Global Surgery Initiative at UVA

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Resident Rotation


The UVA Global Surgery Initiative started a clinical rotation in Rwanda in 2013. To date, 4 UVA surgery residents have rotated at teaching hospitals in Rwanda, and 3 University of Rwanda residents have spent time at UVA. For UVA residents, the rotation is approved by the RRC.


“As for my experience in Rwanda, I found it to be a worthwhile experience in global surgery. Prior to going, I thought it would be more of a healthcare mission trip with me caring for the surgical disease burden of the Rwandan people, but in many ways, it was a great learning experience about my limitations as a surgeon. The procedures that I performed there, as well as the inherent diagnostic challenges of Rwandan medicine, made me realize how much more learning and technical skill I need to acquire.”

— Corey Eymard, MD. One month rotation spring 2014

Why an international rotation?

Growing interest in global health in academic centers is influenced by trainee interest, increasing globalization and migration, global economics, changing health policy and healthcare disparities.

  • —Over 30% of graduating medical students have had an international experience (only 6% in 1978).
  • —2008 national survey of general surgery residents found 92% interested in an international elective, and 82% would prioritize the experience over all or some other electives.
  • Between 2003-2009, US-based academic global health programs have more than quadrupled in number.
  • —Only 21/246 general surgery training programs in 2011 had any global health curriculum/rotation.


International electives have been shown to meet all of the ACGME core competencies.  Though electronic communications, peer-reviewed journals, and international meetings have served to increasingly familiarize surgical residents with practices and surgical outcomes in other nations, a wide discrepancy still exists between published, relatively state-of-the-art outcomes and practices and the actual administration of surgical care in many countries.  Similarly, significant differences in training experiences that exist in other countries are usually not known by many of today’s surgical residents.  These issues suggest a role for an educational program that would place an emphasis on obtaining some degree of exposure and expertise in an area of international surgical practice or training.


What are some of the benefits of an international health rotation?

  • Broaden a resident’s medical knowledge, reinforce physical examination and diagnostic skills, and encourage practicing medicine among underserved and multicultural populations
  • Increased awareness of social determinants of health
  • Cost awareness and improved resource utilization
  • More likely to work in an underserved area
  • Health diplomacy and leadership development
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