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An increasing number of academic surgical providers, resident trainees and medical students are interested in contributing to sustainable, capacity-building endeavors in low- and-middle-income countries. Joining this movement, members of the Department of Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital have created the Global Surgery Initiative (GSI) as their own response to global health care needs.
The mission of the GSI is to establish international partnerships across disciplines in resource-limited settings, not only to perform surgical operations as visitors, but also to train local surgeons and share medical technology beyond Mass General.
Building on past experience, the GSI aims to transform volunteer global surgery efforts into sustainable surgical training partnerships that strengthen surgical systems both at home and abroad. This effort is based on an established formal curriculum in global surgery to provide surgical residents with structured opportunities in research, education and clinical work for a career in global surgery.
To assemble the human resources available at Mass General, this endeavor involves:
By organizing the collective experiences of colleagues, synchronizing current and past global work at Mass General, and leveraging the funding resources available at home and at partner institutions, the Mass General GSI seeks to engage in longitudinal collaborations that can provide academic benefit to our foreign partners as well as our surgical trainees.
Mass General global surgery efforts span across more than 30 countries. Our recent efforts have focused on developing and implementing more comprehensive surgical curricula at underserved sites such as Mbarara, Uganda.
Explore an interactive map of our current global surgery projects
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The Global Surgery Initiative provides medical care designed to meet the challenges of today’s complex disasters, both nationally and internationally. Disaster teams from Massachusetts General Hospital, in collaboration with the United States government and other non-profit organizations, have the capacity to respond to the full spectrum of humanitarian crises resulting from both natural and man-made disasters. Mass General provides multidisciplinary response teams designed to provide the highest level of clinical expertise to meet the diverse needs of disaster victims.
Susan Briggs, MD, MPH has devoted much of her surgical career to providing humanitarian relief, especially during devastating disasters, to the world's most vulnerable people at times of greatest need. Support the Global Surgery Fund Today.
Members of the Department of Surgery have provided disaster medical response in many recent disasters such as:
International Trauma and Disaster Institute
The International Trauma and Disaster Institute (ITDI) at Mass General is a center of excellence for disaster medicine. Under the direction of Susan M. Briggs, MD, MPH, FACS, the ITDI has developed training programs and manuals designed to train multidisciplinary medical responders in the key principles of disaster preparedness and response. The first edition of the Advanced Disaster Medical Response Manual is available in eight languages. The second edition, published in English in 2014 by the Mass General Department of Surgery and the Harvard Medical School Program in Global Surgery, is currently under publication in Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese. Learn more
James Cusack, Jr., MD, FACS, is an associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and a surgical oncologist at Mass General, who specializes in the complex multidisciplinary management of malignancies. He is the director of the Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program, the Global Surgery Initiative in the Department of Surgery and the Mass General Oncology Outreach Program in Uganda. In his global health work in Uganda, Rwanda, Liberia, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Bangladesh and Botswana, Dr. Cusack is an advocate for the sustainable transfer of skill sets and knowledge to health care providers, rather than simply providing specialty clinical care in the traditional “medical mission” model.
Susan Briggs, MD, MPH, FACS, is an associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and director of the International Trauma and Disaster Institute at Mass General. She completed her surgical training at Mass General and her Master of Public Health in International Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Briggs has been active, both nationally and internationally, in trauma and disaster relief activities with the U.S. government and non-governmental agencies such as Project Hope and the American Refugee Committee. Currently, she is the supervising medical officer of the Department of Health and Human Services/Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)/Office of Preparedness and Operations (OPEO) Specialty Medical Teams, including the International Medical Surgical Response Team (IMSuRT). She has participated in numerous national and international disasters, including the Armenia earthquake, the World Trade Center bombing, the Bam, Iran earthquake as head of the U.S. Disaster Team, the Katrina hurricane relief in Louisiana and the humanitarian response to the earthquake in Haiti.
Deepika Nehra, MD, is a surgeon who completed her Mass General Surgery Residency in 2014 and a Trauma and Critical Care Fellowship at Harbourview Medical Hospital in Seattle, Washington in 2015. She was appointed to oversee Mass General Global Surgery Initiatives for the year 2015-2016 in Mbarara, Uganda, where she has been living and working at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)/Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH). She focuses on improving systems for the management of critically ill surgical patients through clinical work, resident instruction and curriculum design.
Many department members are also actively involved in the Global Surgery Initiative at Massachusetts General Hospital:
We offer educational opportunities for residents, fellows and medical students who are interested in pursuing international work. Opportunities are available for clinical, research and surgical education projects in resource-constrained countries. Learn more
For more information about a specific global surgery project, please contact one of the program participants listed on our interactive project map
We collaborate with various organizations that offer opportunities in global health, including:
The MGH Cancer Center recently sent a team to the city of Mbarara in southwestern Uganda to explore a collaboration with the local university and hospital to build a new national referral cancer center.
View past issues of the Global Surgery Initiatives newsletter:
View select publications from our team members:
James Cusack, MD Director, Global Surgery InitiativeMassachusetts General Hospital55 Fruit StreetYawkey Building, 7th Floor Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-724-4093 Email: email@example.com
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