Service to patient and community has always been the sacred vow of every physician. Certainly for those marginalized in society—by poverty, plague, isolation, or disaster—our obligation takes on renewed importance. As the physician Francis Weld Peabody wrote in his classic essay “The Care of the Patient,” “One of the essential qualities of the clinician is interest in humanity, for the secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient.”1 During the past decade, this focus on communities in need has been reinforced in the surgical disciplines by the growing interest in global surgery. Global surgery is the practice of surgery—and the development of systems for surgical care—in resource-limited settings. We now see a new generation of trainees pursuing careers in global surgery and an explosion of fellowships, training tracks, and clerkship opportunities focused on global surgery.2 Additionally, there have been a number of collaborative, multi-institution, multinational efforts to incorporate surgical care into global public health discourse. Some recent examples include the publication of a volume on surgery in the third edition of Disease Control Priorities3 as well as the development of a Lancet commission on global surgery.4
Kotagal M, Horvath K. Surgical Delivery in Under-resourced Settings: Building Systems and Capacity Around the Corner and Far Away. JAMA Surg. 2015;150(2):100–102. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2014.3496
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