Gustavo Mantovani - Presidential address -2017
It was an unbelievable surprise and an immeasurable honor my nomination as president of EWAS. My arthroscopy background started on the 2000’s in a wild and not friendly environment at Sao Paulo, Brazil. At that time, 17 years ago, wrist arthroscopy in my country was considered a fancy and expensive technique, with very few indications, criticized by most old local masters of Hand Surgery. To performa wrist arthroscopy in the Bazilian Public Health System at that time, was almost a dream (or a nightmare) and those surgeries were barely approved by the local health insurances companies on the private hospitals. Practical courses with cadaver labs in Brazil simply didn't exist. I had to learn by my own reading books and papers, and practicing on the more simple cases, starting with many “diagnostic” procedures, improvising tractions and equipments…. My first contact with EWAS on 2007, as participant of the Advanced course, was a game changing in my private clinical practice. I was completely transformed by the tons of information and practical tips learned from most experienced surgeons on that field. Since then I could not be apart from that Meca of Wrist Arthroscopy at Strasbourg, France. The incredible group of surgeons, and friends, gathered by Christophe Mathoulin, around a same interest, under the flag of EWAS, started an amazing exploration on this fertile land yet unexplored, world of the wrist arthroscopy.
I was always known by my colleagues and close friends to be a visionary. My spirit is always searching for new ideas, new solutions, looking for a way to solve old problems. It is hard to me to keep a same receipt too long, no matter how victorious it can be shown. This was not different within Brazilian EWAS courses I organized since the IRCAD built a facility in Barretos, Brazil. We started with the basic course on 2012, moved to a mixed basic/advanced program in 2013, include an elbow arthroscopy content on 2015 and 2016, and now we created a whole new program for a Master Course, where a special session was dedicated entirely to innovation on Wrist Arthroscopy and Hand Surgery.
I can say, with no modesty, and no doubt, that History of Wrist Arthroscopy can be described before and after the EWAS group.
And why a statement so effusive and enthusiastic? Because the dynamism and power originated by joining such group of experienced and talented hand surgeons, in such friendship atmosphere, with top quality equipment for teaching, learning, and researching, provided numerous new techniques, new discoveries around anatomy and biomechanics of the wrist, and an unique way of spreading that knowledge around the globe.
If one took a minute to read and learn the history of EWAS on the last 10 years, and check the evolution of the official EWAS courses around the world, will understand what I am talking about.
And that history writes now that a Brazilian Hand Surgeon is the actual president of that institution, named European, but more International than many. That fact is so relevant, not because of me, personally, but because of all represented by this uncommon nomination. This evokes the International spirit of EWAS, and the Global Spirit of Science. This evokes the equality and humbleness spirit of the institution and its members, moving far away from smaller feelings like elitism, nationalism and racism. Bringing people together, from whole world, and distribute opportunities and benefits of science and medicine, for places where it is most needed.
After the surprise, and shock, and digesting this incredible honor and responsibility, I just can focus on this higher purpose beyond my origin and nationality, and will do my best to represent this group with dignity, quality, reinforcing primary the purpose to share what I learned and motivate others like me, living in peripheral centers and less privileged countries, to invest their time and efforts in the fascinating new possibilities of arthroscopy. I want to be a living stimulus to people from all over the world to gather on the flag of EWAS, to share and receive knowledge and information, the real treasures of this new era.
Thank you to Board Members, and the whole community of EWAS for this opportunity. Thank you Christophe Mathoulin for idealizing this dream and being my mentor on this journey.