Global health initiatives of US otolaryngology residency programs: 2011 global health initiatives survey results

Laryngoscope. 2012 Nov;122(11):2422-7. doi: 10.1002/lary.23533. Epub 2012 Sep 10.


Objectives/hypothesis: The objectives of this work were to quantify the involvement of US otolaryngology residency programs in global health endeavors, identify goals and services provided, and determine the participation of residents and fellows.

Study design: Cross-sectional survey of US otolaryngology faculty.

Methods: A 10-point online questionnaire was distributed to 103 US otolaryngology residency program directors; all faculty involved in global health volunteerism were invited to participate.

Results: Twenty-nine global health initiatives were represented. Most of the 24 residency programs involved (66%) had organized global health offices at their institutions; only 4% actually cooperated with these offices. Most often, only one attending (55%) was involved at each institution. Residents/fellows participated 65% of the time. Abroad, US otolaryngologists worked with freestanding hospitals or clinics (24%), American nongovernmental organizations (17%), academic centers (14%), and remote locations (14%). Most (96%) provided specialty surgical services, but some provided primary care (28%) and general surgical services (14%); 72% trained foreign surgeons. Most respondents (79%) reported that the clinical work done abroad was substantial enough for Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) standards. Only one fifth of respondents knew the name of the nearest otolaryngology training institution. Humanitarian aid was the most prevalent goal (100%), followed by resident/fellow exchange (45%) and faculty exchange (21%).

Conclusions: At least a quarter of US otolaryngology residency programs engage in global health volunteerism. Most do not utilize institutional global health resources and are unaware of otolaryngology training programs abroad. There may be a role for global health education within the ACGME competency of systems-based practice.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Global Health*
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / statistics & numerical data*
  • Otolaryngology / education*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Volunteers / statistics & numerical data*