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Parkview Health hosts city’s first physician exchange with four guests from Plock, Poland

FORT WAYNE, IND. – JUNE 28, 2023 – Parkview Health recently welcomed four representatives from a hospital in Plock, Poland, as part of the first-ever physician exchange with Fort Wayne Sister Cities International.

From June 13-18, Parkview hosted three physicians from Plock’s Holy Trinity Hospital, Dr. Pawel Sobieski, Dr. Marek Roman Brzezinski and Dr. Piotr Branczewski, along with Holy Trinity CEO Marek Stawicki. During their visit, the guests met with Parkview physicians and leaders, and both groups shared information about their facilities, services, cities and culture.

The City of Plock is one of five Sister Cities with the City of Fort Wayne. In the past 33 years, the two cities have hosted exchanges for high school students, musicians, artists, photographers, teachers and police officers, and now the first physician exchange with Parkview Health.

“Listening, learning and sharing are how we grow and advance, not just as healthcare providers, but as a community,” said Ray Dusman, MD, president, Physician and Clinical Enterprise, Parkview Health. “This cultural exchange was beneficial for both cities, as we shared invaluable knowledge and time together. We were humbled to host the first physician exchange with Sister Cities and are grateful to have learned so much from our guests.”

A 250-bed facility with more than 700 medical staff, Holy Trinity Hospital has been caring for the city of Plock for more than 600 years. Much like Parkview’s hospitals, Holy Trinity offers a full range of healthcare services, but the Polish hospital is best known for its orthopedics and obstetrics wards.

The four guests explained that Plock and Holy Trinity Hospital are playing a key role in providing humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees. In 2022, roughly 70% of Ukrainian refugees entered Poland, with an estimated 2 million refugees still living there today. Ukrainian refugees receive the same rights as Polish citizens, including jobs, free healthcare, education and social assistance.

Though this visit was the first physician exchange for the Sister Cities, it was not Parkview’s first connection with Plock. Parkview’s Iwona Podzielinski, MD, a gynecologic oncologist with the Packnett Family Cancer Institute, is from Plock and was actually born at Holy Trinity Hospital. Through Dr. Podzielinski, Parkview has been building relationships with the Polish city.

During a 2022 Parkview leadership meeting, Dr. Podzielinski shared a touching story about the impact of the current war on her home country. Compelled by her perspective, Parkview invited a group of Polish dancers to perform at another leadership meeting a few months later.

“Both Plock and Parkview hold a special place in my heart,” said Dr. Podzielinski. “Parkview has helped me to share my heritage and support my hometown in various ways. It was an honor to be a part of our first physician exchange, an experience that created a positive impact for all involved.”

During the exchange, the four guests enjoyed visits to multiple Parkview locations, including the Parkview Mirro Center for Research & Innovation, where they enjoyed learning about cutting-edge technology and equipment in the Advanced Medical Simulation Lab. They also spent time at Parkview Regional Medical Center and the Packnett Family Cancer Institute, shadowing physicians in gynecologic oncology, orthopedic surgery, general surgery and surgical oncology. At Parkview Hospital Randallia, the guests learned about the Parkview Graduate Medical Education program.

The group was also treated to local cultural experiences, including a TinCaps game at Parkview Field. Though the Polish guests had never been to a baseball game, they were willing to try their hand at the sport and threw the ceremonial first pitch.