Assessing personal contributions in global surgery: By whose yardstick?

Assessing personal contributions in global surgery: By whose yardstick?

Can J Surg 2015;58(5):343-346 | PDF

Gwendolyn Hollaar, MD, MPH; Robert Taylor, MD


Over the past 2 decades, interest and involvement in global surgery as an evolving discipline have increased among practitioners and trainees. A demand for formal evaluation of global surgery projects has also increased with demands for outcomes and impact. However, there has been little or no encouragement or requirement for participants to formally assess their personal contribution either to a project or to the discipline itself owing to the volunteer-based nature of those involved. Though participant contribution cannot be easily measured, the experience can be used to foster professional development. We propose that this neglected opportunity be addressed and suggest a framework of intentional reflection and mentorship that can be applied as an integral part of the global surgery experience, from participant selection through debriefing after the experience.

Elements of this article were presented at the Canadian Surgery Forum, International Surgery Symposium in Calgary, Alta, in 2012.

Accepted for publication Apr. 13, 2015

Affiliations: From the Department of Surgery, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alta. (Hollaar); and the Department of Surgery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC (Taylor).

Competing interests: None declared.

Contributors: Both authors contributed substantially to writing and/or revising and to the conception and design of the manuscript and approved the final version for publication.

DOI: 10.1503/cjs.002015

Correspondence to: G. Hollaar, Global Health & International Partnerships Office, University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr. NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4;