The Global Surgery Lab is an interdisciplinary, inclusive, and diverse group that aims to improve knowledge of and access to surgical care in underserved communities through innovative, anti-colonialistic, and equitable educational platforms and research projects.
The global pandemic introduced changes in the delivery of surgical care and spurred calls for action to address the social inequalities that plague our healthcare systems, including the need for surgical education that addresses historical biases and inequities in the ways that surgical providers and the populations they serve access high-value surgical care. The GSL was established during the height of the pandemic to organize and direct the growing energy of students and faculty from disciplines across campus and around the world with passions for surgery and social justice.
Our lab was first created to address the need for surgical providers in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the lack of formal surgical training programs limited the provision of surgical services to low socioeconomic status communities. To resolve this issue, a partnership between Médecins Sans Frontières and UBC’s Branch for Global Surgical Care was established to create and disseminate an educational resource for non-surgeon physicians in low SES areas. The GSL team of physicians, professors, nurses, and students designed the Essential Surgical Skills curriculum, which contains training modules for basic surgical procedures. Through the completion of this course and an evaluation by an MSF training surgeon, these healthcare providers can be equipped with the skills they needed to provide adequate surgical care to their communities.
This curriculum was successfully implemented at the Aweil hospital in South Sudan and has since been introduced to many other communities that MSF works with. The curriculum continues to increase, with the addition of new training modules for more surgical procedures and the incorporation of instructional videos to supplement the educational content.
This project led to the expansion of the Global Surgery Lab. as we recruited more members, introduced new initiatives, and developed research projects to accomplish our goal of advancing the delivery of surgical services. Through the work of a diverse team of students, nurses, and physicians, the GSL’s vision is to achieve universal access to quality surgical care worldwide.
The Essential Surgical Skills online course is geared towards non-surgeon physicians to give them the basic knowledge and skills in the management of urgent and life-threatening surgical conditions. Created in partnership with Médecins Sans Frontières, this curriculum contains modules that include didactic material and instructional videos, and are paired with specific technical and clinical skills, evaluated separately using Entrustable Professional Activities in the field.
To supplement the curriculum, we are working to create instructional videos that depict different surgical procedures. These videos are short, informational resources that can be used to teach specific skills or can be reviewed before performing surgery. Examples of videos we have made include Open Chest Tube Insertion, Leg Fasciotomy, and B-Lynch suture.
Our ongoing research projects are very diverse and include both qualitative and quantitative studies. Some of the current research topics include Ethics in Global Surgery, Perception of Pain in Indigenous Patients, Delphi consensus for Sustainability in Global Surgery Partnerships, and Cost-effectiveness of Surgical Interventions in South Sudan.
Check out the Off The Table Podcast, brought to you by the Global Surgery Lab! The Off the Table Podcast provides an environment to have safe conversations about equitable surgical care globally. Each episode aims to give a voice to surgical providers working in diverse communities to speak about their experiences in delivering surgical care. By facilitating these important conversations, we can work towards creating more ethical global surgical partnerships and develop ideas to improve access to quality surgical care worldwide.