Vanderbilt University has been supporting humanitarian training in surgery and anesthesia since 2008 under the leadership of Mark Newton, MD. The goals of the Vanderbilt International programs, which include both the Vanderbilt International Anesthesia Program and the Vanderbilt Initiative for Global Health, have been to assess anesthesia and surgical needs and infrastructure, and provide appropriate education and technology solutions for non-urban areas of Africa. These efforts have also focused on integrating opportunities for surgery and anesthesia residents and Vanderbilt medical students to build the next generation of culturally sensitive and appropriately trained humanitarian anesthesiologists and surgeons. The Vanderbilt training is unique because of the specific focus on surgery and safe anesthesia. Surgery, Anesthesia, Perioperative Care, Acute and Chronic Pain Management represent growing needs in low-income countries as the burden of surgical disease continues to grow. In recent disasters the role of surgery for emergency and essential surgical problems has been amplified, but as well the challenges for surgeons and anesthesiologists without humanitarian training have been apparent. The larger goal of the Vanderbilt programs is to offer humanitarian core competencies, with specific skill competencies for surgeons and anesthesiologists who will be offering care and follow up in resource constrained environments.
Vanderbilt offers a history of academic excellence and a commitment to the underserved, as well as a commitment to leadership in new and emerging areas. Under the stewardship of the Vanderbilt Anesthesia, Surgical and Emergency Medicine Communities, in countries such as Kenya, Guyana and Guatemala, the program endeavors to prepare the next generation of humanitarians for their role in safe emergency medicine, anesthesia and surgical delivery. With the goals of preparing humanitarian competencies, Vanderbilt is also committed to providing appropriate trauma care, emergency and essential surgery.