Global Surgery Option: Master of Science in Global Health Delivery (MGHD)


This option is well suited for individuals who dream of making a positive impact to create greater access and quality of surgical care for impoverished communities through policy, advocacy, research, education, or clinical leadership. 

As part of the Master of Science in Global Health Delivery (MGHD) program, UGHE offers a one-year Global Surgery program providing comprehensive training on global surgery leadership, burden of diseases, planning, indicators, capacity building, research, advocacy, and financing. The master’s program will serve to prepare specialized leaders with a broad base of knowledge and skills directed towards improving the health of populations through effective surgical care delivery in Rwanda, the continent, and beyond.

While surgery has not always been considered a global health priority, surgical conditions form a significant burden of disease with surgical interventions playing a major role in helping to prevent death and chronic disability from road traffic injuries, burns, obstetric conditions, and many non-communicable conditions such as heart disease. Expanding access to surgical care in sub-Saharan Africa while safeguarding patients from catastrophic expenditures is a complex, multifactorial challenge.

The Global Surgery option will provide interdisciplinary and leadership training for the next generation of healthcare professionals, researchers, and advocates. During the course of this program, students will study in the core MGHD curriculum, followed by the global surgery focused curriculum below. Students will also engage in a longitudinal practicum experience, with mentorship from faculty and affiliates, intended to provide a practical application of the skills they are developing in the classroom. Through this program, graduates will develop the following skills and competencies:

Health Equity and the Right to Essential Surgical Care

  • Understand the concept of health equity, define and analyze the universal rights to access essential surgical care, and commit to the application of human rights principles in addressing global surgery inequities.

Global Burden of Surgical Disease

  • Understand the burden of surgical morbidity and mortality in local and global contexts, and the public health dimensions of variations in surgical disease epidemiology.
  • Understand ongoing efforts to ensure equity in global surgical care, as well as the challenges of reducing health disparities.
  • Properly interpret and analyze local, national, and global data sets on surgical morbidity and mortality.
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform a global surgery-focused community health needs assessment and conduct situational analysis across a range of health contexts.

Systems Thinking and Surgical Systems Strengthening

  • Understand the concept of health systems, describe the components of a strong surgical system, and apply these concepts to the planning of a viable surgical system.
  • Demonstrate the effects of a robust surgical ecosystem on the larger health care system.
  • Define the ideal elements of surgical capacity building and understand the role of monitoring and evaluation to a surgical system.
  • Demonstrate the ability to design, plan, implement, and evaluate evidence-based surgical system interventions based on needs assessments.

Regional and National Surgical Anesthesia Obstetric and Nursing Plan Frameworks

  • Outline steps to develop a regional or national surgical plan and understand how global agreements, multinational organizations, travel, commerce, culture, global trends in clinical practice, armed conflict and international trade affect the availability of quality surgical care. 
  • Demonstrate understanding of how surgical system planning contributes to the delivery of timely, safe, and affordable surgical care.

Social Determinants of Health in Relation to Surgical Care

  • Identify economic, social and environmental contributors to the health ecosystem which interact with populations to determine the burden of surgical disease.
  • Understand impact of historical colonial and current neo-colonial contexts impacting surgical care, recognize root causes of regional disparities in surgical care, and identify the root causes of regional disparities in surgical care.
  • Identify the roles of major socio-political players (e.g., Ministries of Health) influencing local and national surgical policy.

Ethical and Effective Surgical Collaborations

  • Identify characteristics of successful and unsuccessful bi- and multi-directional surgical partnerships and demonstrate ability to engage local, national, regional, and sub-regional partnerships to meet surgical needs. 
  • Define common ethical challenges in global surgery and demonstrate understanding of local, national, and international codes of ethics and guidelines for human subjects research.

Patient Safety and Quality Improvement

  • Understand the role of a strong patient safety culture in improving and sustaining positive patient health outcomes.
  • Understand the role of non-technical skills in the delivery of safe surgical care
  • Describe a quality improvement framework and implement low-cost interventions using quality improvement processes.

Policy, Advocacy, and Leadership

  •  Understand local and international surgical policy development processes and how best to engage governments, non-governmental organizations, funding agencies, academia, health care leadership, clinicians, and the public to maximize impact.
  • Demonstrate a practical understanding of the need and challenge of developing leaders in the fields of surgery, anesthesia, and obstetrics.
  • Describe the characteristics of effective multidisciplinary mentoring in the field of global surgery.

Eligibility & Applications:

This master’s program is designed for those who have taken their undergraduate courses in health-related fields including but not limited to health care or public health or social science who want to acquire specialized skills in global surgery. Applicants are required to have:  

  • A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a recognized institution of higher learning in health or related social science fields
  • A stated interest in interactive, active problem-based learning on global surgery
  • A demonstration of values and experience consistent with the philosophy of the University of Global Health Equity
  • Proficiency in English to enable the student to both comprehend learning material and to engage in verbal and written communication at the graduate level.

Additionally, priority will be given to:

  • Candidates from traditionally disadvantaged communities, including gender minorities, ethnic minorities, impoverished families and communities
  • Strong applicants from organizations in the field of global surgery

Course Content: 

The program contains, but is not limited to the following courses. 

  • Introduction to Global Surgery
  • Global Burden of Surgical Disease
  • The Surgical Workforce
  • Surgical Systems (Infrastructure and Supply Chain Management)
  • Humanitarian Surgical Care
  • Global Surgery Leadership and Ethics
  • Surgical Safety and Quality Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Access to Safe Surgical and Anesthesia Services
  • Non-technical Skills for Surgery
  • National Surgical Plans and Policy
  • Partnerships and Governance in Global Surgery
  • Global Surgery Microfinancing
  • Foundations of Quality Improvement
  • Principles of Developing a Quality Improvement Program
  • Global Surgery Registries and Databases

Learning and Teaching Strategy   

The proposed one-year, full-time Master of Science in Global Health Delivery (MGHD) with an option in Global Surgery will combine classroom-based work, distance or eLearning, leadership training and field-based work to allow students to develop the skills to tackle global surgery problems. A variety of learning approaches will be used, including: 

  • Interactive lectures
  • Case studies
  • Team-based learning
  • Self-directed study
  • Seminars
  • Research and quality improvement projects
  • Webinar-based teaching
  • Mentoring and portfolio-based learning
  • Speaker series

Scholarship Opportunities   

Under the Global Surgery Option program, UGHE provides scholarships for candidates from low and middle-income countries, with priority for applicants from Sub-Saharan Africa and other African regions. This scholarship is provided based on merit and financial need. While the scholarship may cover tuition fees, accommodation, meals, academic materials and research (practicum-related) costs in Rwanda; it does not cover visa costs, Covid tests, and transportation of students to Kigali and back to their home countries.