALA 2018, October 15, 2018

This year’s Vienna School of Medicine Gala took place on October 15th in the historic van Swieten Saal of the Medical University of Vienna. Drs. Ernst Wolner and Günther Laufer spoke on the history of and advances in Cardiac Surgery and Dr. Josef Smolen on incredible discoveries made in Vienna to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis.

The event was organized by the Vienna OMI, the Josephinum Museum and the Medical University Vienna. For more information on the Gala and photos please follow this link:

From L-R: Prof. Dr. Ernst Wolner, Prof. Dr. Ilse Krebs, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Aulitzky, Prof. Dr. Gerald Maurer

Dr. Günther Laufer

5. Max Kade Clinical Clerkship Testimonial

Luisa Kleinheinrich, Max Kade Clinical Clerkship

The Max Kade Clinical Clerkship is a one-month clerkship for fourth year medical students from our partner universities: Weill Cornell Medical College, George Washington University, and the University of Pennsylvania, to spend a 4-week rotation at the General Hospital Vienna. In exchange, selected Austrian medical students are given the opportunity to complete a 4 to 8-week rotation at our US partner universities, thanks to the support of the Max Kade Foundation

Luisa Kleinheinrich (Medical University of Vienna) participated in the Max Kade Fellowship Program in Bone Marrow Transplantation at Weill Cornell Medical College - New York Presbyterian Hospital from July 30th to August 26th, 2018. She gave us insight into her experiences and how they have influenced her professional development:

 “I completed a 4-week rotation at the Department of Bone Marrow Transplant at the New York Presbyterian Hospital in August 2018. I was incredibly impressed with the level of time and knowledge the doctors put into their patients. This level of knowledge and the aim to give every patient the best treatment possible based on the latest papers and research is something I really want to incorporate into my own thinking and my own future work as a doctor. The Max Kade clinical clerkship is a unique opportunity to experience one of the leading Medical Universities in the world.”

6. Andlinger Residency Exchange Fellowship Testimonial

"The Andlinger Residency Exchange provided the opportunity to experience firsthand medicine and surgery at Vienna General Hospital. The attendings and residents I worked with at theencouraged learning through participation, meetings, and thoughtful discussions. As a result, the time I spent in Vienna revealed some of the similarities and differences between the medical practices of Austria and the United States. This program fosters the exchange of ideas and information between institutions, which can serve as the basis for future collaboration." - Caitlin McIntyre, General Surgery Resident at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medicine, participated in the Andlinger Residency Exchange at AKH in Vienna from October 8-19, 2018.

3rd from left: Caitlin A. McIntyre, MD

7. Humes Visiting Professorship in Neurosurgery

The Humes Visiting Professorship is a bilateral exchange and is awarded to course directors of the Salzburg Medical Seminars. Each professor visits his/her colleague’s institution and gives two lectures on cutting edge developments in their field. The program fosters closer relationships between Austrian and American departments through exchange of professors and exchange of their residents through the Andlinger Residency Exchange Fellowship Program of the AAF.

The 2018 Humes Visiting Professorship in Neurosurgery was awarded to Dr. Roger Haertl and Dr. Claudius Thomé.

Dr. Roger Haertl, Professor of Neurological Surgery and Director of Spinal Surgery at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center in New York, visited the Medical University of Innsbruck in Austria on September 28th. He is the founder and Director of the Weill Cornell Medicine Center for Comprehensive Spine Care and serves as the Neurosurgeon for the New York Giants Football Team.

Dr. Claudius Thome was Grand Rounds guest at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center in New York and delivered his lecture on Monday, October 29th. Dr. Claudius Thomé is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, Medical University Innsbruck Professor. He currently serves as a board member of the Austrian Society of Neurosurgery, the German Spine Society and AO Spine Europe.

To learn more about the program, please click here.

From L-R:  Dr. Roger Haertl and Dr. Claudius Thomé

8. OMI Annual Report 2017

“2017 was a successful year for the Open Medical Institute (OMI) training the highest number of fellows (1305) in a single year, bringing the total to 20,560 fellows from 121 countries. In a recent survey, OMI alumni rated content, importance and value of the seminars overwhelmingly positively. Many OMI alumni are now in leadership positions and have established international professional partnerships, which are documented by numerous scientific publications. These success stories prove that the OMI’s concept of offering multiple short-term fellowships, tailored to the needs of clinicians and their patients from countries in transition, can stem brain drain and build capacity.
We are proud to report several achievements in 2017.

1. We signed an agreement with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which guarantees their academic sponsorship in the future. The Leir Charitable Foundation agreed to continue their financial support until 2023, which allows us to further develop the OMI leadership program. Similar to the Gerhard Andlinger Professorship at Weill Cornell Medicine, we will be able to establish the Center for International Pediatric Education at CHOP.

