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International Year for Surgeons?

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greenflower88

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I was wondering if anyone had suggestions or experience with international medicine for US surgeons specifically - either during residency or after. Spending time abroad doing medical mission work sounds appealing, but am not sure the best way to pursue this. I'd love more information.
 

kemper6036

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check on the ACS web forum....there's a couple people on there who do that sort of thing and I remember someone who organizes surgical missions to cambodia. also doctors without borders might be a source but I'm not sure if they take residents
 
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dpmd

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I was wondering if anyone had suggestions or experience with international medicine for US surgeons specifically - either during residency or after. Spending time abroad doing medical mission work sounds appealing, but am not sure the best way to pursue this. I'd love more information.
Are you wondering about training for it or just how to go about doing it?
 

greenflower88

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More about just going about doing it, what types of opportunities are available, and the kinds of experiences people have had. For example, what countries and what organizations are the most legit to work with. Also, what type of response did their program have to the idea. What length of time do people generally go for (I know it can vary, but perhaps people have some ideas about what a meaningful amount of time would be.) What types of cases do you do as a general surgeon? Anyone take residents? If so, what year?

Thanks!
 

dpmd

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More about just going about doing it, what types of opportunities are available, and the kinds of experiences people have had. For example, what countries and what organizations are the most legit to work with. Also, what type of response did their program have to the idea. What length of time do people generally go for (I know it can vary, but perhaps people have some ideas about what a meaningful amount of time would be.) What types of cases do you do as a general surgeon? Anyone take residents? If so, what year?

Thanks!
Doctor's without borders would be the big name that comes to mind but they ask for a time commitment of a few months which is tough for many people. I am not sure they take residents. I advise you to start here and click on volunteer to see what you can match up with (you have to be a member though which if you are a surgical resident I recommend). Other options are talking to folks at your hospital and seeing if anyone is already involved with a group that you can tag along with (there was a group that went every year where I trained and I know they would take a resident with them), or see if you can contact a surgeon in another country who will let you come operate with them (one resident did this but I don't remember how it was arranged). You can use your vacation or elective time for it but the cases you do might not count for your operative numbers (hopefully that won't matter). Most groups make you pay your own way or fundraise the cost of you going (but if you find an attending already with a team they might cover your costs). I think going later in residency would be better just because then you might be able to do more independently but some groups take all levels including med students. If you can swing it financially it would be pretty cool to take time after graduation and do a long stint with doctor's without borders or something similar. Now that I am in private practice I can't get away much more than 2 weeks at a time just due to logistics of taking call.
 
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dmal

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I was wondering if anyone had suggestions or experience with international medicine for US surgeons specifically - either during residency or after. Spending time abroad doing medical mission work sounds appealing, but am not sure the best way to pursue this. I'd love more information.

I have a friend who did some international rotations throughout his residency. He would use his vacation time. But he did manage to swing 1 month rotation overseas. He did it through Samaritan's Purse, World Medical Mission branch. From what he told me, it was a great experience, and he got to operate a lot. They set everything up for him, except he had to pay for it all himself. He went as a 4th year, and went to a hospital that had local surgical residents so he was able to take chief call. His being there enabled the local 4th/5th years to go for conferences and do away rotations the month he was there. The only "downside" is that it is heavily faith based, at least the application was. But there are ways to set up rotations directly with these hospitals. It just helps going with Samaritan's Purse since they set everything up for you ( flight, in country transportation, accomodations, identifying a local attending- his ended up being an american trained surgeon who had lived there 10 years). The mission hospital he went to gets several visiting surgeons from overseas (american, European, australian, canadian, south korean etc) throughout the year. Some are long term missionaries, others there only for 2 weeks. After graduation he signed up with them again for 2 years to go to another mission hospital. I think they have a post-residency program for new grads. They're paying him a small monthly stipend, but he's had to raise most of his own funding to cover himself for those 2 years.

So, in short it can be done, and I think there more surgeons than we realize doing it.
 
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