The Current State of Global Surgery Training in Plastic Surgery Residency

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Abstract

Background:

The current state of global surgery training in U.S. plastic surgery residency programs remains largely undefined.

Methods:

An electronic survey was distributed to Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education–certified plastic surgery residency programs. Programs with global health curricula were queried regarding classification, collaboration details, regions visited, conditions/procedures encountered, costs, accreditation, and personal sentiment. Residencies without global health curricula were asked to select barriers.

Results:

Sixty-four of 81 residency programs returned questionnaires (response rate, 79 percent). Twenty-six programs (41 percent) reported including a formal global health curriculum; 38 did not (59 percent). When asked to classify this curriculum, most selected clinical care experience [n = 24 (92 percent)], followed by educational experience [n = 19 (73 percent)]. Personal reference was the most common means of establishing the international collaboration [n = 19 (73 percent)]. The most commonly encountered conditions were cleft lip–cleft palate [n = 26 (100 percent)], thermal injury [n = 17 (65 percent)], and posttraumatic reconstruction [n = 15 (57 percent)]. Dominant funding sources were primarily nonprofit organizations [n = 14 (53 percent)]. Although the majority of programs had not applied for residency review committee accreditation [n = 23 (88 percent)], many considered applying [n = 16 (62 percent)]. Overall, 96 percent of programs (n = 25) supported global health training in residency, choosing exposure to different health systems [n = 22 (88 percent)] and surgical education [n = 17 (68 percent)] as reasons. Programs not offering a global health experience most commonly reported lack of residency review committee/plastic surgery operative log recognition of cases performed abroad [n = 27 (71 percent)], funding for trip expenses [n = 25 (66 percent)], and salary support [n = 24 (63 percent)] as barriers.

Conclusions:

Residencies incorporating global health training describe the experience positively. Funding and case accreditation are the major obstacles to implementing these curricula.

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