2. We celebrated the 10th anniversary of our collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic.

3. We launched OMI-MEX in partnership with AMSA (Alianza Médica para la Salud) in Mexico City. This joint initiative, with major funding provided by AAF board member Pablo Legorreta, enables the OMI to offer academic medical education to physicians in Mexico and other Latin American countries, where the gap between health services offered to privileged and the underprivileged is growing

4. We are proud to announce our collaboration with the Pasteur Institute, France and Maastricht University, Netherlands. Both institutions are leaders in their fields, and will strengthen our academic offerings in global health, epidemiology and medical leadership.

We continue to support doctors from Africa, in particular from Weill-Bugando in Tanzania and from Hamad in Qatar, where Weill Cornell Medicine has initiated groundbreaking educational efforts. It is a privilege to serve the Open Medical Institute of the AAF and I would like to thank all the faculty members and their institutions whose enormous efforts and enthusiasm make its success possible.” - Wolfgang Aulitzky, MD

Please click here to find the Annual Report 2017

9. OMI Seminar Review - June to November 2018

From January through November 2018, the OMI (Open Medical Institute) conducted 38 seminars and 1116 fellows attended the Salzburg Medical seminars. A huge thank you to our academic partners and sponsors.

For an overview of the 2018 OMI seminars, please follow this link:

For an overview of the upcoming OMI seminars 2019, please click here.

Salzburg Columbia University Internal Medicine Seminar, August 26 - September 1, 2018

Faculty and Fellows
Course Director: Dr. Joseph Tenenbaum (Columbia University)
Co-Course Director: Dr. Michael Trauner (Medical University of Vienna)


Salzburg CHOP General Pediatrics Seminar, September 9 - 15, 2018

Faculty and Fellows
Course Director: Dr. Philip Scribano (Children´s Hospital of Philadelphia)
Co-Course Director: Dr. Reinhold Kerbl (Hospital Leoben)


Salzburg Weill Cornell/ IAS Lipid Metabolism Seminar, September 16 - 22, 2018

Faculty and Fellows
Course Director: Dr. Antonio M. Gotto (Weill Cornell Medicine)
Co-Course Director: Dr. Philipp Barter (IAS/ International Atheroslcerosis Society)


Salzburg Weill Cornell Surgery Seminar, September 30 - October 6, 2018

Faculty and Fellows
Course Director: Dr. Michael Lieberman (Weill Cornell Medicine)
Co-Course Director: Dr. Michael Gnant (Medical University of Vienna)


Salzburg Chronic Inflammatory Skin Diseases Seminar, October 7-13, 2018

Faculty and Fellows
Course Director: Dr. Georg Stingl (Vienna)
Co-Course Director: Dr. James. G. Krueger (Rockefeller University)


Salzburg Weill Cornell Diagnostic Imaging Seminar, October 14 - 20, 2018

Faculty and Fellows
Course Director: Dr. David Trost (Weill Cornell Medicine)
Co-Course Director: Dr. Franz Kainberger (Medical University of Vienna)


Salzburg CHOP Neonatology Seminar, October 21-27, 2018

Faculty and Fellows
Course Director: Dr. Eric Eichenwald (Children´s Hospital of Philadelphia)
Co-Course Director: Dr. Berndt Urlesberger (Medical University of Graz)


Salzburg Weill Cornell Otolaryngology Seminar, October 28 - November 3, 2018

Faculty and Fellows
Course Director: Dr. Michael G. Stewart (Weill Cornell Medicine)
Co-Course Director: Dr. Gerhard Rasp (General Hospital Salzburg)


Salzburg Weill Cornell Rehabilitation Medicine Seminar, November 4-10, 2018

Faculty and Fellows
Course Director: Dr. Michael O´Dell (Weill Cornell Medicine)
Co-Course Director: Dr. Elisabeth Preisinger (Vienna)

10. OMI MEX Seminar, Breast Cancer: Less and Safe, June 11-12, 2018

From June 11 - 12, faculty from MSKCC (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia, and others came together to share methods to improve the situation of patients with breast cancer.

“Breast cancer stands out as the primary cause of death due to tumor in emerging countries, where most cases are diagnosed in advanced stages, hindering their successful treatment. In Mexico, breast cancer represents the first cause of death due to cancer in women, with an incidence of 35.4 cases per 100,000 women. The median age at diagnosis is 51 years, an age where women are productive personally and economically. Mortality from breast cancer has increased in recent years in Mexico and the world, having a significant social impact. This trend will rise in future years due to the high incidence of the disease, the aging population, the challenges in timely diagnosis and the inadequate response capacity of the health systems of underdeveloped countries. The objective of this seminar is to contribute to the improvement of timely detection, and correct treatment through continuing medical education focused on the patient, as this affects society, the family, work life and the economy.” (AMSA – Alianza Medica para la Salud)

This OMI-MEX Seminar covered topics ranging from the diagnosis, treatment, and assessment, to hormonal treatment and fertility, survivorship and palliative care. 48 physicians from 16 institutions participated in this seminar.

