Many global surgery leaders from around the world joined in Ottawa from June 1-3rd for the Annual Bethune Round Table global surgery conference. Researchers came from Rwanda, Uganda, India, Zambia, Nigeria, South Africa, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Canada, and the U.S. This year’s theme was “Evidence-Based Global Surgery.” The focus was to raise the standard of research being done in global surgery and to improve the way results are implemented in LMICs.
The conference began with a presentation from Dr. Ed Fitzgerald, a general surgery registrar in England. Dr. Fitzgerald runs GlobalSurg, an exciting research collaborative comprised of thousands of students and clinicians from 60 countries around the world. Rather than doing multiple smaller studies, GlobalSurg involves simultaneously collecting professionally crowd-sourced data from various sites worldwide, leading to large-scale studies that capture important trends in surgical care. Their most recent work includes developing a surgical instrument set for the bellwether procedures in global surgery.
One of the highlights of the conference was the Ab Guha Lecture given by Dr. Nobhojit Roy, who gave a talk titled, “Global Surgery 2030: What is Missing in the Discourse?” Dr. Roy filled in many of the gaps that exist between global surgery research and the way global surgery efforts are being implemented. He talked about topics that some have been more hesitant to discuss and left the audience with a lot of salient points to consider.
Other keynote speakers included Dr. Stephen Ttendo, who is working to build anesthesia capacity in Uganda, and Dr. Rachel Spitzer, who talked about equipping OB/Gyn trainees with the skills to participate in global surgery. The final keynote was given by Dr. Nadine Caron, who gave an incredible talk on the challenges to evidence-based indigenous health care in Canada and the importance of remembering that global can mean local as well.
Beyond the research presentations and keynotes, there were several workshops including: Innovation Development, Developing a Curriculum, Research in LMICs, Working with the World Bank, Advocacy for Political Change, Preparation for Successful Partnerships, and Getting Published in Global Surgery. There was also a banquet, where screenings of “The Checklist Effect” were shared and where director Lauren Brown talked about the value of media in enacting change. The conference ended on the final evening with multiple locally-hosted dinners that facilitated more conversations on global surgery.
From left to right: Dr. Laurence Bernard (Ob/Gyn resident), Dr. Adriana Ramirez (general surgery resident), Stacey Giles (nurse), Parisa Fallah (medical student), Dr. Andrew Giles (general surgery resident)
Several members of the Global Surgery Student Alliance (GSSA) leadership team were present, including Parisa Fallah, Dr. Andrew Giles, and Dr. Adriana Ramirez. Dr. Giles, one of the VPs for Residents/Trainees, presented his research on “Predictors of Obstetric Fistula Repair Outcomes in Lubango, Angola.”
As the InciSioN’s National Working Group (NWG) for the U.S., GSSA was able to have many conversations with key global surgery players at the conference and is now working towards partnering with Canadian medical students to help them develop their NWG in the coming year.
Look ahead to May 2018, when the Bethune Round Table will be held in Toronto. The theme is “The Role of Trainees,” so many will be listening closely to learn how they can support students and trainees in their localities who want to join the field of global surgery.