Just what am I signing up for?
Volunteer organizations are evaluated according to our framework of literature-based best practice recommendations. These represent practices that our panel of academics, program administrators, and volunteers all agreed were important for a short-term international medical project. They are a starting point in your efforts to find a placement that benefits host communities.
Collaboration between the sending organization and local health services.
Continuity of Care and a clear referral process for higher levels of care.
Continuous presence of organizational staff or a partner organization in the host community.
Local leadership by including a local medical provider in clinical care on the medical mission.
Capacity building by training host providers, local health workers, or community health workers.
Public health work or health promotion to address the community’s health concerns.
Volunteer pre-screening with an application process and confirmation of credentials.
Pre-departure training with cultural/clinical orientation.
Written clinical protocols describing scope of practice for volunteers.
Adequate resources and a clear pathway to obtain advanced tests.
Publicity, including advance promotion of visiting clinics to the host community, or a well-known clinic location.
A Staffing plan describing future medical mission needs and a recruitment strategy.
A Triage or priority system in place for clinic patients.
Impact and Safety
Written post-trip feedback or debriefing from volunteers.
Medical records that are easily accessible to future volunteers.
Evidence-based clinical guidelines for volunteers, describing an approach to common diseases in the community
Transparency on financial costs faced by organization.
Knowledge of financial cost to community associated with hosting volunteers.