„Despite some progress in improving healthcare and reducing child mortality worldwide, physicians and their patients in resource-poor countries still face major challenges, primarily as a result of persistent brain drain. The Open Medical Institute’s mission – to prevent brain drain and foster brain gain – based on lifelong mentoring of young and mid-career physicians offers an innovative solution. Through the three-step educational model, comprised of seminars in Salzburg, clinical observerships in Austrian and American hospitals and outreach through electronic publishing, OMI has successfully fostered the professional growth of more than 19,000 physicians from 119 countries; providing them with the medical knowledge and experience to improve the quality of healthcare delivery in their countries. Multiple opportunities for continuing medical education, coupled with ongoing mentorship have proven successful in stemming the brain drain tide. A recent survey of OMI alumni has shown that, for example, more than 90 % of all Latvian, Georgian and Czech physicians trained by the OMI are still in their countries and, all but 1 Tanzanian physicians are still practicing in Tanzania. The migration and refugee crisis in Europe in 2016 overwhelmed governments, societies and healthcare systems. OMI responded immediately by organizing seminars dealing with migrant and minority health issues. Public health experts and clinicians shared their experiences in order to improve services for desperate patients with different cultural and social background, often suffering from unknown diseases. Medicine and healthcare are major budgetary concerns. Healthcare leaders should possess both clinical and management skills to best serve their communities and patients. Therefore, OMI started a series of leadership seminars for OMI alumni to build their capacity in business and management in addition to their clinical skills. OMI continues to tailor its programs in response to global changes, in order to foster our physicians’ professional growth and improve healthcare for all. We thank all our supporters, especially our faculty members who volunteer their time and make OMI possible.“

„Think Globally“: A retrospection on the year 2016 by Wolfgang Aulitzky M.D., Director of the Open Medical Institute

Have a look at the complete Final Report 2016


Martin Simek completed a 3-month Research Observership from February – April 2017 at the Department of Surgery at the General Hospital Vienna (AKH) mentored by Prof. M. Ehrlich and Prof. A. Kocher. In his report Martin Simek describes his experiences during his stay in Vienna:

„Between February and April 2017, I used the opportunity to become part of the team of the Cardiac Surgery Department at the Vienna General Hospital (AKH). This renowned institution has implemented under the guidance of Prof. Laufer a great majority of modern trends in cardiac surgery and built enviable teaching and mentoring systems for residents and fellows. I had the opportunity to follow a whole range of major surgeries with my personal emphasis on aortic aneurysm surgery, valve repair techniques and ECMO support. I encountered a pleasant atmosphere and a positive attitude from my mentors and from the staff of the Cardiac Surgery and Intensive Care Medicine Departments. Undoubtedly, this experience will have an important influence on my professional career and it will facilitate the implementation of some programs in my home institution. I really enjoyed the social events organized by the OMI. Here I like to point out my meeting with Prof. M. Maier from the Department of Public Health Medicine for the comprehensive lecture and nice talk with other OMI fellows about the health care system in Austria, US, and other European countries. Hereby, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Prof. Aulitzky and the AAF/OMI for this encouraging opportunity, my special thanks of gratitude to my both mentors Prof. M. Ehrlich and Prof. A. Kocher, and finally, thanks to the small team of AAF/OMI coordinators who always helped me to solve my troubles.“

Martin Simek, MD PhD, Department of Cardiac Surgery, Olomouc, Czech Republic

Prof. M. Ehrlich during a surgical intervention


Max Kade Students on a trip to Salzburg
Since 1996, The American Austrian Foundation and the Max Kade Foundation have been awarding one month clinical clerkships in Austria and the United States to American and Austrian medical students from our partner medical schools. The students benefit from broadening their education and from the interaction with a foreign culture and health care system. Niyati Mamtora from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine participated in the Max Kade Program in March 2017 and shares her thoughts about her clinical clerkship in Vienna:

