Value of global surgical activities for US academic health centers: A position paper by the association for academic surgery global affairs committee, society of university

Jennifer Rickard, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Ekene Onwuka, The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, Columbus
Saju Joseph, Valley Health Systems, Las Vegas
Doruk Ozgediz, Yale University, New Haven
Sanjay Krishnaswami, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland
Tolulope A. Oyetunji, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Jyotirmay Sharma, Emory University, Atlanta
Rashna Farhad Ginwalla, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon
Benedict C. Nwomeh, The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, Columbus
Adil H. Haider, Aga Khan University


Background: Academic global surgery value to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is increasingly understood, yet value to academic health centers (AHCs) remains unclear.
Study design: A task force from the Association for Academic Surgery Global Affairs Committee and the Society for University Surgeons Committee on Global Academic Surgery designed and disseminated a survey to active US academic global surgeons. Questions included participant characteristics, global surgeon qualifications, trainee interactions, academic output, productivity challenges, and career models. The task force used the survey results to create a position paper outlining the value of academic global surgeons to AHCs.
Results: The survey had a 58% (n = 36) response rate. An academic global surgeon has a US medical school appointment, spends dedicated time in an LMIC, spends vacation time doing mission work, or works primarily in an LMIC. Most spend 1 to 3 months abroad annually, dedicating Conclusions: Academic global surgeons spend a modest amount of time abroad, require minimal financial support, and represent a low-cost investment in an under-recognized scholarship area. This position paper suggests measures of global surgery that could provide opportunities for AHCs and surgical departments to expand missions of service, education, and research and enhance institutional reputation while achieving societal impact.