Sitting from L-R: Diana Lake (Seminar Director) (MSKCC), Becky Sáenz (AMSA), Enrique Bargalló (Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia), Milagros Pérez (Instituto Nacional de Perinatologia) and Robin Shaw (Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia)
Standing from L-R: Leopoldo Lugo (Hospital Materno Celaya), Elvis Cabrera (ISSSTE), Fernando Mainero (IMSS Gineco 4, CDMX), Carlos Navarro (CENTRO Medico ABC), Abelardo Meneses (Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia), Ángel Herrera (Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia), Jaime Corona (Seminar Co-Director) (Centro Oncologico Guadalajaro), Martín Granados (Mexican Council of Oncology), Raúl Ramírez and Gabriel Santiago (Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia)

Faculty and Fellows

11. Satellite Symposium in Mexico, Neurology, October 4-5, 2018

From October 4-5, 2018 Dr. Dara Jamieson and Dr. Ehud Lavi (Weill Cornell Medicine, New York) visited Mexico to share their knowledge and methods to improve patient care.
This two-day conference will help neurologists and non-neurologists update themselves on various general neurology topics, with an emphasis on epilepsy, headache, dementia and paraneoplastic syndromes.

The main goals of the symposium are:
• To discuss and exchange experiences and concepts with the faculty
• To strengthen and promote bonding between affiliated physicians and residents, as well as foster collaboration among residents
• To introduce the Open Medical Institute and the organization Alianza Médica para la Salud

36 physicians from 16 institutions participated in this seminar. The topics covered ranged from the practical approach to a paraneoplastic in Mexico, to diabetic neuropathy and epilepsy.

Faculty and Fellows

12. Observership in Vienna: A Testimonial by Dr. Hayder Mohammad, September, 2018

Dr. Hayder Mohammad completed his one-month (September 3-28 2018) observership in Vienna, and shared his experience with us:

“It was a wonderful thing to have such an opportunity to be an observer in one of Austria´s hospitals. It was my second observership. The first one was in Graz.
I’ve found both observerships were interesting and a great benefit for my specialty. I’ve learned many things and I’ve applied most of them in my hospital which helps saving lives of the people in my country.
All the hospital staff was cooperative, gentle, scientific and trying their best to help me during the observership.

Everything was prepared perfectly by the AAF staff, from arriving in Austria to my departure back home. They were always ready to help and to provide information and support, and the welcome letter contained useful information, answering all possible questions.
The apartment was perfectly located, clean, tidy, with proper size and containing all mandatory things needed.

In addition to that, the foundation arranged many activities starting from taking me around to the Josephinum, a city tour, a seminar in the Medical Club, a public health workshop, a biomedical workshop and a dinner with a discussion of my experiences as an observer. These activities were wonderful, and I think it is a great idea to have such activities during the observership.

The Austrian people are nice, gentle, educated and ready to help when we asked them. Austrian history is interesting and great, especially the medical history that we were told about at a seminar in the Billroth Medical Club. There were great physicians and surgeons in Austrian medical history. Austria has great doctors also in present time and a well-organized health care system.

Really it was a great experience, and I would like to express my gratefulness to the Foundation and to all staff of the AAF, especially Carina who did a great job, and to all other employees of the foundation in addition to my mentor and to all staff of the paediatrics department in AKH hospital.

With all regards and great thanks”- Dr. Hayder Mohammad (Shar Teaching Hospital /Department of Pediatrics, Sulaymaneyah, Iraq)

13. Success Story: Implementation of Austrian Multi Modal Scheme in Armenia

by Arman Arutyunyan (OMI fellow)
“Since December 2016 the Multi-modal 3 Component NEC Prophylaxis scheme (developed in the University Clinic of Graz by Professor Berndt Urlesberger) has been implemented in "Muratsan" University Clinical Complex of Yerevan State Medical University (YSMU) for the treatment of Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Newborns. During 2017 the mortality rate in newborns decreased 16 percent. The percentage of NEC cases in NICU has decreased by 50%.