„The crown jewel of this program is learning firsthand what it is like to be in a foreign healthcare system without knowing the native language. It is an experience that can only be learned firsthand and it will help me care for my own future patients as well as treat any nonnative speakers I meet with greater compassion and understanding. It was also fascinating learning the intricacies of the Austrian healthcare system and the major differences from the USA healthcare system. These are valuable lessons that can help us as our healthcare system evolves. (…) Talking to locals taught me about which psychotherapies are favored here in Austria and their approaches which will be useful to me as a future psychiatrist.
Overall, I am absolutely grateful for this opportunity and can say honestly it was life-changing. I have never visited Europe and to be able to learn and grow in a place as wonderful as Vienna has been priceless. Thank you to the American Austrian Foundation.“

Niyati Mamtora, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Max Kade Students on a trip to Salzburg


On January 29 – February 4, 2017, 36 fellows from 29 different countries across the globe travelled to Schloss Arenberg for the Salzburg Seminar on Temporal Bone Surgery to learn the most up-to-date techniques from an expert faculty in this field. The seminar was led by Course Director Samuel Selesnick, Professor of the Department of Otolaryngology and Vice-Chairman at Weill Cornell College New York, United States, and Co Course Director Gerhard Rasp, Department of Otorhinolaryngology at the University Hospital Salzburg, Austria.

Throughout the week, the faculty presented state-of-the-art-lectures on Temporal Bone Surgery. The talks covered issues such as “The Otological Setup and Endoscopy”, “Powered Middle Ear Implants”, “Cochlear Implantation”, and “Surgery for Glomus Tumors”. During hands-on workshops in wet-laboratories, the participants improved their surgical technique in an almost clinical setting.
The fellows practiced neo-surgical methods discussed within the lectures regarding Tympanoplasty, Stapedectomy, and Cochlear Implantation. Additionally, they were given the opportunity to present interesting cases from their home countries. Seven cases were selected for publication on the Open Medical Institute’s Online Case Library. These case presentations provided a base for discussion between the fellows and the faculty, and enabled the participants to gain valuable insights into different challenges faced around the world in the field of temporal bone surgery.

Group Photo of the Salzburg Weill Cornell Seminar for Temporal Bone Surgery


On April 14 -15 2017, the OMI Visiting Professorship in Obstetrics & Gynecology took place at the Scientific Center of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology in Almaty in collaboration with the Vienna Medical University (Vienna, Austria) and the Educational Center "Bilim-Central Asia".

The lectures in the conference were presented by Professor Christian Dadak, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Medical University of Vienna (Austria). The topics of the OMI Visiting Professorship focused on the problems of perinatal care and lifestyle during pregnancy.
The OMI Visiting Professorship provided faculty and the participants an opportunity to share their experiences. All of the lectures were followed by a lively discussion. The feedback from the participants was overall positive who appreciated the interaction a lot.

In total, 135 doctors participated in the lectures and many of them are AAF OMI alumni.



In 2011, OMI and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) started the “Capacity Development in Healthcare” Project, which provides both training and equipment to doctors in the South-Caucasus & Black-Sea Region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova). As cardiovascular diseases and strokes are among the major health problems in the region, the project focuses on stroke prevention through established centers of excellence in Yerevan, Tbilisi and Chisinau.

In May 2017, the stroke prevention center in Baku, Azerbaijan was equipped with a new Panasonic Cardiohealth Station and launched an Advanced Training Institute for Doctors (ASATID) at the facilities of the Azerbaijan State. Dr. Khanlar Hasanov and Dr. Rahim Aliyev from ASATID, who have completed training in stroke prevention at the Neurology Department at Christian-Doppler-Klinik, Salzburg, will conduct an epidemiological study on stroke and risk factors in Azerbaijan at the newly established center in Baku. This study is part of an ongoing international multi-center study in Armenia, Austria and Moldova.

From left to right: Dr. Rahim Aliyev and Dr. Khanlar Hasanov with the new Panasonic Cardiohealth Station


On May 15th, 2017 Weill Cornell Medical College hosted its annual International Fellows ceremony and reception. At this event, the college recognizes students who have committed a significant amount of time and effort to studying issues in global health and serving overseas. Cornell has a longstanding association with the American Austrian Foundation, and students from Weill Cornell Medical College participate in the Max Kade Foundation program. This year Dr. Wolfgang Aulitzky, the Medical Director of the AAF and Weill Cornell Medical College Associate Dean for International Medicine and Distance Learning, was on hand to meet with the 2017 Max Kade Fellows, Daniel Benjamin Kellner and Madhvi Deol from Weill Cornell Medical College.

