ABS Approves Global Surgery Program

March 2012

Quick on the heels of the Residency Review Committee's recent approval of Soddo Christian Hospital in Soddo, Wolaita, Ethiopia, as a site for Emory general surgery resident rotations, the American Board of Surgery has granted approval to the Department of Surgery's Global Surgery Program, making it one of the first ABS-sanctioned international surgical training experiences.

Soddo Hospital, the centerpiece of the program, opened in January 2005 under the ownership of St. Luke's Health Care Foundation of Wheaton, IL. The facility is located in the southern part of Ethiopia, a region where there is limited healthcare available for a population of more than three-million people.

In addition to providing medical services, the hospital partners with the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS) as one of six PAACS training centers. PAACS trains national doctors over a four year surgical residency program. To address the trend of Ethiopian residents that train internationally and choose not to return to their homeland, PAACS stipulates that residents who complete the program must agree to practice in-country for a period of five years.

The development of Emory's Global Surgery Program at Soddo is descended from the career goals of Dr. Jonathan Pollock, who is interested in providing surgical education and quality, cost-effective surgical care in low resource settings. After completing his general surgery residency at Emory, Dr. Pollock joined the faculty of the Department of Surgery in July 2010. He left for Soddo Hospital in July 2011 to take on the position of assistant program director for its general surgery residency program while retaining his Emory appointment. This dual affiliation allows him to coordinate the Emory surgery resident experience in Ethiopia.

Beginning in July 2013, the program is approved for two general surgery residents per year to do one six week rotation each. The residents must be either PGY3 or PGY4. Those residents who pursue this elective option will find an exceptional clinical experience and many stimulating prospects for research in such areas as outcomes, public health, resource-poor surgical environments, and advanced and unusual disease states.