Curriculum

Students with an interest in global surgical care but who do not wish to complete a full graduate program can enroll in SURG 510, SURG 512, and SURG 514 independently of the Graduate Certificate or Masters program.

Course descriptions can be found for SURG and SPPH courses on the Academic Calendar. 



Students will examine the historical beginnings, the reasons for the emergence of surgical care in the public health agenda and the details of the global burden of surgical care need. They will explore the wide spectrum of volunteerism, ethics related to clinical care and research in low resource settings, guidelines for activity (projects, programs, partnerships) and the role of advocacy in global surgical care.

Upon successful completion of this course learners will have:

  • an increased understanding of the global status of unmet surgical need
  • a broader appreciation of the ethical issues, the role of advocacy, and the models of surgical care education in international surgery
  • knowledge of the need for injury prevention strategies and for global maternal mortality and morbidity solutions
  • new perspectives on the spectrum of involvement in international surgical activities including volunteerism
  • familiarity with the principles of development in international surgery 

Students will critique current models addressing the fact that globally; one billion people live with a disability of whom 80% live in resource-limited settings which further compounds the family and public burden. Discussion focuses on frameworks for advocacy and alleviating the global burden of surgical disability. Prerequisite: SURG 510.

Upon successful completion of this course learners will have:

  • an understanding of the global status of impairment and disability due to unmet surgical need
  • a familiarity with the international conventions and policy documents of the United Nations and World Health Organization with reference to surgical implications in health and disability
  • the ability to outline the spectrum of involvement of surgical activities in preventing and treating disabling impairments
  • the ability to explain the need for workforce capacity building and infrastructure enhancement to meet the need
  • the ability to discuss proven strategies in overcoming the barriers to effective surgical care of disabling conditions
  • the ability to elaborate on some of the ethical controversies and dilemmas in meeting a service need in the context of limited available resources

Students will examine the current status of global activity by national and international responders to both natural and conflict-related humanitarian disasters with particular emphasis on the role of surgical care. Prerequisite: SURG 510.

Upon successful completion of this course learners will have:

  • an understanding of the complexity of the global burden and trends of humanitarian disasters
  • an understanding of the phases of a humanitarian disaster
  • the ability to describe and critique select responses to humanitarian disasters
  • the ability to outline and defend the essentials for adequate surgical care in any disaster response

Students will explore key concepts, ethical approaches and practices, and practical skills development for planning and evaluation in surgical care.

Upon successful completion of this course learners will:

  • Explain basic elements of program planning and evaluation in surgical care and illustrate linkages between health program planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation
  • Distinguish, examine, and assess different evaluation approaches
  • Understand professional standards, ethical guidelines, importance of community engagement, and the role of stakeholder involvement in program planning and evaluation
  • Develop program logic models and understand the linkages between their component parts
  • Apply a health program planning model and formulate an assessment plan for a particular population in a local or global context, including the use of relevant and appropriate data, information sources, and tools

Students will examine how approaches for surgical research differ compared to medical research. They will learn many aspects of the research process from grant writing and proposal development, to applying for ethics, data analysis and statistical methods used in surgical research. They will become literate in systematic reviews, quality improvement and assurance, as well as technology evaluation in surgical research. SPPH 517 is currently a course requirement for Masters in Population and Public Health, and a key course for surgical trainees in the program.

Upon successful completion of this course learners will:

  • Understand the challenges in doing surgical research
  • Learn differences in the approaches for surgical research compared to medical research

Students will critique the current and historical provision of surgical care services to indigenous communities in Canada and globally. They will draw on indigenous voices to examine challenges and opportunities confronting both the clinician and the service delivery system, embracing lessons learned from these communities. The course will promote critical thinking on, and ultimately will improve the provision of surgical care services to indigenous communities in Canada and abroad. Prerequisite: SURG 510.

Upon completion of this course, the learner will:

  • Have an in-depth understanding of why surgical care delivery to underserved communities in high income countries integrates with the larger discipline of global surgical care
  • Comprehend and be able to critique some of the historical reasons influencing the health status indicators, particularly those relating to surgical care, in indigenous communities of Canada
  • Be able to discuss how Canada’s surgical care delivery to its indigenous communities compares with that in other high and middle income countries, in light of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Have an understanding, gained from listening to the voices of indigenous individuals with surgical care needs living in remote communities, of their unique social circumstances that influence health care
  • Be able to articulate and defend strategies to address the disparities in surgical care between remote indigenous communities and mainstream urban communities in the Canadian setting
  • Through reflection and debate, be able to compare surgical care delivery to underserved communities in high income countries with that in low income countries and be able to determine the applicability of lessons learned from one income setting to the other

Students will carry out an exhaustive search of the world literature, on a global surgical care topic. Topics will be chosen by the student in the specialty discipline in consultation with a faculty advisor to support in-depth learning of the current state of knowledge in that topic and to explore knowledge deficits that need to be addressed. This course will promote knowledge acquisition and critical thinking for the student and contribute significantly to the education of peers and to UBC’s Global Surgical Care knowledge repository. Prerequisites: SURG 510, SURG 512, and SURG 514.

Upon completion of this course, the learner will:

  • Identify impediments in providing patients in a low-resource setting the required surgical care
  • Analyze the reasons behind and the relevant factors contributing to the impediment
  • Collaborate with colleagues locally, nationally and internationally to coordinate efficient solutions to identified impediments in provision of surgical care to patients in low-resource settings
  • Establish a framework to work within to develop creative and/or novel solutions to improve surgical care provision to patients in low-resource settings
  • Acquire additional knowledge in a learner chosen discipline or field of specialization in the area of global surgical care provision
  • Demonstrate self-directed and life-long learning education skills in the field of provision of surgical care in low-resource settings

Students will complete an on-site field placement “grounding” their knowledge and skills attained in the other courses of the program. It will enable students to synthesize the knowledge gained from the coursework, transfer their knowledge to one aspect of International Surgical Care practice, and demonstrate achievement of the Master’s program learning objectives. A high level written report will be the main evaluated component and could well provide the basis for a publication or for a major conference presentation. Prerequisites: SURG 510, SURG 512, SURG 514, and SURG 516.

Upon completion of this course, the learner will:

  • Conceptualize and design, at a graduate level, a surgical care project, either in a research or educational development format, for a low resource setting globally
  • Implement and evaluate an approved surgical care project
  • Discuss the importance of host colleague partnerships in global surgical care projects
  • Articulate and discuss the barriers to successful global surgical care projects
  • Articulate and defend the value of a field practicum to consolidate learning of surgical care in low resource settings globally
  • Prepare and complete a publishable-ready report on a global surgical care project