Students from all over the world for training in Palermo

ISMETT and SISM have signed a training agreement for future physicians

Nine medical students in Palermo for one month of training at IRCCS- ISMETT. They come from China, Spain, Russia, Tunisia, and Portugal.

A project made possible thanks to an agreement between SISM (Italian Secretariat Medical Students) and the transplant center in Palermo. The nine students, who will start their training at ISMETT in August, are part of the International Medical Exchange project, coordinated by SISM and IFMSA (International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations), a non-governmental organization that federates various medical students’ national associations all over the world by an official agreement with the World Health Organization and the United Nations.

The program gives future physicians a chance to spend training periods in hospitals around the world, and Palermo is considered a leader for international exchanges. Indeed, Palermo is the city that will host the highest number of foreign students. A total of 120 students have already arrived in Palermo to spend training periods in various hospitals in the city. This year, the offer is even richer given the presence of ISMETT. In fact, the Sicilian transplant center is participating in the initiative for the first time, thanks to the agreement between ISMETT and SISM.

This agreement will allow the students to participate in the current scientific activities at ISMETT, in subjects related to organ transplants and therapies for end-stage organ failure. The training will also focus on abdominal surgery, thoracic surgery, radiology, neurology, anesthesia, and pulmonology. Throughout the training period, the future physicians will be accompanied by a tutor.

The agreement between ISMETT and SISM was promoted by Dario Ligresti, gastroenterologist at ISMETT, and person of reference for the project. Dr. Ligresti gained experience in international exchange programs serving as a SISM Local Officer on Medical Education in his university years.

SISM is a non-profit association aimed at providing valuable contributions to university training for medical students from any part of the world, their ethical and social awareness for the medical profession, promoting cooperation with universities and Italian and foreign institutions, offering elective activities in health and social care to the interested students in the fields of general and specific medical education, social and medical education, and scientific research on a national and international level.


“This initiative is even more interesting because it is addressed to young students,” explained ISMETT Medical Director Dr. Angelo Luca. “This confirms that ISMETT, thanks to UPMC (the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center), which is responsible for managing ISMETT, has become an international center of reference not only for high-specialty therapies (approximately 3% of patients come from other countries, and 6% from other regions), but also for high-specialty training. Not everybody knows that ISMETT has more than 60 agreements with the main Sicilian, Italian and international universities, including a 20-year agreement with  the University of Pittsburgh, which in the last few years has brought more than 200 American students to spend training periods in  Palermo, and a very recent agreement with the government of Malta that, differently from what happened in the past, chooses to send several professionals to ISMETT for training rather than to the more traditional English hospitals.”