A proposal for enhancing the general surgical workforce and access to surgical care

Hiram C. Polk, Kirby I. Bland, E. Christopher Ellison, Jay Grosfeld, Donald D. Trunkey, Steven C. Stain, Courtney M. Townsend

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    36 Scopus citations


    Objective(S): The goals of this focused meeting were to verify and clarify the causes and extent of the general surgery (GS) workforce shortfalls. We also sought to define workable solutions within the existing framework of medical accreditation and certification. Background: Numerous peer-reviewed and lay reports describe a current and worsening availability of GS services, affecting rural areas as well as large cities, academia, and the military. Method: Primary recommendations were broadly agreed upon by attendee surgeons who were selected from numerous different professional scenarios and included 2 nonmedical observers. Results: Recommendations: (1) enhance the number of GS trainees and the breadth of training, (2) incorporate more flexibility and breadth in residency, (3) minimally invasive surgery should largely return to GS, (4) broader use of community hospitals in these efforts, (5) publicize loan forgiveness and improved visa status for international medical graduates going into GS, and (6) select candidates with a bias toward a general surgical career. Conclusion: These methods are promising approaches to this serious deficiency but will require regular reporting and publicity for the recording of actual increases in GS output.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)611-617
    Number of pages7
    JournalAnnals of surgery
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Apr 1 2012

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surgery


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