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Global Neurosurgery 2019: A Practical Symposium

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This course is being planned to connect neurosurgeons, other physicians, and health policy leaders in Global Health Initiatives in Neurosurgery. We plan to identify determined population-based needs in different regions and assess mechanisms of current success and continued barriers, then use these experiences and different perspectives/insights to form a strategy for improving global health in neurosurgery and developing metrics to assess success.

There is significant limitation in education, training and access to neurosurgery on a global scale which results in unnecessary morbidity and mortality from neurosurgical conditions. This leads to a critical public health concern in many developing countries. The public health impact of this performance gap has been widely published.

UPDATE: See a summary of the meeting

The Symposium will include oral presentations and an award for best paper. PAPER SUBMISSION NOW CLOSED. 

The paucity of neurosurgical care in developing countries leads to significant morbidity and mortality. While most historical global health initiatives have focused on improving primary care outcomes and access, more recent efforts have focused on surgical access. Over the past 5 to 10 years, there has been an increase in multi-institutional collaborations focusing on the prevalence of neurosurgical conditions, current outcomes, and creating educational training programs that lead to sustainable change. The majority of this work is taking place on Haiti and Tanzania, and there is now published data to support the need and potential success of these programs. The rates of neurosurgical disorders in these locations has been found to be as high as 16%, with a mortality rate as high as 33%. Both the Tanzania and Haiti experiences demonstrated significant increase in number and success of neurosurgical cases.

While significant progress has been made, there are still barriers to more widespread access, incomplete assessment of the success of independent, locally-performed surgeries following these programs, and a need to define future directions and methods to broaden the scope of these initiatives. We therefore plan to draw upon the existing data and bring together the groups involved in prior and current initiatives to identify keys to success and strategic plans to collaborate and work through barriers to increase sustainable access to neurosurgery through local training to improve outcomes and global public health. 

This symposium will consist of lectures imparting the existing experience and state of global health in neurosurgery, review of barriers, group interaction to develop strategic plans by region, review of funding opportunities and sources, closing with future directions and definition of metrics for success.