One of the greatest challenges facing medicine today is finding a way to provide adequate medical and surgical care to the 85% of the world's population who now lack it. Although surgery has been characterized as the neglected step-child of public health, there is increasing recognition that untreated surgical conditions have significant detrimental effect on the health and economic status of global communities.
The Center for Global Surgery recently established within the Department of Surgery at the University of Utah provides residents and faculty with unique opportunities to identify barriers and discover solutions to providing access to affordable, high quality surgical care. Residents have had opportunities to assist in disaster relief in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, study and report on the benefits and challenges of expanding laparoscopic surgery in Mongolia, and learn about and treat tropical surgical disease such a buruli ulcer in Ghana.
Formal resident rotations and global fellowships are under development. Multidisciplinary projects between the schools of medicine, engineering, business, social work, and public health are innovating high-quality, affordable products and culturally sensitive business models in an effort identify sustainable solutions for surgical care in resource poor areas.