Purpose: To assess perspectives of residents: (1) who participated in short-term international medical mission trips (STIMMTs) as medical students regarding impact of the experiences on their professional development; and (2) who did not participate in STIMMTs regarding barriers to participation. Methods: Three hundred seventy-nine residents from 16 programs at two Florida institutions completed surveys requesting Participant and Trip Details and Impact of Participation (including items rating learning, cultural competency, and social responsibility). Results: One hundred thirty-one residents participated in at least one STIMMT. They identified improved adaptability to new healthcare settings, communication with patients and professionals from different backgrounds, and appreciation for the impact of culture on health as positive outcomes. Leading barriers to STIMMT participation included cost, timing, and lack of availability. Conclusions: Years after participation in STIMMTs, residents perceived sustained benefits in cultural competency, communication skills, adaptability, and desire for service. Institutions may consider facilitating STIMMTs as one way to address standards specified by accrediting authorities to provide training in cultural competency, social responsibility, altruism, and understanding the importance of caring for underserved populations. Barriers to STIMMT participation may be reduced through availability of institution-sponsored scholarships, identification of external grant and scholarship opportunities, and coordination of fund-raising activities.
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