Global surgery opportunities for U.S. surgical residents: An interim report

M. Margaret Knudson, Margaret J. Tarpley*, Patricia J. Numann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Introduction In 2011, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the American Board of Surgery developed guidelines that allowed time spent and cases performed outside of the United States by surgical residents from ACGME-accredited training programs to be applied toward program completion. We hypothesized that the number of programs with global surgical rotations would have increased after that important development. We also sought to determine the characteristics that led to sustainment of such programs. Methods An Institutional Review Board-approved electronic survey was sent to all 253 program directors of ACGME-approved general surgery residencies requesting information on international rotations available to residents. Responses were requested from program directors with extant rotations. Survey questions focused on locations, funding, nature of the rotations, faculty involvement, keys to success, and the barriers to overcome during program development and sustainment. Results The survey reported 34 surgery residency programs offering global surgery rotations, up from 23 just 5 years previously. Of these reporting programs, 25 have been approved by the ACGME. Most rotations occur in the postgraduate year 3 or 4 and are primarily clinical rotations. Africa is the main destination. Resident supervision is provided by a mixture of host and home surgeons. A dedicated faculty is considered to be the most important element for success while funding remains a major impediment. Conclusions The interest in global surgery continues to increase, and general surgical programs will strive to meet the expectations of residents looking for international exposure. Collaboration could facilitate resident opportunities and potentially be more cost-effective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e60-e65
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • global surgery
  • graduate medical education
  • international medical education
  • international surgical rotations
  • surgery education
  • surgery electives


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