Global health training in US obstetrics and gynaecology residency programmes: perspectives of students, residents and programme directors

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Abstract

Background

Benefits of exposure to global health training during medical education are well documented and residents’ demand for this training is increasing. Despite this, it is offered by few US obstetrics and gynaecology (OBGYN) residency training programmes.

Objectives

To evaluate interest, perceived importance, predictors of global health interest and barriers to offering global health training among prospective OBGYN residents, current OBGYN residents and US OGBYN residency directors.

Methods

We designed two questionnaires using Likert scale questions to assess perceived importance of global health training. The first was distributed to current and prospective OBGYN residents interviewing at a US residency programme during 2012–2013. The second questionnaire distributed to US OBGYN programme directors assessed for existing global health programmes and global health training barriers. A composite Global Health Interest/Importance score was tabulated from the Likert scores. Multivariable linear regression was performed to assess for predictors of Global Health Interest/Importance.

Results

A total of 159 trainees (77%; 129 prospective OBGYN residents and 30 residents) and 69 (28%) programme directors completed the questionnaires. Median Global Health Interest/Importance score was 7 (IQR 4–9). Prior volunteer experience was predictive of a 5-point increase in Global Health Interest/Importance score (95% CI −0.19 to 9.85; p=0.02). The most commonly cited barriers were cost and time.

Conclusion

Interest and perceived importance of global health training in US OBGYN residency programmes is evident among trainees and programme directors; however, significant financial and time barriers prevent many programmes from offering opportunities to their trainees. Prior volunteer experience predicts global health interest.

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