Academic partnerships in global surgery: An overview American surgical association working group on academic global surgery

Haile Debas, Olusegun I. Alatise, Charles M. Balch, Murray Brennan, James Cusack, Peter Donkor, Bernard M. Jaffe, George V. Mazariegos, Charles Mock, David Mutiibwa, Patricia Numann, John Kennedy Muma Nyagatuba, James A. O'Neill, John L. Tarpley, Samuel Tesfaye, Girma Tefera, Todd M. Tuttle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Most surgeons from high-income countries who work in global surgery will do so through partnerships between their institutions and institutions in low- A nd middle-income countries (LMICs). In this article, the American Surgical Association Working Group for Global Surgery lays out recommendations for criteria that contribute to equitable, sustainable, and effective partnerships. These include ethically engaging with the LMIC partner institution by putting its interests first and by proactively seeking to be aware of cultural issues. Formally structuring the partnership with a memorandum of understanding and clearly designating leaders at both institutions are important criteria for assuring long-term sustainability. Needs assessments can be done using existing methods, such as those established for development of national surgical, obstetric, and anesthesia plans. Such assessments help to identify opportunities for partnerships to be most effective in addressing the biggest surgical needs in the LMIC. Examples of successful high-income countries-LMIC partnerships are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)460-469
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Sustainability depends on many factors. Recruitment of VU faculty as volunteers was not a problem. Short-time volunteers funded themselves. VU and African residents were funded by VU and Help Through Healing Hands, and KH, BK and the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons, respectively. Full-time VU faculty was partially funded by VU and sometimes Samaritan’s Purse. Generous funding for Pediatric Surgery and Anesthesia trainees who have and will return to their home sites has been provided by a private US foundation. The ACS has provided digital teaching tools. Clinical and basic research and Fellows’ support has come from internal sources and the NIH and NCI, and the GE Foundation has provided significant funding for anesthesia education, simulation, and teleconferencing.

Funding Information:
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) began this initiative in the 1980s with a funded fellowship derived from philanthropy that brought surgeons from LMICs to MSKCC for a 3-month stay. This funded both airfare and stipend. Initially directed at the Middle East, the program evolved and has matured into a major program directed predominately to SSA. Most recently, this program has funded 17 Nigerian, Kenyan, and Tanzanian faculty in surgery, pathology, anesthesia, and radiology to spend 3 months at MSKCC before returning. The program has funded 2 (1 Nigerian, 1 Kenyan) faculty members to complete a Cornell Masters in Clinical Research.


  • global health
  • global surgery
  • low- A nd middle-income country
  • partnership

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Academic partnerships in global surgery: An overview American surgical association working group on academic global surgery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this