New Global Academic Fellowship in Surgery will support surgical systems and skills in Hawassa, Ethiopia

Newswise – CHICAGO (August 9, 2022): More than 5 billion people worldwide lack access to safe surgical and anesthetic care, resulting in increased mortality rates and post-surgical complications. To address the challenges posed by this critical global health issue, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) has partnered with three academic health systems to develop a new Global Academic Fellowship in Surgery to address surgical disparities in underserved populations.

The American College of Surgeons Operation Giving Back (ACS OGB) Programin collaboration with the University of Utah Center for Global Surgery, Virginia Commonwealth University Global Surgery Program, and Hawassa University College of Medicine and Health Sciences, will engage their distinctive abilities to initiate and sustain the fellowship program .

The fellowship program, which begins this summer, will build on the efforts of an existing training program established between the ACS OGB program and the Hawassa University College of Medicine and Health Sciences, located at the College of Surgeons in Hawassa. East, Central and Southern Africa. (COSECSA). Since 2018, this program has focused on building surgical services, clinical care, quality improvement programs and research at Hawassa Teaching Hospital, a 480-bed referral hospital in Hawassa, Ethiopia, serving a population of over 18 million people.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Research Task Force for the Hawassa hub – one of ACS OGB’s training programs comprised of faculty from Hawassa University and US consortia school members – held virtual training activities and discussions on ways to improve surgical research in Hawaii. The Global Academic Fellowship in Surgery program will further accelerate all efforts by fostering interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary collaborations centered on surgical training, research, and education.

Each year, fellows will be selected from the University of Utah or Virginia Commonwealth University for a one-year appointment. Fellows will facilitate research, conduct education and quality improvement programs, disseminate results and data, create a mentorship relationship, and increase academic output at Hawassa University Hospital. To build lasting partnerships and produce impactful research, fellows will travel to Hawassa for three to six months during the fellowship and they will also be invited to participate in advocacy campaigns. Their research will be presented at related conferences and will be documented in a final year-end report.

“This fellowship program will provide the next generation of surgeons with the opportunity to directly engage in research and quality improvement work at one of our primary training centers in Hawassa, Ethiopia,” said Girma Tefera, MD, FACS, Director of ACS OGB. “Fellows will conduct robust research in support of our long-term mission to reduce health disparities and improve the continuum of care for surgical patients.”

Anteneh Gadisa, MD, FCS-ECSA, FACS, Executive Director, Hawassa University College of Medicine and Health Sciences, notes that the program will add significant depth to an already productive collaboration between Hawassa University and partner universities. “This will create an opportunity for the fellow and Hawassa faculty to learn from each other and work on selected projects, helping to bring about the planned changes in clinical, academic and research activities at the University of Hawassa,” he said.

By understanding the challenges of surgical education and clinical care in Ethiopia and by collectively developing, implementing and analyzing actions, the program “will produce a measurable and lasting impact on healthcare”, added Edgar Bruck Rodas, MD, FACS, Associate Professor in the Division of Acute Surgical Services at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and Director of the VCU Program for Global Surgery.

Sudha P. Jayaraman, MD, MSc, FACS, professor of surgery and director of the Center for Global Surgery at the University of Utah, has witnessed firsthand how research and effective programming can help reduce global health disparities. His work on injury epidemiology and systems development in East Africa has focused on addressing disparities in injury mortality. For Dr. Jayaraman, the fellowship program responds to an acute need to reduce surgical disparities in global health and provides fellows with an important stepping stone into their careers as surgeons.

“We look forward to helping participants learn the fundamentals of surgical systems across all resource settings, providing strong mentorship across all institutions, and preparing them to develop impactful careers in global academic surgery,” said she declared.

For more information on the scholarship and related programs, please visit Operation ACS Give Back.

# # #

About the American College of Surgeons

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. His accomplishments significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and made him an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has over 84,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. “FACS” means that a surgeon is a member of the American College of Surgeons.

Christine E. Phillips