About us

GI Surgery Foundation History

From the first course in gastrointestinal surgery in 1984...

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Surgeons first started congregating in Davos in 1978, for the popular and very ‘hands-on’ orthopedic AO Davos postgraduate course. After hearing about this hands-on approach, gastrointestinal surgeons saw the need for a similar course in their field. Professor Martin Allgöwer took the initiative and started the first course in gastrointestinal surgery in 1984 together with a small group of renowned and autonomous GI-surgeons from seven different surgical schools in Switzerland and Germany. This group of surgeons, guided by Professor Allgöwer, developed the ‘one safe way’ of surgery. Thus, the DavosCourses were born, with the ‘all layer’ and ‘one row’ suture technique - which later became known as the Davos Suture Technique - being widely praised as both simple and safe.

... to the 25th anniversary in 2008

The DavosCourse has continually grown, from an initial 80 participants to the current 280, and expanded with new training programmes, automatic suture devices included in the training range, and with the newly developing laparoscopic techniques. Having celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2008, the GI-courses have reached an important milestone. The organisers and successors of the founders are very keen to continue this ambitious project over the next 25 years by continually improving standards in accordance with the latest standards of education in GI-surgery. In this respect the virtual reality training (VRT) has been implemented successfully in the regular course program, and most recently the new advanced course was introduced with great success.

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Foundation for Gastrointestinal Surgery

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On 11th December 1989, the Foundation for Gastrointestinal Surgery in Davos (the GI-Foundation) was founded in accordance with the Swiss law. The foundation is registered with its address in Davos at the AO-Education Center. The foundation is a not-for-profit organization that aims to provide practical education to young surgeons in training. Each year, the foundation organises the DavosCourse an internationally renowned course where abdominal surgical techniques are taught with lectures and skills workshops.

Aim and Affiliations

The aim of the foundation is to support and promote education in gastrointestinal surgery, the production of excellent teaching aids, and the organization of international exchange between surgeons in training. 

Since June 2009, the foundation has become a member of the ‘Academia Raetica’. This academy acts as an umbrella organisation for several highly qualified research institutes and public hospitals within the canton of Grisons, Switzerland. The academy supports postgraduate education, and fosters interdisciplinary research and networking within the associated institutions.

Members of the Board of Directors, the Course Faculty, and the Instructors group respectively, are independent and active surgeons who have leadership functions in different European hospitals. These surgeons contribute to the annual DavosCourse with their presence and experience, and do so without pay. Their travel and accommodation costs are covered, but their main incentive for being involved in the DavosCourse is one of honour and pride.

The annual DavosCourse is held in the Davos Convention Centre. Davos frequently hosts famous international congresses. The population of the Davos community owns the Convention Centre. Therefore, the Convention Centre is run in a not-for-profit manner and is able to offer a very low rental fee to the Foundation for Gastrointestinal Surgery. Hotels and other housing facilities in Davos offer very reasonable rates compared with other congress cities in Switzerland.

The committee organizing the course (e.g. the Faculty and Board of Directors) has freedom in designing the scientific program and the practical exercises. The committee does not have commitments to any industry partners.

All finances of the course are freely available to be seen by the sponsoring companies. Accounts, balances and projected budgets are transparently discussed with the industry partners. Financial statements are reviewed and approved by a trust company and all records of the course organization are freely available on request.

The course faculty promotes surgical skills training, surgical research, and academic development. In this respect, several peer-reviewed manuscripts, written by members of the faculty, have been published in the medical literature.

The annual DavosCourse provides a fully scheduled and structured education over six days. Alongside practical exercises, theoretical lectures and interactive case-based discussions are provided.

Presidents and Founding Members

Prof. Dr. med. Martin Allgöwer †

Honorary President and Founding Member

Prof. Dr. med.

Martin Allgöwer †

Basel/Chur, Switzerland

Prof. Dr. med. Jörg Rüdiger Siewert

Past President and Founding Member

Prof. Dr. med.

Jörg Rüdiger Siewert

München, Germany

Prof. Dr. med. Felix Harder

Past President and Founding Member

Prof. Dr. med.

Felix Harder

Basel, Switzerland

Prof. Dr. med. Hans-Detlef Säger

Past President

Prof. Dr. med.

Hans-Detlef Säger

Dresden, Germany

Prof. Dr. med. Daniel Oertli

Past President

Prof. Dr. med.

Daniel Oertli

Basel, Switzerland

PD Dr. med. Peter Vogelbach


PD Dr. med.

Peter Vogelbach

Chur, Switzerland

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