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Tiago Villanueva

Tiago Villanueva: Medical education and healthcare in the Philippines

5 Mar, 14 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaMy Filipino roots and family ties usually take me to the Philippines once a year, but this year my trip was unusual as I had the chance to make contact with the local healthcare and medical education system. This was all unplanned as a relative has been receiving hospital treatment and I ended up visiting a private hospital in the Philippine capital—Metro Manila. I also ended up unexpectedly being invited to give a presentation at one of Metro Manila’s medical schools. more…

Tiago Villanueva: Are vegetarian diets better for health?

5 Feb, 14 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaOne might think that vegetarian diets are better for one’s health, but that is not necessarily the case, as it is possible to be vegetarian and consume predominantly “empty calories” like French fries or biscuits. But balanced and appropriately planned vegetarian diets could make a considerable difference to one’s health, according to Annemarie Ijkema, a project manager for the Thursday Veggie day campaign, set up by the Belgium based non-profit organization Ethical Vegetarian Alternative (EVA), which has been launched in several cities in Belgium. She was recently in London for a breakfast seminar at the King’s Fund organized by C3 Collaborating for Health. In general, she said, these diets have fewer saturated fatty acids and less cholesterol, and greater amounts of fibre, folate, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and carotenoids. They also lead to a decrease in the incidence of obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and type II diabetes. more…

Tiago Villanueva: What have I learnt from dealing with an in-flight medical emergency?

28 Nov, 13 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaRecently I was confronted with a medical emergency on board a short haul to Europe. The problem was a case of syncope, which is the most common in-flight medical emergency.

It was the first time I heard the phrase “Is there a doctor on board?” and I was apparently the only doctor on that flight. I learnt quite a lot from the experience, and it has made me think about what I should do now to be as prepared as possible in case this happens again, considering that I fly very often.

So, what I have learned exactly from this experience? more…

Tiago Villanueva: Is active travel good for health?

14 Nov, 13 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaIf you thought Australia was the envy of the rest of the world in terms of having the most physically active people, think again. Peter McCue, executive officer for the New South Wales Premier’s Council for Active Living, recently gave a talk entitled, “Walk hand in hand: health and transport collaborations,” organised by C3 Collaborating for Health. According to him, Australia is actually a car based society comparable with the United States rather than with countries like the Netherlands or Denmark, where active travel (walking or cycling to work) is quite established, or with cities like London, where run-commuting (running to work) is popular. more…

Tiago Villanueva: Should medical students spend time in resource poor settings?

25 Oct, 13 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaI believe firmly in the importance of medical students and doctors engaging in international experiences, and in the international mobility of doctors. So I decided to go along to a conference on the 11 October, organised by the Medical Schools Council entitled, “Working together for ethical, educational, and safe placements at home and abroad.”

In the United Kingdom, medical students are entitled to carry out an “elective,” which usually comprises spending a few weeks or months towards the end of medical school learning or working in another country’s health system. According to Ben Kummwenda, who works in the University of Dundee’s Responsible Electives Programme, around 6500 students in the UK go on electives every year, and 50% go to resource poor countries. The average time of an elective is around six weeks. more…

Tiago Villanueva: The obesity epidemic in Mexico

9 Oct, 13 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaI recently learned that about 38% of the calories consumed by pregnant women in Mexico comes from the consumption of sugary drinks, like sodas. Mexico also has the highest consumption of Coca-cola per capita of anywhere else in the world. Not surprisingly, Mexico also has the highest growth of obesity rates in the world. Mexico’s geographical proximity to the United States does not appear to help, since the highest prevalence of being overweight and obese is in male adolescents who have migrated to the United States.

Homero Martinez, a paediatrician and a senior researcher at the RAND corporation, who is originally from Mexico, was recently at a breakfast seminar in central London organised by the NGO C3 Collaborating for Health. He was there to present the results of the most recent national health and nutrition survey which took place in 2012 (he stressed he had no involvement with the survey, so the results are not his). This survey encompassed 50 528 households in 32 Mexican states, which amounts to 194 923 individuals (Mexico has a population of around 115 million people). more…

Tiago Villanueva: How can doctors avoid becoming deskilled whilst working in non-clinical roles?

24 Sep, 13 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaMy main concern about working in a fulltime non-clinical position is becoming a less competent doctor by the time I start to see patients again (whenever and wherever that is). Doctors need to continually see patients and to regularly study and manage their own needs of Continuous Medical Education (CME) to avoid becoming deskilled, particularly in surgical specialties, where deskilling is even more of a problem.

Working as an editor in a medical journal probably helps to some extent to make up for the loss of patient contact and certainly to a greater extent than other non-clinical roles for doctors like research jobs or working for pharma. Part of the nature of a medical editing job is to be up to date with the latest developments in clinical medicine, and inevitably I thus spend a lot of my time at work reading education articles and research papers and indirectly becoming updated. I wish I had as much time as I do now to keep up to date when I was working full time and long hours as a clinician. Most of the time I have dedicated over the past few years reading and attending CME events came at the cost of my own downtime, evenings, and weekends. Trying to remain up to date, competent, and fit to practise is extremely challenging. more…

Tiago Villanueva: Am I happy about leaving Portugal and clinical medicine?

21 Aug, 13 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaAbout a month ago, I left my family, friends, and comfort zone in Portugal to take up the job of BMJ editorial registrar at The BMJ‘s editorial office in London.

You might think that I’m just another of the many doctors trying to escape the Southern European misery and grim career perspectives. more…

Tiago Villanueva: Why does Brazil want to recruit doctors from Spain and Portugal?

27 Jun, 13 | by BMJ Group

Tiago_VillanuevaI recently met up with a Portuguese friend who works as a researcher and doctor in New York. She has an immense passion for Brazil and told me she would love to work there if she gets the opportunity to. Portuguese media have recently been flooded with reports that Brazil is considering recruiting doctors from Portugal and Spain as it is not training enough doctors to meet its needs.

According to a report by the Brazilian Ministry of Health, in the last ten years there were 146 867 posts available for doctors in Brazil, but only 93 156 doctors graduated during that period. more…

Tiago Villanueva: The worrying future for junior doctors in Portugal

30 May, 13 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaThe future of junior doctors’s careers in Portugal has recently been all over national television. It comes just a few weeks after I blogged about the potential brain drain of doctors in Portugal. It has all come to head because of a recent conference organised by the “Association of Junior Doctors” and the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto entitled “What is the future for junior doctors?” which has been widely picked up and discussed in the media. more…

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