Recognizing surgeons’ capacity to develop innovative
solutions to problems, as well as their skill set for treating
complex patients without the resources available in high-income countries, is both humbling and inspiring.
value in bolstering the availability of care in underserved areas, they also must provide only services in
which they have been adequately trained and uphold
the same ethical standards as they would in their native
Global surgery during training and reciprocity
A global surgery rotation has become a powerful
means of attracting residents and fellows to training programs in recent years. Surgical outreach
is appealing to trainees because it allows them to
develop technical proficiency while increasing their
In turn, for allowing residents and fellows to attain
this experience, some institutions engage in reciprocal
relationships with health care providers in LMICs by
creating opportunities for them to observe operations
in the U.S. and to participate in educational activities.
Creating and, more importantly, maintaining these
reciprocal relationships are crucial to the success of
global health care initiatives. Collaborative research
projects, the creation of data registries for underserved
areas, and programs that allow international visitors
from LMICs to travel abroad and observe new technologies in use are all results of successful reciprocal
relationships in global surgery.
Research and funding
Despite growing interest in global surgery in the last
decade, funding opportunities for surgical research
have been limited. Yet, institutional support is crucial
in generating seed funding for global surgery programs. Creating an infrastructure that allows young
surgeons to pursue both clinical and academic interests will facilitate the professional development of
junior faculty. Institutional buy-in also allows young
surgeons to establish a track record that will be useful
when exploring other sources for global surgery outreach funding.
Achieving institutional buy-in requires per-
sistence and resilience. Success does not happen
overnight and entails a slow, steady progression of
building relationships, getting published, and attain-
ing practical experience.
Establishing an environment in which young surgeons can build successful careers in academic global
surgery is timely and essential. Not only are young
surgeons interested in participating in global surgery
initiatives, but they also are creating greater awareness about the lack of access to surgical care in many
parts of the world.
Surgery departments, universities, and societies
that prioritize global surgery should foster the development of young surgeons with an interest in providing
care in underserved areas. Mentorship during the first
several years of a surgical career is critical in generating
academic credibility and in developing relationships
with global surgery leaders.
Many surgical societies offer opportunities for
mentorship and networking, including the American
College of Surgeons (ACS) Young Fellows Association
(YFA) and the Operation Giving Back (OGB) program.
Other organizations that are active in global health also
can provide these resources (see sidebar on page 37).
The College’s role
OGB provides the tools necessary to facilitate
humanitarian outreach among ACS members of
all specialties, at all stages of their career, who are
interested in domestic and/or international service. Through a network of high-impact partner
organizations, OGB directs surgeons to volunteer
opportunities that align with an individual’s skills,
passions, and beliefs.
OGB rolled out a number of educational programs at Clinical Congress 2016 that were aimed at
young surgeons who are interested in global surgery,
continued on page 38