The Evolving Landscape of Global Surgery: A Qualitative Study of North American Surgeons’ Perspectives on Faith-Based and Academic Initiatives
Faith-based missions have played a large role in surgical care delivery in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). As global surgery is now an academic discipline, this pilot study sought to understand how different faith ideologies influence surgeon motivations and subsequent culture of the global surgery landscape. Interviews were conducted with North American surgeons who pursue global surgery significantly in their career. Points of discussion included early influences, obstacles, motivations, philosophy and approach to global surgery work, and experiences with faith-based (FBO) and non-faith-based organizations (NFBO). Notes were transcribed and thematic analysis performed. Sixteen surgeons were interviewed (11 men, 5 women, ages 39–75 years-old). Surgeons had worked in 32 countries with FBO and NFBO in intermittent or long-term capacity. Religious upbringing and current affiliations included Atheism, Protestant Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Judaism, Mormonism, Islam, and nonreligious spirituality. Early influences included international upbringing (n = 7), emphasis on service (n = 9), and exposure to the religious mission concept (n = 6). The most common core motivation among all participants was addressing disparities (n = 10). Some believed that FBO and NFBO have different goals (n = 4), and only surgeons identifying with Christianity believed the goals are similar (n = 3). Participants expressed that FBO are exclusive (n = 4) and focused on proselytization (n = 6) while NFBO are humanitarian (n = 3) but less integrated into the community (n = 4). Global surgeons have shared early influences, obstacles, and desire to address disparities. Perceptions of FBO and NFBO differed based on religious background. This pilot study will inform future studies regarding the collaborations of FBO and NFBO to improve global surgical care.
Ellis, DI; Fitzgerald, TN
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