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Global Health Opportunities in Pediatric Fellowships

Crouse HL, Watts J, St Clair NE, Batra M, McGuinness G, Keating EM, Russ CM, Farr KM, Steenhoff AP, Schubert CJ, Leslie LK, Woods SK, Wilson KA, Camp EA, Butteris SM
Pub Med #

Interest in global health (GH) among pediatric residents continues to grow. GH opportunities in pediatric fellowship programs in the United States are poorly described. We aimed to evaluate GH offerings among accredited general and subspecialty pediatric fellowship programs and identify implementation barriers.

This was a cross-sectional study by pediatric GH educators from the Association of Pediatric Program Directors Global Health Learning Community and the American Board of Pediatrics Global Health Task Force. Fellowship program directors and GH educators at accredited US pediatric fellowship programs were surveyed. Data were analyzed by using descriptive and comparative statistics.

Data were obtained from 473 of 819 (57.8%) fellowship programs, representing 111 institutions. Nearly half (47.4%) offered GH opportunities as GH electives only (44.2%) or GH tracks and/or fellowships (3.2%) (GHT/Fs). Pretravel preparation and supervision were variable. Programs offering GH opportunities, compared to those without, were more likely to report that GH training improves fellow education (81.9% vs 38.3%; P < .001) and recruitment (76.8% vs 35.9%; P < .001). Since 2005, 10 programs with GHT/Fs have graduated 46 fellows, most of whom are working in GH. Of those with GHT/Fs, 71% believe national accreditation of GH fellowships would define minimum programmatic standards; 64% believe it would improve recruitment and legitimize GH as a subspecialty.

GH experiences are prevalent in accredited US pediatric fellowship programs, and programs offering GH perceive that these opportunities improve fellow education and recruitment. Responses suggest that standards for GH opportunities during fellowship would be useful, particularly regarding pretravel preparation and mentorship for trainees.