Center for Global Surgery Opportunities

Our mission is to create a sustainable pathway for residents and faculty members to shape the future of strengthening surgical systems around the globe. Our vision is to reduce barriers of access to basic surgical care globally through education, innovation, research, and advocacy.

Dr. Mulholland and a group of surgeons in China
Dr. Arnold in the operating room
Dr. Gadepalli with a patient and a group of surgeons in clinic

Get Involved

The Michigan Center for Global Surgery connects our faculty and trainees to communities around the world. Through education, surgical care, and research initiatives, we create an international footprint by giving our faculty and trainees the opportunity to make a sustainable difference in the global health arena.

The Center for Global Surgery has established long-lasting collaborations with international partners in order to promote capacity building and research across a wide range of global surgery topics. These collaboration platforms and partner institutions are located Ethiopia, Ghana, India, and Taiwan. The number of projects we are involved in is continuously growing, and many of our current projects are continuing to develop and expand.

The Michigan Center for Global Surgery hosts an annual symposium to showcase work in global surgery at Michigan Medicine and at our collaborators at other institutions. Themes for the symposiums have focused on capacity building, sustainability, and data science.

The experience trainees and faculty gain with our international partners offers the unique opportunity to engage with communities abroad and learn from surgical leaders worldwide. Our surgical faculty visit partnering institutions to assist in establishing educational infrastructure and teaching programs that provide high quality training to local community surgeons. We also invite medical students, residents, and faculty from institutions around the world to exchange ideas and learn about optimal specialty surgical techniques.

In Vietnam, U-M surgeons trained local doctors in hand reconstruction as part of the efforts of nonprofit ReSurge, which works to increase surgical capabilities in developing countries. Dr. Kevin Chung, chief of hand surgery at U-M, has worked with the organization for more than a decade, and hosted similar workshops in Ghana, Ecuador, Honduras, Nepal, and Cambodia.

In China, a longstanding partnership with Tongji Hospital in Wuhan provides an ACGME-approved rotation for a first-year pediatric surgery resident. Tongji is one of China’s busiest children’s hospitals — an excellent training ground that provides for a two-way exchange of knowledge.

Global Surgery Fellowship

The Global Surgery Fellowship at the Michigan Medicine Center for Global Surgery offers a one to two year fellowship focused on training future leaders in academic global surgery. The fellowship is designed for residents in the Department of Surgery to work on during the course of their Academic Development Time (ADT).

Visiting Lecturers

Our faculty members benefit greatly from the opportunity to invite colleagues from other countries to visit and share their work. Visiting lecturers typically spend 2-3 days here, scheduling time with individual faculty members, touring our clinics and exchanging ideas, and attending other educational meetings. We have an opportunity to recognize that great work in surgery that is being done around the world today.

NIH Fogarty Global Health Research Training Grant

With the recent NIH Fogarty Global Health Research Training Grant funding, there exists a unique opportunity for surgical residents. Typically, post-docs and more senior learners (e.g. residents/fellows/Ph.D. students) in the latter half of their programs can compete to be funded for 11 months of overseas research in Ghana, India, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, Thailand, and Peru through our consortium with three other universities. India has been included for the very first time because of our collaborative involvement with All India Institute of Medical sciences, New Delhi. This is an excellent opportunity for residents who are looking for opportunities to pursue research in these global settings. The Center’s responsibilities include helping with identification of mentors and developing suitable strategies aimed at creating competitive proposals in target areas. 

Faculty and trainees advance their knowledge base and expertise by investigating health issues from a global perspective. Our center works alongside international partners to provide mentorship, as well as opportunities for research projects that result in new scientific findings of global significance. We offer international research opportunities for our residents, as well as support for our trainees and faculty to collaborate with international research partners.

In China, a team led by Dr. Michael W. Mulholland collaborates with the Peking University Health Science Center to study the gastric regulation on food intake and metabolism. This research has resulted in funding from major Chinese funding agencies, and the publication of more than a dozen papers.

