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J Surg Educ. 2015 Jul-Aug;72(4):e52-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2015.04.007.

Global health training in ophthalmology residency programs.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York.
Department of Ophthalmology, Wills Eye Hospital, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Department of Ophthalmology, Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon.
Department of Ophthalmology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York. Electronic address:



To assess current global health education and international electives in ophthalmology residency programs and barriers to global health implementation in ophthalmology resident education.


A web-based survey regarding participation in global health and international electives was emailed to residency program directors at 116 accredited ophthalmology residency programs via an Association of University Professors in Ophthalmology (AUPO) residency program director listserv.


Fifty-nine (51%) ophthalmology residency program directors responded. Thirty-seven program directors (63%) said global health was important to medical students when evaluating residency programs. Thirty-two program directors (55%) reported developing international electives. Reported barriers to resident participation in international electives were: 1) insufficient financial support, 2) inadequate resident coverage at home, and 3) lack of ACGME approval for international electives. Program directors requested more information about resident international electives, funding, and global ophthalmology educational resources. They requested ACGME recognition of international electives to facilitate resident participation. More than half (54%) of program directors supported international electives for residents.


This survey demonstrates that program directors believe global health is an important consideration when medical students evaluate training programs. Despite perceived barriers to incorporating global health opportunities into residency training, program directors are interested in development of global health resources and plan to further develop global health opportunities.


Interpersonal and Communication Skills; Medical Knowledge; Patient Care; Practice-Based Learning and Improvement; Professionalism; Systems-Based Practice; global health; international electives; ophthalmology; residency program curriculum; survey

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