Anna J Dare
About Anna J. Dare, MBChB PhD
Gross global inequity exists in access to, and the quality of, surgical care. This is not only unjust, but has huge health, social and economic costs. Since medical school, improving access to surgical care for those who need it most it has become something of a raison d’etre. My work in global surgery focuses on documenting the epidemiology of surgical conditions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), developing policy and strategies to improve access to life-saving surgical care, and examining the complex relationships between access to care, quality of care and outcomes using epidemiological, geostatistical and policy analyses. This work has taken me from my home country of New Zealand - where I also went to medical school - through the Western Pacific, South Asia, West and East Africa, the UK and most recently to Canada.
I have served as a Commissioner on the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery and the Lancet Oncology Commission on Global Cancer Surgery, and as the Lead on the World Bank’s Disease Control Priorities Chapter on Surgical Services for Cancer Care. All of these efforts have aimed to better identify and document needs, challenges and solutions in global surgical care.
After completing my PhD in Cambridge, England, I worked with the King’s Centre for Global Health, King’s College London, developing post-graduate training and research programs in conjunction with our colleagues in Sierra Leone, one of our Partnership sites. In 2014 I moved to Canada as a CIHR post-doctoral fellow, working with the epidemiologist Prof. Prabhat Jha at the Centre for Global Health Research (CGHR), St Michael’s Hospital on large-
scale mortality studies in LMICs, including India’s Million Death Study. The Centre’s motto is ‘counting the dead to help the living’ and we’ve been able to show how geographic clusters of mortality from emergency surgical conditions in LMICs relate to low coverage with surgical services. This can assist governments in identifying districts where greater health resources are required. I started as a General Surgery resident at the University of Toronto in 2015 and am currently PGY3.
Although clinical training takes up a large chunk of my time these days, I continue to work at CGHR and collaborate with surgical colleagues in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, India, Sierra Leone and South Africa undertaking research on surgical conditions and access to care. Many of them have become great friends. It’s both humbling and inspiring to see them navigate the challenges of providing surgical care in their countries and use new data to advocate for improvements. Global surgery is a growing part of Departmental activities at the UoT, and it’s great to see the enthusiasm amongst staff and trainees for engaging in thoughtful, collaborative partnerships and projects in our own backyard and around the world. There is much need, and a lifetime of work to be done!