In recent years, as the high burden of surgical disease and poor access to surgical care in low- and middle-income countries have gained recognition as major public health problems, interest in global health has surged among surgical trainees and faculty. Traditionally, clinical volunteerism was at the forefront of the high-income country response to the significant burden of surgical disease in low- and middle-income countries. However, sustainable strategies for providing surgical care in low- and middle-income countries increasingly depend on bilateral clinical, research, and education collaborations to ensure effective resource allocation and contextual relevance. Academic global surgery creates avenues for interested surgeons to combine scholarship and education with their clinical global surgery passions through incorporation of basic/translational, education, clinical outcomes, or health services research with global surgery. Training in global health, either within residency or through advanced degrees, can provide the necessary skills to develop and sustain such initiatives. We further propose that creating cross-continental, bidirectional collaborations can maximize funding opportunities. Academic institutions are uniquely positioned to lead longitudinal and, importantly, sustainable global surgery efforts. However, for the individual global surgeon, the career path forward may be unclear. This paper reviews the development of academic global surgery, delineates the framework and factors critical to training global surgeons, and proposes models for establishing an academic career in this field. Overall, with determination, the academic global surgeon will not only carve out a niche of expertise but will define this critical field for future generations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas