Letter to the Editor| Volume 154, ISSUE 3, P646-647, September 2013

Research in global surgery: What is true science?

Published:August 12, 2013DOI:
      Dr Finlayson's appeal for rigorous standards of research in the burgeoning field of global surgery was heartening.
      • Finlayson S.R.
      How should academic surgeons respond to enthusiasts of global surgery?.
      The call for scientific rigor in global surgery research and the need to embrace this field in academic surgery are sentiments shared by many. However, he notes that studies reported to date have focused on descriptive need assessments, burden of disease, and operative capacity in low-income countries, but “truly scientific” research would be hypothesis-driven and focus on outcomes, cost, and quality. He suggested that descriptive studies are not scientific, and although they are somewhat useful for advocacy, cannot create much change. However, these descriptive studies are the foundation for the type of research upheld as the standard. Although much of the descriptive work published to date has lacked rigorous methodology, the shortcoming is not the study type but the lack of scientific design.
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        • Finlayson S.R.
        How should academic surgeons respond to enthusiasts of global surgery?.
        Surgery. 2013; 153: 871-872
        • Debas H.
        • Gosselin R.
        • McCord C.
        • et al.
        in: Jamison D.T. Breman J.G. Measham A.R. Disease control priorities in developing countries. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, New York2006

      Linked Article

      • How should academic surgeons respond to enthusiasts of global surgery?
        SurgeryVol. 153Issue 6
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          I think it safe to say that just about everyone connected to resident recruitment has been amazed by the number of medical students who have had experience with or have expressed interest in work in low-income countries. Indeed, a growing number of our surgical residents envision themselves becoming involved in the nascent branch of global health, now increasingly referred to as global surgery.1,2 Given the growth of attention and the fact that many of these trainees are among our brightest and most motivated, global surgery can no longer be ignored as a boutique interest.
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