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I congratulate the authors who successfully conducted a survey on the current provision of global health education (GHE) in United Kingdom (UK) medical schools.1 Their findings are in keeping with a recent cross-sectional study into the timetables of UK medical schools.2 In the methods section of the paper, the global health learning outcomes and competencies surveyed were listed. However, global surgery was neither surveyed nor discussed in this paper.
This occurred despite global surgery being added as a mandatory learning objective to the national undergraduate curriculum in surgery by the Royal College of England in 2015.3 Post 2015, GHE studies2 and study protocols4 have typically strived to ensure that global surgery is assessed within their study designs. This is particularly important as global surgery often becomes the ‘neglected stepchild of global health’.5 It is easy to see why given that approximately two-thirds of UK medical courses are reported not to cover this topic within their core curriculum.2 It is not in the best interests of the population for a subject of such importance to be ignored by global health researchers and educational institutions.
Therefore, whilst it is encouraging that a study has been done with the aim of identifying gaps in GHE teaching in UK medical schools, the study design in and of itself has resulted in the researchers missing gaps.2 This exemplifies the importance of having a diverse range of stakeholders involve...
Therefore, whilst it is encouraging that a study has been done with the aim of identifying gaps in GHE teaching in UK medical schools, the study design in and of itself has resulted in the researchers missing gaps.2 This exemplifies the importance of having a diverse range of stakeholders involved in GHE study designs. A more diverse panel of authors or a more complete patient and public involvement stage could have ensured the inclusion of global surgery into the survey or at least into the discussion section of this paper. For global surgery to truly get the attention it needs, it is critical that it features in global health research, particularly in studies such as this.
There now exists a need to conduct a survey study to better understand the perceived status of global surgery teaching within the UK medical curricula. This survey should evaluate whether medical students are exposed to global surgery during medical school, how they are exposed to global surgery, and whether the types of exposures meet the needs of students. It is equally essential to collect data on the opinions shaped by this experience; therefore, career aspirations and perceived barriers to joining the global surgery workforce must be elucidated also.
1 Matthews NR, Davies B, Ward H. Global health education in UK medical schools: a review of undergraduate university curricula. BMJ Glob Heal 2020; 5: e002801.
2 Collaborative IU. Global health education in medical schools (GHEMS): a national, collaborative study of medical curricula. BMC Med Educ 2020; 20: 389.
3 The Royal College of Surgeons England, (RCSENG). National undergraduate curriculum in surgery 2015. RCSENG – Prof Stand Regul 2015.
4 Bandyopadhyay S, Shortland T, Wadanamby SW, et al. Global Health Education in UK Medical Schools (GHEMS) study protocol. J Glob Heal Reports 2019; 3. DOI:10.29392/joghr.3.e2019052.
5 Farmer PE, Kim JY. Surgery and global health: A view from beyond the OR. World J. Surg. 2008; 32: 533–6.