Introduction: All residency programs seem to be feeling the squeeze of constricting system graduate medical education budgets. This has resulted in a significant decrement in resident attendance of regional and national meetings and courses. Some programs no longer even support resident travel to meetings in which they have presentations. We report our probably rather unique solution to the problem- internal philanthropy.
Methods: We established two separate internal funds to support resident education. The first is a general philanthropic fund into which any donations are accepted. Our team funnels any speaker fees or course remittance into this fund. A second fund consists entirely of direct deposit or deferral of salary from neurosurgical faculty.
Results: Through internal philanthropy our program has been able to liberally fund any desired educational experience of our residents. All residents attend at least two national meetings each year and more if they are presenting papers. They are encouraged to seek and attend special technical courses across the country. Any text they request is provided. Research materials and support within reason is readily provided. Residents are treated to academic dinners 3-5 nights each month. 3-4 visiting professors are supported each year. Furthermore an aggressive campaign to engage medical students from 2 local medical schools through group dinners and pizza gatherings is also supported.
Conclusions: Resident education flourishes through contact with other programs and educators. Residents across the country are being afforded less opportunity to access such opportunities due to GME financial constriction. We feel that it is time for neurosurgeon educators to "pony up" and financially support their educational programs. The amount needed is relatively modest- particularly in comparison to median neurosurgeon incomes.
Patient Care: broader resident educational experiences will result in better neurosurgeons
Learning Objectives: to consider another method of financial support for resident education.
to estimate the financial support needed for a robust resident educational experience