Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Tsao Pediatric Global Surgical Fellowship

Fellowship Description

This Pediatric Global Health Fellowship is organized through USC's Department of Reconstructive Surgery, USC's Institute for Global Health, Operation Smile and The Shriners' Hospital for Children, Los Angeles. The purpose of the fellowship is to train leaders who will further promote surgical care, education, and research pertinent to global reconstructive surgery. Fellows will develop academic, clinical, and administrative skills in global surgery, clinical and public health research, and humanitarian aid. The two-year Fellowship will focus on developing research skills necessary to assess and improve surgical programs in resource-poor settings. Fellows will spend substantial time delivering surgical services and conducting research in low- and middle-income countries around the world.

Global Surgical Fellowship


  1. Train leaders in global reconstructive surgery with a background in research.
  2. Advance the specialty of reconstructive surgery in resource poor settings.
  3. Contribute to humanitarian relief and delivery of surgical care in conjunction with Operation Smile.
  4. Develop and implement clinical and public health research to improve operative outcomes, efficacy, cost effectiveness, and sustainability of reconstructive surgery programs.

Fellowship Structure

Duration: 24 months Curriculum: Divided between: (1) Master of Science in Clinical and Biomedical Investigations, (2) Research, and (3) International surgical care and management.

  1. Masters of Science in Clinical and Biomedical Investigations
    Fellows earn a Masters of Science in Clinical and Biomedical Investigations from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. Obtaining the Masters will take between 12 - 18 months depending the way the program is tailored to the individual fellow. Variances in time are dependent on how much time the fellow spends at international sites.
  2. Research
    Fellows conduct clinical and public health research related to delivery of surgical care, surgical disease burden, operative outcomes, efficacy, cost effectiveness, and sustainability. Fellows will be expected to gain experience writing grant proposals and submitting papers for publication. Research mentorship will be provided through faculty associated with the USC Institute for Global Health and the Department of Preventive Medicine.
  3. International Surgical Missions
    Fellows will spend time at multiple sites around the world where Operation Smile is carrying out surgical care missions. Fellows will gain firsthand experience in reconstructive surgical care delivery, primary data collection, clinical and research program management, public health, and international capacity building.

Master of Science in Clinical and Biomedical Investigations

The Masters of Science in Clinical and Biomedical Investigations is a joint effort to train medical students, fellows or health professionals, including faculty and other scientists conducting clinically-related research, in clinical research methods to translate clinical, biomedical and technological discoveries into advances in population-based, clinical or basic science research. Various tracks are offered, depending on research interest of applicant, including Patient-oriented Translational, Research Community Based Intervention Trials, Design, Conduct, and Analysis of Clinical Studies, Epidemiology and Disease Etiology, and Health Outcomes Research.

The MS program in Clinical and Biomedical Investigations is designed to train students for future independent research careers in an academic, government or private sector setting. The objective of the MS program is to produce a clinical researcher with statistical and analytic skills in population-based, clinical studies or outcomes research. The program gives students a solid background in the methodological aspects of research, and in statistical thinking as applied to molecular epidemiology, as well as a solid grounding in biostatistical, epidemiology methods.

Graduation requires the completion of a minimum of 29 units, of which a minimum of 15 units (3-4 courses) are didactic course credits taken in the first year (including summer sessions), with the remaining units being directed to mentor-supervised research and thesis taken in the second year. The equivalent of one year of full-time effort must be devoted to research leading to a master thesis. The thesis provides a structure for the development of a plan to address a research problem and a suitable approach to the analysis and presentation of the results. Because the background and interests of applicants varies widely, one to two members of the Program Oversight Committee will consult with each student prior to the first year in order to design an individualized schedule of recommended courses. At the end of the first year, the trainee must submit a final program plan to the Program Oversight Committee. This will summarize the courses taken, the proposed thesis title, and the names and credentials of the MS Thesis Committee. One of the members of the MS Thesis Committee will be the trainee's research advisor and will serve as the chair of the committee. At least one member of the Thesis Committee must be from outside the student's department.