THIRTY YEARS OF THE “ANICA BITENC TRAVELLING FELLOWSHIP” - A TRIBUTE TO DR. IGOR A. S. BITENC
Thirty years ago, in 1984, Dr. Igor A. S. Bitenc, M.D., F.R.C.S.(C), a retired orthopaedic surgeon from Canada, who was of Yugoslav descent, and who had always remained attached to his original homeland, founded a travelling fellowship for young orthopaedic surgeons from former Yugoslavia named the ‘’Anica Bitenc Travelling Fellowship’’ after his late mother. The first Fellow visited Canada in 1985 and was followed by five Fellows from different areas of Yugoslavia in successive years. Due to the tragic war in Yugoslavia in the 90’s, the Fellowship was postponed for several years. It was resumed in 1997, but only for three newly formed states of Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia. Funding of the Fellowship was provided by an endowment from Dr. Bitenc and managed by the Canadian Orthopaedic Association, which hosts one Fellow per year on the rotational basis from Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia. The Fellowship finally proved to be very successful and, owing to the benevolence of Dr. Bitenc, 24 young orthopaedic surgeons from various regions of former Yugoslavia have had the opportunity to visit the best orthopaedic centres in Canada so far. Dr. Bitenc has ensured the Fellowship will continue for many years to come by bequeathing an endowment of $ 300.000. This unforgettable act of human nobility and patriotic sensibility will be of enormous help in future to many orthopaedic surgeons and their numerous patients in the countries of South Slavs.
Key words: Bitenc Igor; Travelling Fellowship; Canadian Orthopaedic Association