In Taiwan, a study conducted by U-M and Taiwanese physicians showed how crisis planning saved lives during an amusement park fire that injured nearly 500 people — some who suffered burns across more than 50 percent of their bodies. The results, published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, represent the first project in a recent partnership between U-M and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taiwan’s largest hospital system.

Resident International Research Rotation

As we train tomorrow’s leaders in surgical education and research, we are enhancing our residency and fellowship training programs in unique and transformative ways. We have instituted a resident research rotation in which each resident participates in a full-time, four-week program, and we provide opportunities for residents to complete clinical, teaching and health policy research projects alongside international partners. By increasing the number of such possibilities that include both clinical care and research, we have the potential to increase the likelihood that trainees will be able to contribute to global surgery as young faculty. These experiences also represent a very important time during which a surgery resident can develop the collaborations and relationships required to construct a personal vision for future international work.

International Research Program Support

Our surgical faculty members have always worked with international research partners. The Center assists in helping to coordinate, enhance and create a common structure for these projects so that faculty members can easily share the knowledge they gained and implement ideas for new programs. The Center supports that coordination work and establishes an internal, competitive, and peer-reviewed program for launching new research programs with international partners. Such projects include expanded efforts to work on projects in different parts of the world, pilot programs to evaluate the use of technology and health policy research that would explore more cost-effective ways to deliver effective diagnostic programs and treatments. 

Medical Student Global Surgery Course

The Introduction to Global Surgery course, starting in February 2018, is a course designed for medical students at any level of training or experience. Through a series of formal and informal sessions, students have the opportunity to define the current state of global surgery initiatives in low- and middle-income countries, design and initiate a study focused on improving access to surgical care internationally, and broaden their understanding of diverse cultures and systems. Students learn from faculty who engage in surgical work abroad in developing and underserved areas. In this manner, students receive mentorship critical to initiating a career in global surgery, while faculty have the opportunity to work with interested students hoping to enhance their productivity in global surgery research. 

The structure of this course consists of alternating sessions of research methods courses and faculty presentations of ongoing work and collaborations. Research methods sessions are hands-on, interactive sessions wherein students apply research principles presented to them at the beginning of the session to their own global surgery-related projects. During alternating sessions every other month, faculty who have engaged in global surgery interventions present their work to students to improve awareness and generate ideas for future projects. 

Our surgeons benefit from the exposure to diverse populations, cultural perspectives, and operating environments that drive them to find new approaches to delivery of care. We collaborate with our partner physicians to establish training programs and health systems that improve access to sustainable, high quality surgical care for communities across the globe. Our work ranges from long term partnerships for yearly medical missions and workshops to building specialty surgical centers.

In Colombia, we’ve completed more than 15 medical missions, treating more than 750 children with limited access to care, while also sharing expertise with surgeons at our partner institutions, Clinica del Mar and Universidad de Sinu Medical School, in Cartagena.

In Ethiopia, we led a team to perform the first kidney transplants in the country — the first big milestone in a multi-year effort to establish a transplant center in the East African country. Looking toward the future, this collaboration develops in-country expertise and capacity in the capital city Addis Ababa, including a specialty center with dedicated adjacent operating rooms for transplant donors and recipients.

International Surgical Training Missions & Visiting Fellows

Funding for international surgical training missions and visiting fellows can leverage the experience and knowledge we have gained by increasing the number of surgeons who can perform advanced surgical procedures across the world. In return, we are in a unique position to learn about newer and economic alternative surgical therapies being performed around the globe. This program is responsible for funding to send our faculty to teach in underdeveloped countries and for bringing international surgeons to the University of Michigan Medical school to learn optimal specialty surgical care techniques. The Center supports the creation of sustainable teaching programs by teaching the teachers, in addition to the promotion of research interests to further extramural funding.

Past Project Locations


The Michigan Center for Global Surgery is built on collaboration. Our trainees, faculty, staff, and partners work together to build projects with incredible impact. Email Dr. Krishnan Raghavendran, Director of the Center for Global Surgery, to learn more about how to get involved.