The University of California at San Francisco International Orthopaedic Elective

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International volunteerism helps remedy global inequities in orthopaedic care and provides relief for increasing professional disillusionment experienced by many orthopaedic surgeons in the United States. From 1992 to 1998, 41% of residents from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco volunteered overseas. Approximately one half of those have continued volunteering internationally after residency, including many who led later trips with residents. Based on the success of these trips, the University of California, San Francisco Department of Orthopaedic Surgery established a 1-month elective rotation in Umtata, South Africa in conjunction with Orthopaedics Overseas. Seventy-six percent of residents have chosen this opportunity since the program’s inception in 1998. The University of California, San Francisco experience suggests that early exposure to international volunteerism during residency promotes continued participation in volunteer activities after graduation. By providing residents with the opportunity to volunteer overseas, the University of California, San Francisco hopes to enhance resident education, foster a lifelong spirit of volunteerism, and serve as a model for other orthopaedic training programs.

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