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

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Abstract

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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