Development of a Novel Global Surgery Course for Medical Schools

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: We endeavored to create a comprehensive course in global surgery involving multinational exchange. Design: The course involved 2 weeks of didactics, 2 weeks of clinical rotations in a low-resource setting and 1 week for a capstone project. We evaluated our success through knowledge tests, surveys of the students, and surveys of our Zimbabwean hosts. Setting: The didactic portions were held in Sweden, and the clinical portion was primarily in Harare with hospitals affiliated with the University of Zimbabwe. Participants: Final year medical students from Lund University in Sweden, Harvard Medical School in the USA and the University of Zimbabwe all participated in didactics in Sweden. The Swedish and American students then traveled to Zimbabwe for clinical work. The Zimbabwean students remained in Sweden for a clinical experience. Results: The course has been taught for 3 consecutive years and is an established part of the curriculum at Lund University, with regular participation from Harvard Medical School and the University of Zimbabwe. Participants report significant improvements in their physical exam skills and their appreciation of the needs of underserved populations, as well as confidence with global surgical concepts. Our Zimbabwean hosts thought the visitors integrated well into the clinical teams, added value to their own students’ experience and believe that the exchange should continue despite the burden associated with hosting visiting students. Conclusions: Here we detail the development of a course in global surgery for medical students that integrates didactic as well as clinical experiences in a low-resource setting. The course includes a true multilateral exchange with students from Sweden, the United States and Zimbabwe participating regularly. We hope that this course might serve as a model for other medical schools looking to establish courses in this burgeoning field.


  • Geoffrey A. Anderson
  • Katherine Albutt
  • Hampus Holmer
  • Godfrey Muguti
  • Bothwell Mbuwayesango
  • David Muchuweti
  • Muchabayiwa F. Gidiri
  • Swagoto Mugapathyay
  • Katie Iverson
  • Lina Roa
  • Sristi Sharma
  • Bengt Jeppson
  • Kent Jönsson
  • Adam Lantz
  • Saurabh Saluja
  • Yihan Lin
  • Isabelle Citron
  • John G. Meara
  • Lars Hagander
External organisations
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Karolinska University Hospital
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • University of Zimbabwe
  • University of Alberta
  • Helsingborg Hospital
  • Weill Cornell Medical College
  • Harvard University
  • Lund University
  • Harvard Medical School
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Surgery


  • curriculum development, global surgery, low- and middle-income countries (LMIC's), Major emphasis on Systems Based Practice, Significant Professionalism and Interpersonal and Communication Skills, Sweden, Zimbabwe
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-479
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number2
Early online date2018 Sep 2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch