Impact of Humanitarian Experiences on Otolaryngology Trainees: A Follow-up Study of Travel Grant Recipients

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In this study, we seek (1) to determine the impact of humanitarian experiences on otolaryngology trainee recipients of the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation humanitarian travel grant (2001-2015); (2) to better understand trainee and trip characteristics, as well as motivations and attitudes toward future volunteerism; and (3) and to identify potential barriers to participation. An anonymous 30-question survey was distributed to 207 individuals, and 52 (25.1%) responded. Respondents viewed the trip as very worthwhile (score = 98 of 100), expressed improved cultural understanding (75.0%), and continued participation in humanitarian activities (75.0%). Competency-based evaluation results suggest a positive impact on systems-based practice and professionalism. Respondents commented on the trip’s positive value and shared concerns regarding expense. Despite potential barriers, Foundation-supported humanitarian trips during training are perceived as worthwhile; they may enhance cultural understanding and interest in future humanitarian efforts; and they may positively affect competency-based metrics. Based on the potential benefits, continued support and formalization of these experiences should be considered.

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