A preparation guide for surgical resident and student rotations to underserved regions

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Interest in global health among surgical residents and medical students is growing. There are numerous opportunities worldwide for both short- and long-term experiences. In order to maximize the learning potential, the authors present a practical guide for residents and students to prepare for a surgical visit, elective, rotation, or mission to an underserved region. The following steps will be outlined:PreparationsDetermine why, where, and for how long you can goConsult your program director or medical student advisor to choose a country and site, establish goals and connections, and plan a budget and adequate financing for the tripPrepare items to bring along: these include personal items, personal medical equipment and any items to donate after enquiry with the host facilityBe a smart traveler: Arrange visas, vaccinations, flight arrangements, diet, water, living, and travel arrangementsThe visitor's role at the hosting facility5. Ensure that adequate clinical supervision is available6. Remember that local training programs take priority7. Work within the local system(s) and protocols8. Take care of your own health9. Maintain a surgical case log (end of each day)10. Consider opportunities for using/establishing blogs or mass e-mailActivities after your return11. Continue communication with hosts after your experience12. Provide a written summary to your sponsor(s)13. Share your experiences through different mediums (acknowledge and, when possible, include international colleagues in your reports)14. Volunteer as an advisor to residents and students who wish to follow you (via Residency Program Director or Dean of Students)

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