Global Health Education for Pediatric Residents: Trends, Training Experiences, and Career Choices


Knowledge and skills related to global child health are increasingly recognized as important to the practice of pediatrics. However, little is known about the status and trends in global health (GH) education in US pediatric residency programs. Our aim was to measure trends in residents’ exposure to GH training, their GH education assessments, and GH career plans.


We analyzed GH-focused questions from national American Academy of Pediatrics surveys of graduating residents in 2008 and 2016. Logistic regression was used to estimate changes over time by using derived predicted values.


A total of 1100 graduating pediatric residents participated; response rates were 58.8% for 2008 and 56.0% for 2016. The percentage of residents reporting that their programs offered GH training grew from 59.1% in 2008 to 73.1% in 2016 (P < .001). The majority were somewhat likely, very likely, or definitely planning to work or volunteer in a low- or middle-income country after their residency (predicted value of 70.3% in 2008 and 69.4% in 2016; P = .76). Fourteen percent of respondents reported having completed an international elective in 2016; of those, 36.5% did not receive formal preparation before the experience, and 24.3% did not participate in debriefing sessions on return. Overall, 27.3% of respondents in 2016 reported excellent (8.8%) or very good (18.5%) GH training.


Although a substantial percentage of pediatric residents participate in international electives and plan to include GH activities in their careers, gaps remain, including suboptimal preparation and debriefing for GH electives.

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