Program in Global Surgery and Social Change

John G. Meara, MD, DMD, MBA, Program Director

Program Background
Historically, global public health discourse has largely omitted surgical care from its list of priorities. However, conditions amenable to surgical treatment such as injuries, cancer, congenital anomalies, and complications from childbirth comprise a significant and growing proportion of global death and disability. In addition, research done over the last several decades has highlighted the essential role of surgical care in horizontal health systems strengthening and health augmentation in resource-poor settings. Despite these findings, however, the provision of surgical services remains unequally distributed around the world: the poorest third of the population receive less than 4% of the world’s available surgical services, while the richest third receive nearly 75%. The effects of lack of surgical care can extend far beyond health status, crippling advances in development, and economic enhancement. Given the significant burden of surgical disease and the devastating impact lack of treatment can cause, surgery can no longer be considered a privilege for the few. The Program in Global Surgery and Social Change (PGSSC) aims to address this disparity, creating excellence and parity in global surgery and anesthesia care delivery to people in resource-limited settings around the world.