Historic Congressional Briefing on the Need for Surgical Care in Low-Resource Settings

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On February 4, 2015, The G4 Alliance and ReSurge International, a founding member of the G4 Alliance, hosted a historic Congressional Briefing on the Need for Surgical Care in Low-Resource Settings on the U.S. Capitol Hill. Hosted in collaboration with the Congressional Global Health Caucus and U.S. Representatives Dave Reichert and Betty McCollum, the briefing brought together a full house of experts from the global surgery community with Capitol Hill representatives to raise awareness for the essential and life-saving role of surgical care and anaesthesia.  

The briefing was  divided into three major themes: 1) Defining the Neglected Surgical Patient; 2) Broadening the Focus: Surgery, Anesthesia and Non-Communicable Diseases; and 3) Strategies and Solutions.

The  event began with a welcome message from Ms Sara Anderson, Chief Communications and Advocacy Officer for ReSurge International.  This was followed by an introduction delivered by Dr. Jaymie Ang Henry, Interim Executive Director for the G4 Alliance. Dr. Henry spoke passionately about the 2 billion neglected surgical patients worldwide and discussed the need for health system and health workforce strengthening as well as cross-cutting collaboration, cooperation and innovation. Statements were then delivered by broad cross-section of expert panelists including: 

  • Dr. Jim Chang, Consulting Medical Officer, ReSurge International; Chief, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Stanford University
  • Dr. Girma Tefera, Medical Director, Operation Giving Back, American College of Surgeons 
  • Dr. Raymond R Price,  International Relations Committee, American College of Surgeons; Vice-Chair WHO Global Initiative Emergency and Essential Surgical Care (GIEESC); Associate Director Center for Global Surgery, University of Utah
  • Dr. Harshad Sanghvi, Vice President of Innovation and Medical Director, Jhpiego
  • Dr. Kelly McQueen, President, Alliance for Surgery and Anaesthesia Presence; Director of Global Anesthesia Programs, Vanderbilt University
  • Justin Koester, Co-Chair, NCD Roundtable; Senior International Relations Specialist, Medtronic, Inc.
  • Erica Frenkel, Vice President, Business Strategy, Gradian Health Systems
  • Erin Stieber, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Smile Train; Vice Chair, CORE Group

The Congressional Briefing was particularly timely in light of the recent momentum surrounding the prioritization of global surgical care and anaesthesia. On January 29, 2015, the World Health Organization Executive Board unanimously adopted a landmark draft resolution on strengthening emergency and essential surgical care and anaesthesia as a component of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). With the US government as one of the co-sponsors and major supporters of the resolution, the Congressional Briefing provided a unique opportunity to engage in discussion regarding the most pressing issues surrounding the neglected surgical patient.

As part of Congressional advocacy efforts, the G4 Alliance and ReSurge international prepared a Policy Brief and call to action shared with representatives on the Hill.  Read the G4 Alliance and ReSurge Policy Brief here

Congressional Briefing Presentations: 

Surgery is Essential for Health of Women and FamiliesDr. Harshad Sanghvi, Vice President and Medical Director, Jhpiego

Global Trauma Care and the Role for the United States in Saving Lives and Decreasing Disability from InjuryDr. Raymond R. Price, National Committee on Trauma, International Relations Committee, American College  of Surgeons

The Story of a Medical Technology LeaderJustin Koester, Senior Specialist,  Global Government Affairs, Co-Chair, NCD Roundtable

Anesthesiology is Essential to Health Care, Dr. Kelly McQueen, President, Alliance for Surgery and Anesthesia Presence

Delivering and Teaching Reconstructive Surgery, Dr. James Chang, CMO, ReSurge International

The Need for Surgery in Low-Resource Settings, Dr. Girma Tefera, Medical Director, Operation Giving Back, American College of Surgeons

Access to Essential Safe Surgery For Cleft: An NGO Model to Increase Access and Training through Partnership and Technology Investment, Erin Stieber, VP of Strategic Partnerships, Smile Train

Innovation, Technology and SurgeryErica Frenkel, Vice President, Business Strategy, Gradian Health Systems