From left to right: Daniel Benjamin Kellner, Madhvi Deol, Dr. Wolfgang Aulitzky


From May 6 until July 16, 2017 the photographer Peter Hellekalek exhibits his project „Two Neighbouring Places: The Volksgarten and the Würth Sculture Garden Schloss Arenberg“ (Original title in German: „Zwei Orte, benachbart: Der Volksgarten und der Würth-Skulpturenpark Schloss Arenberg). Peter Hellekalek focuses with his project on two gardens, which could not differ more: The Volksgarten, the garden of the people and the park of Schloss Arenberg, a historic building and garden.

Schloss Arenberg exhibits a modern sculpture garden with art work mainly from contemporary artists thanks to the collaboration with the Würth Collection in Künzelsau. Peter Hellekalek captured with his colourful photographs the interaction between nature and the artistic spectrum.
The exhibition was organised by the Leica Gallery Salzburg and the Würth Collection.

Exhibition Opening in Schloss Arenberg on May 6, 2017


On April 25 - 27, 2017 the annual Milton Wolf Seminar took place in Vienna. The event was jointly organized by the AAF, The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna (DA) with support from The Wolf Family Foundation, The Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation, The U.S. Embassy, Vienna and The Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy.
Launched in 2001, the Milton Wolf Seminar Series deals with developing issues in diplomacy and journalism – both broadly defined. This year’s title „The Marshall Plan and the Yearning for Transformative Visions“ was chosen on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Marshall Plan. The seminar focused on the creation, critique and execution of “visions” as an instrument of multilateral statecraft.

Panelists included Jim Rutenberg from the New York Times; former Ambassador Ali Ashgar Soltanieh who served as Iran’s Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna; William Burke White, Deputy Dean at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and member of the Obama Administration on Secretary Clinton’s Policy Staff from 2009-2011 and many more.

Group Photo Milton Wolf Seminar 2017


On May 1, 2017, AAF hosted a luncheon at the Metropolitan Club in New York City honoring two internationally renowned museum directors; Sabine Haag, Director of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, and Philippe de Montebello, Chairman of the Hispanic Society of America, Director Emeritus of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to inaugurate the AAF Cultural Exchange Program.
The Honorable Ronald S. Lauder spoke of his love of Austria, art and the contributions, which each honoree has made, upon presenting the awards to Ms. Haag and Mr. de Montebello. Luncheon guests included Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel, Frick Museum director Ian Wardropper, Museum of Modern Art director Glenn Lowry, Neue Galerie director Renée Price, Metropolitan Museum of Art director Tom Campbell, artist Jeff Koons, Austrian Ambassador to the United States Wolfgang Waldner, Austrian Consul General in New York Georg Heindl, AAF Trustees, and friends of the arts.

The luncheon raised over $70,000 to support AAF’s new curatorial exchange program and the first two young curators will be selected in 2018.

Special thanks to Andreas Rath at J. & L. Lobmeyr for the awards (a monogrammed candy dish designed by Oswald Haerdt) and Mag. Miriam Feyer of Demel, Vienna for the delightful Figaro chocolates, which accompanied dessert.

From left to right: Sabine Haag & Ronald Lauder, Eric Kandel, Ronald Lauder & Philippe de Montebello


Each year the AAF sponsors four students or recent fine arts graduates from the USA to attend the Salzburg Summer Academy. This award is made possible thanks to the generosity of the AAF Board Member Gerhard Seebacher and his wife Angelika.

Applicants are reviewed by an eminent jury consisting of:
Hildegund Amanshauser (President of the Summer Academy)
Katharine Eltz-Aulitzky (Executive Director of the AAF)
Nikolaus Schafhausen (Director of Kunsthalle Wien)
Susanne B. Vogel (President of the AICA AUSTRIA and art critic)

This year’s winners
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