Dr. Haile Debas examines future of global surgery in JAMA

In “The Emergence and Future of Global Surgery in the United States,” published in the September 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Haile T. Debas, MD, FACS, examines the need for an integrated response in the U.S. to global surgery. U.S. academic institutions and surgical associations, including the American College of Surgeons, should drive the global effort, he says.

Dr. Debas is Maurice Galante Distinguished Professor of Surgery Emeritus, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and a gastrointestinal surgeon who chaired the UCSF department of surgery from 1987 to 2003. He also is the founding director of the University of California Global Health Institute and was instrumental in the creation of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, serving as the founding chair of its board of directors (2009–2012). In addition, Dr. Debas is a volume editor of Essential Surgery, Disease Control Priorities, Third edition, published by the World Bank Group.

Referring to global surgery as an indispensable component of world health, Dr. Debas notes that approximately 18 percent of the total global burden of disease is surgical and that 1.4 million deaths could be averted annually with basic surgical procedures. Renewed efforts for global surgical care should focus on the formation of a consortium for global surgery, with the involvement of stakeholder organizations, students, and residents, he says. The consortium would develop working groups in governance and organization, education and training, and clinical implementation of trauma and essential surgical services, as well as research in low- and middle-income countries as defined by the World Health Organization.

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