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Tamara Fitzgerald, MD, PhD, FACS, FAAP

Assistant Professor of Surgery
Pediatric Surgeon

What is your specific area of interest in health services?
I am a pediatric surgeon and I work on global pediatric surgery development and sustainability in sub-Saharan Africa.  I am interested in health services research that will increase the capacity and quality of surgical care for children in low-middle income countries (LMIC).. 
What is an example of your best work in health services research?

My work focuses on surgical capacity building - empowering and working with local surgeons in LMIC to increase numbers of surgical providers, improve quality and increase peri-operative services.  I have several ongoing projects characterizing the burden of surgical disease for patients and their families, and how we can address this burden. 
Children with congenital anomalies in sub-Saharan Africa represent one of the largest health disparities in the world.  For example, our group recently published a paper regarding gastroschisis in Uganda.  This congenital anomaly has virtually a 100% survival in North America, while the survival in Uganda was 2%.  Children have little access to surgery, families undergo catastrophic health expenditure attempting to access surgical care, and children born with anomalies face extreme socioeconomic challenges.  It is the goal of my research to describe the disparity, improve care and increase advocacy.

In your opinion, what is an important health services research question that needs to be answered in the field of global pediatric surgery?
How can surgical systems in LMIC be organized and expanded to increase access to pediatric surgical care?  How can we avoid burnout and retain surgical providers in LMIC?  What barriers prevent pediatric patients from accessing surgical care and how can we remove those barriers?

What is a fun fact about Dr. Fitzgerald?
I love green tea, hot in the winter, iced in the summer.