All this is thanks to the invaluable help and support of the OMI that organized my 2 months observership at the University Clinic of Graz. The culmination of this was a two-day conference organized by the OMI and held in the "Red Hall" of YSMU, where more than 200 doctors and students attended the lectures of Professor Urlesberger, Professor Sargsyan and local researchers. A special feature of the conference was the fact that it was broadcast online to 5 regional hospitals. Participation in the conference was free of charge with the issuance of accredited certificates. Of particular note is the help of Astghik Markosyan in organizing the visit of Professor Urlesberger to Armenia.

Today, both practical and scientific cooperation between our specialists continues. In the future, it is planned to publish joint articles in international scientific journals.”

All our joint achievements were carefully analyzed and presented at various international conferences. Today, we closely cooperate with our Austrian colleagues - Professor Berndt Urlesberger, Professor Emir Haxhija and Professor Karine Sargsyan.

14. OMI Visiting Professorhip: Dr. Michael G. Stewart Visits Croatia

From November 4-5, 2018 Prof. Dr. Michael G. Stewart (Weill Cornell Medicine) visited the Department of Ear, Nose and Neck Surgery at the University Hospital Centre in Zagreb, Croatia. 53 participants attended.

Marcel Marjanović Kavanagh OMI fellow), who organized the symposium stated:
“Everyone was very satisfied with the symposium and organization. […] since the vast majority of the auditorium were younger doctors and residents, for some it was the first time to listen a first class talk about otolaryngology topic. Some of them were also interested in applying for OMI- AAF program since it was for some of them the first time they heard of it.”

From L-R: Dr. Michael G. Stewart and Dr. Marcel Marjanović Kavanagh

15. Award Ceremony at the Austrian Consulate General, New York, October 3, 2018

Generalkonsul Helmut Böck awarded Dr. Hugh C. Hemmings Jr., Dr. Russell E. Windsor, Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, Dr. James D. Callahan, Dr. Peter N. Schlegel and Dr. Michael G. Stewart with the Austrian Cross of Merit at the Austrian Consulate General on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018 for their long-lasting commitment towards the American Austrian Foundation (AAF).

Generalkonsul Helmut Böck with Dr. Zev Rosenwaks

From L to R: Dr. Hugh C. Hemmings Jr., Dr. Peter N. Schlegel, Dr. James D. Callahan, Generalkonsul Helmut Böck, Dr. Russell E. Windsor, Dr. Wolfgang Aulitzky and Dr. Michael G. Stewart

16. 2018 Salzburg Trilogue supported by the Bertelsmann Stiftung

The 17th Trilogue entitled „Reviving Democracy in a Fragmented World - Not Attractive Anymore or still a Success Story? “took place in Salzburg from August 29–30, 2018. The symposium focused on the question of whether republican democracy remains the uncontested and undisputed form of government as postulated in the last decade. Renowned personalities from business, politics and the arts took the opportunity to discuss and define „the essence of democracy”. Liz Mohn, the Vice Chairwoman of the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Executive Board and Chairwoman of the Bertelsmann Management Company, Gütersloh, Germany and Dr. Wolfgang Schüssel, the former Austrian Federal Chancellor, initiator of the Trilogue hosted the opening dinner at Schloss Arenberg.

The conference strives for an exchange of ideas and publishes its conclusions - „Salzburg Recommendations “, which are sent to the European Commission, the European Council and its members - calling for action. Moreover, these recommendations are the basis for the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s socio-political work, which are incorporated into their programming. For further information, please click here.

17. Opera Camps at Schloss Arenberg, Summer 2018

During the Salzburg Festival Season, Schloss Arenberg opened its doors for musicians and artists. Annual highlights are the Opera Camps for children, organized by Hanne Muthspiel-Payer with members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Children between the age of ten to sixteen spend a week with senior musicians and educators creating their own version of classical operas. The camps provide a unique opportunity for children to realize their ideas and to get a glimpse behind the scenes of an opera production.

This year, Schloss Arenberg hosted three one-week Opera Camps for more than 130 children. The children came from 20 different countries. This year’s program featured Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera “Die Zauberflöte”, Hans Werner Henze‘s “The Bassarids” and “The Pique Dame” of Pjotr Iljitsch Tschaikowski. At the end of each camp, the children performed in one of the theaters in Salzburg, presenting their work of art to the audience.

To have some visual insights of the opera camps 2018, please see the video .

„The Bassarids“ (photo credit: Günther Wild)

„The Bassarids“(photo credit: Günther Wild)

„The Pique Dame“ (photo credit: Günther Wild)

„Die Zauberflöte“ (photo credit: Günther Wild)

18. Galerie Leica - Josef Pausch: New Exhibition at Schloss Arenberg, Salzburg, November 17, 2018

„Sichtbares und Unsichtbares “(Josef Pausch) - Visible and Invisible- is the title of the new exhibition at Schloss Arenberg, from November 2018 until April 2019.

For more information click here:

Josef Pausch - Japan 1997