Background: Academic global surgery value to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is increasingly understood, yet value to academic health centers (AHCs) remains unclear. Study Design: A task force from the Association for Academic Surgery Global Affairs Committee and the Society for University Surgeons Committee on Global Academic Surgery designed and disseminated a survey to active US academic global surgeons. Questions included participant characteristics, global surgeon qualifications, trainee interactions, academic output, productivity challenges, and career models. The task force used the survey results to create a position paper outlining the value of academic global surgeons to AHCs. Results: The survey had a 58% (n = 36) response rate. An academic global surgeon has a US medical school appointment, spends dedicated time in an LMIC, spends vacation time doing mission work, or works primarily in an LMIC. Most spend 1 to 3 months abroad annually, dedicating <25% effort to global surgery, including systems building, teaching, research, and clinical care. Most are university-employed and 65% report compensation is equivalent or greater than colleagues. Academic support includes administrative, protected time, funding. Most institutions do not use specific global surgery metrics to measure productivity. Barriers include funding, clinical responsibilities, and salary support. Conclusions: Academic global surgeons spend a modest amount of time abroad, require minimal financial support, and represent a low-cost investment in an under-recognized scholarship area. This position paper suggests measures of global surgery that could provide opportunities for AHCs and surgical departments to expand missions of service, education, and research and enhance institutional reputation while achieving societal impact.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Medicine