IGHS launches new global surgery center

The Institute for Global Health Sciences welcomes the Center for Health Equity in Surgery and Anesthesia (CHESA) as a new core project of the Institute. The Center, which launched in spring 2020, is led by Doruk Ozgediz, MD, MSc, who joined UCSF as an associate professor of surgery and part of the IGHS faculty leadership team in early 2020.

Equitable access to surgical, anesthesia, and perioperative care for patients who need it most, regardless of where they live or their economic situation, is a core part of IGHS’s mission. Roughly 17 million people die every year from conditions requiring surgical care – a burden five times larger than the total burden of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, combined. Five billion people, including 1.7 billion children, lack access to surgical and perioperative care and anesthesia.

CHESA will help meet that need by strengthening global surgical care capacity through equitable research and training programs that focus on the interventions prioritized by partners ranging from the Bay Area to low and middle-income countries. The Center will increase alignment between global stakeholders and offer training and research pathways.

“CHESA represents a great opportunity to convene the tremendous breadth and depth of expertise at UCSF in health equity in surgery, anesthesia, nursing, and all perioperative disciplines,” said Ozgediz. “Identifying and reducing disparities in access to surgical care and improved outcomes is the most pressing priority of our generation.”

CHESA grows from the legacy of IGHS founding director and former UCSF Chancellor, Haile Debas, MD, who played a key role in establishing global surgery as a field. Debas was lead author of the surgery chapter in the World Bank-funded Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries (DCP2) in 2006. The following edition, DCP3, and the 2015 Lancet Commission on Global Surgery have shown that meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals will require universal access to essential surgical services that impact broad areas of health care ranging from non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, to infections, emergency care and maternal and child health.

“Implementing these recommendations is not going to be easy because nations will need to prioritize funding global surgery,” Debas said. “A key requirement for success is surgical leadership, and that is why Centers like CHESA are important. They leverage the enthusiasm, optimism, and energy of students, residents and faculty to provide global surgery solutions. They will develop the training and competence standards that will be necessary to develop context-specific essential surgical services in low-resource settings.”

Center co-directors represent a broad range of specialties: Michael Lipnick, MD, for anesthesia; Coleen Sabatini, MD, MPH, for orthopedics; Marissa Boeck, MD, MPH, for surgery; and David Bayne, MD, MPH, for urology. The Center plans to expand training and research opportunities over the coming year with local and international partners and is actively working with partners to mitigate the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.