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10 Solutions for Improving Global Surgery

Teams from five continents will each receive up to $200,000 to further develop their projects

A global pandemic that has tested the capacity of health care systems worldwide did not stop over 250 innovators from exploring ways to improve surgical training in low and middle income countries. As part of the Global Surgical Training Challenge, participants last fall joined in a series of Solveathons, hosted by MIT Solve.  

Out of 41 applications, ten teams have won Discovery Award grants of up to $200,000. The announcement was made during a virtual awards ceremony on 28 January. The recipients submitted projects that span across a variety of specialties, including orthopedics, pediatric, cardiothoracic, gynecological and trauma surgery. The projects include simulation models and mechanisms of self-assessment.

“We were impressed by the high quality of submissions for this global surgical training prize,” says Catherine Mohr, president of Intuitive Foundation, the sponsoring organization. “The teams demonstrated a commitment to simulation-based training and self assessment that have the potential to change the paradigm of surgical training around the world.”

The winning teams, composed of clinical and surgical experts as well as medical educators and engineers, will now use their grants to develop an initial prototype and self-assessment framework. In addition to financial support, grantees will have access to mentorship, capacity development support and a package of tools to help develop their solutions.

The winners are: 

Pediatric Colostomy Challenge, OpenSurgiSim, ASAP, CrashSavers, Trauma Tibial Fracture Fixation, ALL-SAFE, IntelliVison, Operation Smile, ETALO, and SELF-Training. 

Read more about their solutions here.

The Global Surgical Training Challenge is a collaboration among Nesta ChallengesMIT Solve, the Appropedia Foundation, and Intuitive FoundationThe Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland is providing mentorship and coaching to the teams through a collaboration that was announced at the event.

The Challenge aims to enhance training for surgical practitioners in resource-constrained settings through the creation of innovative new surgical training modules that can be used to teach and assess skills acquisition. Modules created as part of the Challenge will be freely available for download from the Appropredia platform and will be packaged with know-how to build the model and to train and assess psycho-motor skills acquisition.

Over the next several months the Discovery Award recipients will further develop, validate and prototype their projects, under the mentorship of RCSI. The mentorship program will include regular sessions with mentorship managers and subject matter experts as well as master classes and other tools. Topics will range from technical elements such as simulation technology and e-learning methodologies to soft skills coaching in project management and leadership development. 

The next phase of the Challenge will be the Finalist award of $500,000, to be announced at the end of this year. Finalists will be eligible to apply for the Grand Prize of one million dollars in 2022.

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