Global health education in United States anesthesiology residency programs: a survey of resident opportunities and program director attitudes

BMC Med Educ. 2017 Nov 16;17(1):215. doi: 10.1186/s12909-017-1056-3.


Background: Interest in global health during postgraduate residency training is increasing across medical specialties, and multiple disciplines have categorized global health training opportunities in their arena. No such cataloging exists for anesthesiology residency programs. The aim of this study was to assess and characterize global health opportunities and the attitudes of program directors (PDs) in U.S. anesthesiology residency programs towards this training.

Methods: A cross-sectional 20-question survey on global health opportunities was distributed to 128 ACGME accredited anesthesiology residency program directors via email between October 2015 and January 2016. Descriptive statistics and exploratory inferential analyses were applied. Maximal nonresponse selection bias was estimated.

Results: The overall response rate was 44%. Of those who responded, 61% reported that their residency program had a global health elective, with a maximal bias estimate of 6.5%. 45% of program directors with no global health elective reported wanting to offer one. 77% of electives have articulated educational goals, but there is substantial heterogeneity in curricula offered. Program director attitudes regarding the value of global health programs differed significantly between those with and without existing programs.

Conclusions: The proportion of U.S. anesthesiology residency programs offering global health electives is similar to that in other medical specialties. There is inconsistency in program structure, goals, curriculum, and funding. Attitudes of program directors differ between programs with and without electives, which may reflect bidirectional influence to be investigated further. Further studies are needed to codify curricula, assess effectiveness, and validate methodologies.

Keywords: Anesthesiology education; Global health training; Graduate medical education; International electives; Residency education.

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Personnel
  • Anesthesiology / education*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Faculty, Medical
  • Global Health / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency* / organization & administration
  • Internship and Residency* / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States