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J Educ Perioper Med. 2017 Oct 1;19(4):1-10. eCollection 2017 Oct-Dec.

International Elective Opportunities in United States Anesthesia Residency Programs.



Global health is a recognized component of medical education and is increasingly included in residency programs. International electives have the potential to improve global health training by providing exposure to different populations and the challenges of health disparities. The objective of this study was to describe international elective opportunities in US anesthesiology residency training programs, including an assessment the types of programs offered and the obstacles to providing this type of training.


An electronic survey was sent to 122 anesthesiology programs. The survey defined an international experience as "a time in which a current US anesthesiology resident traveled outside of the US to pursue a healthcare-related experience." Details describing international opportunities were collected. Responses were stratified by geographic region, program size, and by the availability of international electives. The websites of all surveyed programs were then reviewed to determine specific mention of international or global health programs. These results were compared to the survey responses.


In the website review, 33.6% of programs' websites described international electives for residents. Among all surveyed programs, 56 (45.9%) completed surveys were returned, with 39 (69.6%) of these programs offering international electives. Not all programs with electives described the offering on their websites. There was no relationship between program size or location and the availability of an elective. At most programs with international electives, at least 4 residents participated annually. Funding was the primary barrier to providing international electives. Perceptions of international electives were generally positive.


A large proportion of US anesthesia residency programs offer international electives, and perceptions of global health in anesthesiology are positive. This is consistent with developments in global health in other subspecialty fields.


anesthesiology; global health; medical education


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