Purpose: To survey physicians who participated in humanitarian missions as residents to assess the value of this experience on residency training and future career choices. Materials and Methods: An anonymous 26-question survey was electronically mailed to 45 individuals identified as having participated in a cleft lip/palate mission during residency. The survey was created and distributed, and the data were collected using the online survey engine Survey Monkey. Results: Thirty-nine individuals (86.7%) completed the survey. Of these, 27 were men (69.2%) and 12 were women (30.8%). Thirty-two (82.1%) were oral and maxillofacial surgeons, 4 (10.3) were plastic and reconstructive surgeons, 1 (2.6%) was an otolaryngologist, and 2 (5.1%) were pediatric dentists. Twenty-five respondents (64.1%) stated that, before their first mission, they had not operated on a primary cleft lip; 21 (53.8%) noted that they had not operated on a primary cleft palate before their first mission. Thirty-six (92.3%) noted that their mission experience improved their ability to repair facial clefts. Thirty-seven (94.9%) believed their mission experience improved their overall surgical skill. All respondents (n = 39, 100%) believed their mission experience improved their overall ability to evaluate patients with cleft. Thirty-six (92.3%) believed their experience in humanitarian missions made them more culturally sensitive/competent health care providers. Thirty-eight respondents (97.4%) believed these missions made them more socially aware of the differences in access/availability of health care globally. Thirty-eight (97.4%) believed that participation in a humanitarian mission was a high point of their residency. Thirty-seven (94.9%) planned to participate in humanitarian medical missions during their career after residency. Conclusion: All respondents believed that participation in a humanitarian mission during residency was a positive part of their training. In addition, these missions allowed the residents to develop as surgeons and improve their awareness of global health care and cultural competence. Given these important educational aspects, participation in a humanitarian mission should be considered a required part of residency training.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Oral Surgery