The Business and Finance of Surgical Education
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Support of surgical education is critical for the future viability of United States healthcare. This is particularly important in the current era where there is predicted to be significant shortages in physicians, especially primary care and general surgeons, due to an aging population and an increasing number of insured individuals through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Surgical education must constantly evolve to incorporate new technologies and discoveries to meet the changing demands on future surgeons and the needs of patients. Thus, it requires a tremendous investment of time, effort, money, and resources. Federal and state government support of graduate medical education is declining, and significant cuts to future funding are predicted. With increasing financial pressures both internally and externally, the investment in surgical education will require far more support than surplus clinical dollars of departments of surgery. The business and finance of surgical education has become quite complex, and optimally going forward education programs would have strong and multidimensional (hospital, school of medicine, department) advocacy, experienced surgeon leaders with formal education in business and education and/or supportive staff with formal education in business and education. Creative approaches and solutions to financing surgical education are needed, so we can maintain the viability of the system to produce a high-quality surgeon work force trained to address the public needs.