Candan Kendir Copurlar: Reflections from WONCA World Conference in Rio

I feel privileged to attend to 21st WONCA World Conference in Rio de Janeiro as one of the WONCA Europe Bursary Winners. It gave me the chance to improve myself professionally by joining the keynote pannels, the workshops and the presentations of experienced doctors. Beside this, I had the opportunity to gather with young doctors coming from the different countries around the world and we shared our thoughts and experiences with each other. In addition to my professional development, I also improved myself personally with interrrelationships of different cultures and traditions. I appreciated to make new friendships while meeting with my old friends from VdGM (Vasco da Gama Movement).  Moreover, needless to say, I enjoyed the every moment in Rio de Janeiro with the amazing beaches, the sightseeing places, traditions and amazing Brasilians.


In the beginning, before the WONCA Conference, I attended to the Preconference of Waynakay Movement and I facilitated the “Leadership” workshop with my colleagues Dr. Claire Marie Thomas (the president elect of VdGM) and Dr. Andrea Angula (the president of Waynakay Movement). In that workshop, we focused on leadership skills with the participants and shared our thoughts by working as pairs and groups. It was a good opportunity to improve communication skills by exchanging with people who had different beliefs and opinions. After that, I attended the Opening Ceremony of the Conference which was splendid with the speeches of the prominent speakers such as Dr. Michael Kidd (the WONCA World President).


In my point-of-view, the most attractive parts of the conference were the keynote speeches. First of all, I had opinion about the development of Chinese General Practice and I compared their opportunities and challanges with my country’s current situation. Since Turkey is a developing country, our healthcare system also keeps improving and that brings many advantages and disadvantages. After that, in the keynote of Peter Gotzsche, I learnt useful information to use in my own practice about the side effects of the common drugs. Beside these, I really benefit from the keynote speech of Katherine Rouleau. It was an excellent lecture to learn more about the importance and the value of the partnership and networking from individual to the collective. I heard about the “Partnership pentagram” which is essential for health systems based on people’s needs.


In the panel “Social media: the dust settles, it’s time for a reality check”, I improved my knowledge about the advantages and disadvantages of social media. It was beneficial for the beginners with the presentation of Viviana Martinez-Bianchi while adding extra data to use it in order to improve health literacy of people. Moreover, in the oral presentations and the workshops, I heard the experiences of rural physicians in delivering the health services in remote areas. This is an important topic for me because; in my country, all family physicians are obliged to work in rural area at least 1 year after finishing the residency. During that period, the rural physicians face with many challenges and it is beneficial to hear other physician’s experiences to deal with them.


Finally, that conference was especial for me in the meaning of ASPIRE Global Leadership Program which is developed to improve the leadership skills of young physicians. As the Europe Co-Liaison Person of the program, I had the chance to meet with some of the other regional representatives of the program and had the meeting in person. Within that occasion, we exchanged our ideas to improve the program and to increase the number of people who benefit from it.


In conclusion, by attending the 21st WONCA World Conference, I reached to my professional and personal goals for that conference. With the attendance of thousands of physicians and healthcare workers, the conference was a big success to increase the importance of family medicine (FM)/general practice (GP) around the world. I came back to my country with full of hope for the future of our discipline. I have felt the support of thousand of colleagues behind me and that increased my motivation to improve FM/GP in local, national and international level. I’d like to thank to WONCA Europe for making that real!


Candan Kendir Copurlar, MD


ASPIRE Global Leader Program Europe Co-Liaison Person
VdGM Turkey West Side Exchange Coordinator

Dokuz Eylul University Faculty of Medicine
Department of Family Medicine Izmir, Turkey