Global Health

Haiti 2015, Global Health Advocacy Program trip

Global Health Advocacy Program in Surgery (GHAPS)

Global Health Advocacy Program in SurgeryTeaching, Healing and Discovery

Correctable surgical disease is ubiquitous in the developing world and is now recognized as accounting for at least 11 percent of the world’s global health burden. The Global Health Advocacy Program in Surgery (GHAPS) was initially conceived in 2008 as a program under the OHSU Department of Surgery and is in a unique position to not only contribute to the care of patients across the globe but advance OHSU's strategic plan to become an international leader in health and science.  Learn more 

Karen Kwong, M.D., with Lane Haitian ReliefGlobal Surgery Director Karen Kwong, M.D., describes the program in her own words:
"My thirteenth trip to Haiti will have just concluded by the end of April 2016. Every trip is different; this year, team members and I have been sending a flurry of emails regarding the Zika virus and what that may mean to those traveling to Haiti. Whether it's the Zika virus, a hurricane or an earthquake, the obstacles of practicing global medicine are small compared to the need..." read more

Sheena Harris, M.D., travels with Lane Haitian ReliefSurgery resident Sheena Harris, M.D., recounts her trip to Haiti with the Lane Haitian Relief team in October 2015:
"...we stretched our supplies and staff by operating on 30 people that week. I could not comprehend how it must have been after the earthquake. Dr. Kwong told stories about how patients spilled out of the buildings and over the grassy walkways between the buildings, waiting for operations and treatment that often could not be provided in time..." read more

Surgery Research Track

University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa

Designed to train future thought leaders in international surgery, the global health research track at OHSU facilitates study and research abroad at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. Available to research residents and requiring two years of dedicated time, residents in the global health research track study for a Masters in Public Health at the University of Cape Town and conduct research in conjunction with the Department of Surgery. At UCT, residents study alongside physicians and other public health professionals from South Africa, southern Africa, and all around the world. The prolonged experience of living in South Africa, in combination with studying under and alongside public health leaders from around the world, allows for a unique opportunity for residents to gain a true understanding of public and global health. Learn more

Clinical Opportunities


Belle Anse, Haiti, October 2017The OHSU surgery residency program offers the opportunity for up to four residents to participate in a 10 day medical/surgical mission to Cayes Jacmel, Haiti each year. The team is based at Centre Medical Emmanuel (CME) Hospital, run by Haitian Doctor Louis Philippe. This short experience is open to residents in or after their research year. The residents travel with Lane Haitian Relief (LHR), founded by Eugene, Oregon surgeon and team leader Snell Fontus M.D. FACS, and are also supervised by Dr. Karen Kwong & Dr. Martin Schreiber, PVAMC and OHSU surgeons. Residents learn skills such as the navigating the logistics of planning mobile clinics, medication purchasing and distribution for common diseases, as well as conducting surgery in a limited environment. Residents also learn about the cultural aspects of delivering care in Haiti and work closely with Haitian medical students and translators while getting to know the Haitian people and landscape. The LHR team includes a multidisciplinary group of interested MD's, RN's, residents, MPH's, pre-meds and teenage participants from the Portland and Eugene communities. During an average week, the mobile clinics see approximately 1400 patients and perform between 23-38 surgeries. Learn more


The partnership between the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) and the Alliance for Global Clinical Training (AGCT) is a unique collaboration that is forging the way forward in international surgical collaboration. Long limited by time and logistical constraints, the AGCT ties together faculty and residents from a number of universities in the United States to provide a year round presence at MUHAS. The primary objective of this partnership is to support and enhance the training of our Tanzanian colleagues. Residents rotating in Tanzania can expect to take night time trauma and emergency surgery call and work closely with their counterparts. The goal is not to be the primary providers of surgical care but to help enhance the existing educational structure of the MUHAS training program. In addition to clinical opportunities, a number of research, educational and public health projects benefit from OHSU resident involvement in Tanzania. Learn more

Research Opportunities and Education


For a list of selected published manuscripts by OHSU general surgery resident participants in GHAPS, click here

Surgery and Inequalities Course

The Surgery and Inequalities course will introduce 1st and 2nd year medical students to the critical role that surgery can play in reducing health inequalities. Discussion will include the ethics of global volunteerism, social determinants of health, governmental policy, and the World Health Organization’s Emergency and Essential Surgery program. Learn more

Sample Track


  • Join GHAPS and participate in planning / advocacy / teaching medical student course 
  • Build surgical skills and knowledge 
  • Connect with a faculty mentor with international interests 

Research Year(s)

  • Clinical opportunities in Tanzania or Haiti 
  • Lead as a course coordinator/director for the “Surgery and Inequalities Course” for MS1's and MS2's. Learn more
  • Complete one academic project pertaining to international health as it relates to public health and/or education. 
  • Complete the MPH degree at Portland State University, if staying in Oregon 
  • Give a talk at the “Conversations in Global Health” course. Learn more about this course. 

Global Research Track

  • Complete the MPH degree at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa, and conduct independent research in conjunction with UCT faculty. Potential for clinical work in East London, SA. 


  • Rural Surgery Rotation. The OHSU residency program has partnered with two rural Oregon communities, one in Coos Bay and one in Grants Pass, offering residents the opportunity gain additional experience living and working in rural settings, as well as gaining experience with common surgeries outside of general surgery, including OB/Gyn and trauma/EGS. OHSU is a member the American Board of Surgery’s Flexibility in Surgical Training (FIST) program. Learn more 
  • Mentor R1-3 interested in international surgery  


  • Clinical opportunity in Haiti (take an active role in planning)