Steven Roser Receives SOM Nexus Award for Global Health Working Group

May 2019

Dr. Steven Roser

Dr. Steven Roser

Steven Roser, DMD, MD, Delos Hill Chair and Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Emory Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, has received an Imagine, Innovate, and Impact (I³) Nexus Research Award from the Emory School of Medicine. I³ Nexus Awards are granted to proposals that develop new interdisciplinary research projects with the potential to impact health or generate biomedical knowledge.

The award will fund the launching activities of the Emory Global Perioperative Health Working Group, a multidisciplinary organization composed of leaders and members from various Emory SOM clinical-academic departments, Emory Healthcare Nursing, and Hospital Procedural Operations. The group is dedicated to creating Emory's first coordinated, comprehensive, and organized effort to address gaps in perioperative care and emergency services in low and middle income countries (LMICs), with an emphasis on training, education, and research.

"Trauma is now the leading cause of death and disabilities in patients age 15-29 in LMICs," says Dr. Roser. "The dearth of services to address the surgical needs that result from non-communicable conditions, from diabetes to cardiovascular disease to cancer, is also critical in these countries. This I³ award will support the initiation of the Global Perioperative Group's three year plan to assist LMICs in building their perioperative capacity through the development of education and research programs and communication technologies."

Over the past two years, members of the group have been meeting and gathering data on existing global surgery efforts at other institutions, evaluating these programs' infrastructure models, and establishing contacts with counterparts in LMICs, including Haiti, Ethiopia, Puerto Rico, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Colombia, and other countries. These relationships have been reinforced by members' participation in the Emory-Haiti Alliance, a volunteer consortium of Emory medical students, residents, faculty physicians, and mid-level practitioners that has been making summer surgical trips to Haiti since 2008 (Dr. Roser began joining these trips in 2017), and involvement with the Emory general surgery residency's recent establishment of rotations at the training site co-sponsored by the American College of Surgeons and the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa at Hawassa University Comprehensive Specialized Hospital in Ethiopia.

"As we develop our infrastructure, we hope to serve as a vital interdisciplinary and administrative core for these and other Emory-based global programs to gather and update needed data, identify gaps and opportunities, and execute their initiatives while contributing to ours," says Dr. Roser.

In addition to identifying and engaging with current Emory perioperative faculty/resident/student activities during the first year of the startup plan, the working group will classify gaps in perioperative and emergency care in LMICs in cooperation with their local counterparts; develop and implement data collection processes regarding these gaps; measure LMIC quality and safety gaps such as the incidence of surgical site infections, a currently unknown statistic in many LMIC healthcare facilities; and finalize sustainable goals based on the data collected. These efforts will require training in research methodology and building research networks for perioperative health providers within the LMICs.

The second year of the group's operations will involve supporting education and research needs in LMICs that have been identified as priorities in the gap analyses, securing funding and mentoring for new global perioperative fellowships and Emory SOM student research efforts, strengthening and widening the partnership network with faculty in the LMICs, and exploring possible shared ventures with industrial companies and foundations from high income countries as well as international entities like the World Bank.

By its third year, the Emory Global Perioperative Health Working Group intends to continue enhancing its collaborative education and research programs with its LMIC and global perioperative partners, and to begin developing alliances based on common goals with the Emory Global Health Institute, Rollins School of Public Health, Goizueta Business School, and Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.