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Global Surgery & Public Health Pathway

For more information on the global surgery component of the Global Surgery & Public Health Pathway, please visit the UCSF Center for Global Surgical Studies website. For more information on the public health component, please visit The Wraparound Project website.


Traditionally, surgical disease was considered the antithesis of public health. However, there is a robust emergence of appreciation that surgical disease and trauma indeed affect population health. This is particularly true in vulnerable populations here and abroad. Surgical research in public health is not only appropriate but also necessary in order to reduce health care disparities and address the epidemic of injury. Injury is the number one killer in people 1-44 years of age, many of whom have mental health issues and are from minority populations. Homicide is the number one killer of young African American men and number two amongst Latinos. Poor preventive care also affects vulnerable populations who ultimately suffer from discovery of cancers at the point when they are end stage.

Emergence of Global Surgery in Academia

Along similar lines is the emergence of global surgery as a critical focus in academia. Low and middle income countries represent about 90% of the injury burden worldwide. In addition, lack of surgical care for fundamental issues such as hernias have a profound socioeconomic impact on entire communities. Again, end stage cancer, along with endocrine pathology and congenital disease round out the needs for surgeons to be involved in surveillance, prevention, intervention strategies and evaluation. Capacity building in a context-specific manner with partners in our own neighborhoods and around the globe are fantastic pursuits for an interested resident researcher.

Unique Opportunity to Shape a New Field

While UCSF has an established tradition in addressing surgery and surgical diseases as public health issues, surgery is still a relatively neglected aspect of public health, both nationally and internationally. Trainees participating in the Global Surgery & Public Health Pathway will have the unique opportunity to become adept public health practitioners in these emerging fields, obtaining a fundamental skillset that will allow them to potentially contribute in a significant way to this area of study. Because these areas are traditionally understudied in public health, publications and other work produced by the research resident may have a resonance of relatively particular importance.

Educational Opportunities

The following is a list of resources for those interested in earning advanced degrees or interested in coursework and research relevant to the field(s) of global and public health. It is a sampling of opportunities at institutions with excellent training to prepare our residents in the most context-appropriate way for a career in academic surgery in this track. The local programs would allow for the research resident to remain in the Bay Area to provide for concomitant opportunities to stay involved in research within our department.

UCSF Global Health Masters Program 

This program provides one-year coursework to prepare for a career in global health research, policy, capacity-building, and academia. Thesis projects have been derived from working with faculty within the Department of Surgery. Field projects can be local or global. Coursework relevant specifically for students interested in global surgical issues is included in the curriculum. 

UCSF Global Health Clinical Scholars Program 

This program is designed for clinical residents and fellows interested in incorporating global health into their career path. It includes three weeks of intensive coursework and monthly evening meetings to cover principles of the field, provide opportunities for networking and interdisciplinary collaboration, and present scholarly work. 

UCSF Pathway to Discovery of Global Health

The goals of the Global Health Pathway for graduate trainees is to prepare participants for successful careers in global health and support academic projects across disciplines. Besides courses and educational opportunities, mentored projects are a critical component of the funded program. The Department of Surgery has faculty on the Selection Committee and has faculty as mentors for the field projects for both this program and the Global Health Clinical Scholars program.

UC Berkeley School of Public Health

UC Berkeley offers Masters in Public Health degree programs with emphases in an assortment of areas like biostatistics, epidemiology, and health policy and management. Several of UCSF surgical residents have completed this program and incorporated the experience into their academic careers. 

UC Davis Master in Public Health Program  

Earning an Masters in Public Health at UC Davis provides the potential for collaborating with the California State Department of Public Health (DPH). The California DPH is affiliated with the UCSF Department of Surgery’s Injury Prevention Center. For those interested in surgical burden of disease locally or globally, or injury prevention, with an emphasis on translation to policy, the UC Davis MPH could be a good fit. 

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 

The Johns Hopkins Masters of Public Health (MPH) program incorporates an understanding that the burden of surgical disease, particularly trauma, is a significant part of public health. Earning an MPH through Hopkins also provides opportunities for exposure to potential partnerships with low and middle income countries. 

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 

UCSF Residency has a track record of residents earning an advanced degree at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). LSHTM provides its students with many opportunities in public health, policy, and working in resource-limited settings.

Paul Farmer Global Surgery Fellowship

You can read more directly on this website.

Fogarty Global Health Scholars Equity Fellowship 

The purpose of this Fogarty NIH-sponsored program is to provide support for a mentored 11-month research project for graduate level students interested in studying conditions in the developing world.

Yale/Stanford Global Health Scholars Program   

This program provides funding support for overseas research projects at affiliated institutions in low- and middle-income countries. The program is very well established and applicants do not have to be from host universities.

CDC – Hubert Global Health Fellowship 

This fellowship provides third- and fourth-year medical and veterinary students with public health experience in a developing country. The main focus is a 6- to 12-week field assignment when fellows are mentored by experienced CDC staff and learn through hands-on experience while working on a public health project.

Funding Sources

Global and Public Health 

The burden of surgical diseases, particularly trauma, is becoming increasingly clear to the public health community. Globally, 90% of trauma occurs in low- and middle-income countries, and at home, there are particular populations that are much more vulnerable than others. Disparities research, surveillance, prevention, intervention, analysis of interventions and exportability of models along with cost analysis studies are fundable lines of research activities germane to the surgeon-investigator. Potential sources of funding are listed below.  Many funding sources are in conjunction with curriculum and were presented in the Educational Opportunities Section above.

National Institutes of Health

The NIH has several divisions that fund projects relevant to public health issues. Internationally, these opportunities are through Fogarty grants. Nationally, the Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities and the National Institute for Mental Health are two centers that look to fund programs that address health care disparities and issues of population health relevance such as injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Resource Allocation Program 

RAP Grants are intramural funding lines at UCSF. The Program pools funding from a diverse group of organizations within the campus community. Grant opportunities in the past have included subject matter in global health and public health.

Association of Academic Surgeons Research Fellowship Award 

This award provides funding for residents and fellows pursuing projects in clinical outcomes, health services, or education research.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  

The CDC Injury Prevention Section intermittently has funding opportunities for trainees interested in the field of Injury Prevention. Opportunities typically focus on surveillance projects and community partnership grants.

Global Health Equity Scholars Program

Described in Fogarty Global Health Scholars Equity Fellowship in the "Educational Opportunities" section above.

Fulbright US Student Grants 

Foundation Funding 

Public health programmatic opportunities, particularly for underserved populations addressing health care disparities may be found locally and nationally. Evaluation of programs is often a vital component of the expectations of Foundation grants and provides opportunities for trainees to be involved in analysis of surveillance programs and prevention/intervention programs.

Foundations with a track record for this type of funding include, but are not limited to:

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation  

An outstanding funding opportunity for residents interested in public health and vulnerable populations. For proposal deadlines, please visit here


The Kellogg Foundation accepts grant applications throughout the year. For more information and funding restrictions please visit here.

Johnson and Johnson

Rockefeller Foundation

California Wellness 

As of November 1, 2013, the California Wellness foundation is not accepting unsolicited letters of interest submitted to its Responsive Grantmaking Program. For updates regarding future grants visit the California Wellness homepage.

San Francisco Foundation  

For a list of funding opportunities and their deadlines, visit the Calendar of Events page on their website and select “Grantseekers” from the dropdown box in the right upper corner.

Clinton Global Health Initiative

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