Redirecting a Global Health Surgical Program to Remote Support During a Pandemic: The IVU Virtual Visiting Professorship Program.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Urology



Global health surgical programs generally provide support through hands on surgical workshops. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted domestic and international travel, virtually eliminating the ability of such programs to provide in person care. International Volunteers in Urology (IVU) has developed a virtual visiting professorship (VVP) program out of necessity to redirect in person support to virtual support.


The VVP program was established in February 2020 when the decision was being made to suspend surgical mission trips. The program consists of hour long lectures provided to established international sites at which IVU has previously held global health surgical workshops on topics requested by those sites after solicitation by IVU. Lecturers are IVU volunteers. We report the experience of the IVU VVP program from February 2020 through January 2021. We evaluated the number and timing of VVPs, as well as topics, locations served, and volunteers engaged. We also report the results of a basic survey from participants evaluating the program.


42 lectures have been given over 12 months. Topics included those in General Urology (n=9), Oncology (n=20), Female Urology (n=2), Reconstruction (n=2), and Pediatrics (n=9). Lectures have been given to sites in 11 countries outside of the US, mainly in Africa, with 10 lectures given to the Pan-African Urological Surgeon’s Association. A total of 2,149 persons registered for the VVPs; 1,094 (51%) participated. While participation initially was proportionate to the number lectures given, there has been some decrease since September 2020 (Figure 1). The lectures have been given by 31 IVU volunteers, of which for 12 (39%), the VVP was their first experience with IVU. Participants ranked presentations on Likert Scale (0 poor-100 excellent) a median of 98.


The COVID-19 pandemic has required global health surgical programs to significantly rethink their support of others. IVU has created a well-received VVP program that enables remote education during a time when it has been necessary for more self-isolation. Such a program enables maintained connectivity in this altered landscape of global health programs and has increased IVU participation.




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The American Urological Association Annual Meeting, Virtual, September 10-13, 2021.