Global health education for pediatric residents: a national survey

Melanie Anspacher, Mary Pat Frintner, Donna Denno, Suzinne Pak-Gorstein, Karen Olness, Jonathan Spector, Cliff O'Callahan
Pediatrics 2011, 128 (4): e959-65

OBJECTIVE: To assess exposure to global health (GH) training, future plans to work or volunteer abroad, and the importance of GH training in program selection among graduating pediatric residents.

METHODS: A national, random sample of graduating pediatric residents was surveyed in the 2008 American Academy of Pediatrics' Annual Graduating Residents Survey. Questions specific to GH training were included.

RESULTS: The adjusted survey response rate was 59% (546 of 927); 534 residents from 170 programs responded to at least 1 GH question. GH training was an essential/very important factor in selecting a residency program for 22% of the respondents, and 21% reported participating in GH training during residency. In multivariate analyses, participation in GH training was associated with being single (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 1.90 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.10-3.27]), graduating from a US medical school (aOR: 2.45 [95% CI: 1.14-5.28]), lower educational debt (aOR: 2.63 [95% CI: 1.54-4.49]), and training at a larger program (aOR: 2.73 [95% CI: 1.47-5.06]). One-third of respondents reported definite/very likely plans to work/volunteer in a developing country after residency; these respondents were more likely to be single (aOR: 1.82 [95% CI: 1.14-2.92]) and international medical school graduates (aOR: 2.10 [95% CI: 1.19-3.73]). Fewer than 50% of respondents received education in the majority of topics considered essential to GH training.

CONCLUSIONS: GH-training opportunities are important to pediatric residents when selecting a program, and many are graduating with intentions to volunteer/work in a developing country after residency. The low exposure to GH topics among a broad cross-section of pediatric residents suggests that additional work is needed to adequately prepare pediatricians for work in GH after residency.

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