Interest in international surgical volunteerism: Results of a survey of members of the American Pediatric Surgical Association

Marilyn W. Butler, Sanjay Krishnaswami, David H. Rothstein, Robert A. Cusick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study assesses interest in international volunteer work by members of the American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) and attempts to identify demographics, motivations, obstacles, and institutional issues of the respondents. Methods: An online survey service was used to send a 25-question survey to all APSA members with email addresses in November 2009. An answer to all questions was not required. Written comments were encouraged. Results: The survey was sent to 807 members of whom 316 responded, for a response rate of 39%. International work had been done previously by 48% of respondents, whereas 95% stated that they were interested or perhaps interested in doing so. Most (83%) were interested in operating with local surgeons to teach them how to perform procedures. Altruism was the chief motivation in 75% of respondents. Primary obstacles to doing international work were family obligations and lack of time, although 37% stated that a lack of information about volunteer opportunities was an issue. A significant number of respondents (48%) stated that their institution had no established international collaborations. Conclusion: This study suggests that there is interest in international volunteerism among many members of APSA. Understanding the issues surrounding surgical volunteerism may facilitate humanitarian involvement among pediatric surgeons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2244-2249
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Global burden of surgical disease
  • Global surgery
  • Humanitarian surgery
  • International surgery
  • Surgical volunteerism
  • Unmet surgical needs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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