Becoming a medical specialist in Europe in the 21st century

25th October 2018


International postgraduate conference - “Becoming a medical specialist in Europe in the 21st century”

25th october 2018

The International Postgraduate Training (PGT) Conference was a  full day conference on PGT that took place on October 25 in Tartu, Estonia, and it was followed by the European Junior Doctors general assembly meeting. The conference was the grand finale of a larger project that the Estonian Junior Doctors Association have been running for the past two years to compare our postgraduate training in the Baltic and Nordic countries and to map changes that would need to be made in order to improve training quality.

The conference looked at the current state of PGT in the region and Europe, discussed the changes happening in Europe/World and tried come up with ideas to improve PGT.


The wider project around this meeting was started in 2016 to discuss, compare and improve postgraduate training in the Baltic Sea region and during the 3 years of the project we aim to compare best practices of specialist training between Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian junior doctors and with the final conference with the other European countries.


We wished to get a better understanding of the problems in PGT quality assurance in our countries and give clear guidance of the changes needed. PGT curriculum/programme accreditation isn't mandatory in many of our countries, thus there can be a lot of mismatch between the aims and reality.

The conference consisted of four sessions - you can watch the videos of the presentations below. Thank you all for participating!

The Estonian pre-assessment of the postgraduate programs can be downloaded here (in English), or here (in Estonian).

The full report will be made public at the end of 2018.


Session I

Introduction: dr. Rille Pihlak

Dr Rille Pihlak is starting the conference with an introduction to the subject and the aims of the conference.

Rille Pihlak is the facilitator of the conference. She is a council member of the Estonian Junior Doctors Association and used to be the Medical Education Officer in European Junior Doctors. Rille specialised in oncology in the University of Tartu in 2016 and is currently doing a PhD in Manchester, UK.

Quality assurance in postgraduate training: prof. Simon Gregory

Professor Simon Gregory is Director and Dean of Education and Quality in Health Education England (HEE) (Midlands and East) and HEE Lead for Primary Care. Simon is Chair of the UK Medical Recruitment Programme Board and the GP Workforce 2020 Programme Board. Simon also works as a GP at King Edward Road Surgery, Northampton.

Changes in postgraduate training in Europe. Example OBGYN curriculum: dr. Jessica van der Aa

Jessica van der Aa is a medical doctor with a special interest in the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She is currently a PhD student in medical education and works as an educational consultant for postgraduate training programs in OLVG teaching hospital in Amsterdam. She has also participated in European collaboration that developed a pan-European curriculum in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, to improve quality of training all around Europe and enhance mobility of trainees and gynaecologists.

Session II

Results of the European Junior Doctors postgraduate training survey: dr. Kitty Mohan

dr. Kitty Mohan is the president of European Junior Doctors. Previously she has been a Director and Council member of the British Medical Association (BMA) and she was made a Fellow of the BMA in 2017. Mohan completed her residency in Public Health in London in March 2018 and was awarded a PhD in Epidemiology from King's College London in 2016. She currently works as a Consultant in Communicable Disease Control in Oxford.

WFME standards based evaluation of the organization of postgraduate medical education in the Baltic States: Tarmo Jüristo

Tarmo Jüristo is an active member of Estonian civil society and the head of Management Board at Think Tank Praxis. He joined Praxis in 2016 and is currently responsible for strategic management in the organisation.

Session III

Supervisors’ perspective on postgraduate training: Professor Ruth Kalda

Professor Ruth Kalda is the head of the Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health and the Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Tartu. For many years Kalda has been the head supervisor of the Family Medicine residency program in Estonia.

University’s perspective on postgraduate training: Professor Külli Kingo

Professor Külli Kingo is the Professor of Dermatovenerology at the University of Tartu and the head of Dermatology Clinic at Tartu University Hospital. Kingo is also a member of the University of Tartu Senate and a member of the Council of the Institute of Clinical Medicine of Faculty of Medicine.

Government perspective on postgraduate training: Dr Maris Jesse

dr. Maris Jesse is Deputy Secretary General on Health at the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs. She is also a member of the Council of Tartu University Hospital. From 2008 until 2016 Jesse was the head director of National Institute for Health Development.

Session IV

Building competency-based postgraduate training- example Finland: Dr Leila Niemi-Murola

dr. Leila Niemi-Murola is associate professor and a clinical teacher in the University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital. She works as a clinical teacher in the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine and also as a consultant and anesthesiologist in the Helsinki University Hospital. She is currently a national project coordinator implementing competency based specialist education in Finland.

Panel discussion: Dr. Kristjan Martin Kasterpalu, prof. Simon Gregory, dr. Jessica van der Aa, prof. Ruth Kalda, dr. Anti Kalda, dr. Maris Jesse, Tarmo Jüristo, dr. Rille Pihlak

The culmination of the conference - a panel discussion between the speakers, facilitators and the audience.