About the Team

The GlobalSurgBox is a confluence of several ideas surrounding surgical simulation and global health. 

A group of residents from Penn developed the Heart Box to meet the needs of trainees at home.  A resident from UVA used a tackle box stuffed with surgical supplies as a portable simulation station for herself and junior residents.  And a fellow at CU spent several years building partnerships with surgical trainees around the world and learning about the need for simulation tools in low and middle income countries.  When this group came together in 2021, these goals morphed into the GlobalSurgBox.

The power of this project is the central concept that surgical simulation does not require expensive materials, extensive setup time, or dedicated infrastructure. 

The GlobalSurgBox continues to develop, and our hope is that students, residents, fellows, and faculty will continue to find new ways to simulate particular procedures or procedural elements and will share those with one another.  We are grateful for early grant support, and are establishing this project as a “make one locally, give one globally” model for trainees in the US to develop working partnerships with global trainees who do not have easy access to the supplies that we can easily obtain from online or local retailers.  The TSRA has endorsed the project and is working to help link US programs with programs around the world, and we are working with several US training programs to trial the GlobalSurgBox and continue improving its features.  The story is just beginning!

Our Founders

In 2017, Jason Han and John Kelly met as two junior cardiac surgery residents at Penn interested in creating a low-cost simulator to encourage trainees to practice at home. Using just a wooden board, some rubber bands and nails, Heart Box 1.0 was born. In the following years, the team moved Heart Box 2.0 into a shoebox, and incorporated balloons and hair ties into the setup to expand the potential array of drills. Allie Sperry, Penn Med student and incoming cardiac surgery resident, joined the team.

Emily Downs was a cardiothoracic resident at UVA when she put together a tacklebox containing all her surgical tools, and created a valve simulator using a coffee can.

Yihan Lin is a CT fellow from Colorado working in global health equity and surgical disparities. She has been working in Rwanda since 2012 and runs a humanitarian workshop preparing surgery residents to work in austere settings. Emily brought her tackle box to work one day, and Yihan envisioned how this type of portable kit could be useful to her colleagues in Rwanda and Kenya. After exploring the literature about surgical simulation, they found the Heart Box creators and a collaboration began.

Our Sponsors and Collaborators

  • Dr. Jay Pal
  • The Global Surgery Student Alliance (GSSA) – University of Colorado Chapter
  • Thoracic Surgery Resident Foundation