There’s so much more that we can do, so much more that we can obtain from a medical mission.
When we think of medical outreach program/medical missions, I think the primary focus is on social justice. With that said, we ponder with the following questions:
Why can’t I just want to help people get the proper healthcare that they deserve? Why are people in this situation when they don’t deserve it? As a future healthcare provider l what can I do to fix this? How can I help them?
But I feel like these questions are very limiting. There’s so much more that we can do, so much more that we can obtain from a medical mission. To point out how do we apply the experiences into use to further continue them as a health provider?
It’s been about nine months since I’ve done my first medical mission in the Philippines, and though I did have specific aims/goals for why I was doing this medical mission, I wish that there were more factors that I’ve considered, which are the following:
1.)What is the goal?
→ Is there a specific aspect that you want to learn (Diseases, healthcare system, etc.) Aside from the travels and experiencing a new place
→ what is it that’s different that you can’t get to do while you are in your home country?
→ New techniques that are done, but can’t be seen in America?
**Main question is, what is it does this country/new experience that you are partaking in, and how can it help you? Basically the type of goal that you have will probably narrow down on the type of medical mission that you’ll do.
2.)Consider The Diseases/Health Emphasis
Reverting back to number one, is there a certain disease that you want to witness first hand (haha not in a “Omg be on the lookout” kind of way.) Moreso, is there a particular disease that this country or program focuses in on?
Here’s some links for more info:
3.)What’s their lifestyle like?
Okay, I’m pretty sure that this is an obvious factor haha. But most countries that heavily has opportunities are in developing countries. With that being said, most developing countries are distinguished by provinces or villages. Those of which that lacks electricity, lack a water heaters, etc. So you have to be prepared.
Another thing to consider is communication. Are you able to speak the language? Is english a second language for them? If not, are you able to understand the basics (where is the bathroom? etc.)
**side note: With students speaking their language, most programs allow for their students to be a little bit more hands on with the activities (you may want to double check on this aspect.)
Okay say that you’ve considered at all three of these factors, time to look into ways in how you can pursue a medical mission. Some organizations may in fact offer Global Health Scholarships, or some sort of scholarship where you are able to obtain this opportunity. I know that Child Family Health International allocates some funding..o
5.) How will you apply throughout your career as a healthcare provider?
Needless to say, that medical missions do help with personal enrichment and getting an insight into how other countries practice medicine, but what about the people living in that country? For instance, they have a student who visit their local community, develop a relationship with them, and then is lost.
Some links for medical mission programs:
- Child Family Health International (www.cfhi.org) This was the organization that I did my med outreach on, and it was a really good experience!! It’s a nonprofit organization, global health education that focuses in on their students to learn more about healthcare ethics in global health. Thus, they strongly emphasize on letting the world change you by “thinking globally by acting locally.”
- Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (http://www.fimrc.org)– great opportunity for students who want to learn more about global health specifically focusing on pediatrics.
- Do care International (www.docareinternational.org) employs global health outreach program specifically focusing on osteopathic medicine.
- Cardio Start(http://www.cardiostart.org) great opportunity for students who want to learn more about global health specifically focusing on cardiology
- Ohana Medical Mission– (www.pmah-hawaii.org/ohana-medical-missions) Great start for pre-med students/med students who are living in Hawaii as this medical mission focuses solely on doing their med outreach in the Philippines.
- Kenya Relief (www.kenyarelief.org) Faith based medical mission
- Global Health Corps (www.ghcorps.org/why-were-here/mission-vision/) employs global health equity
With that, I feel that medical missions allow us to not only expand our personal growth, but to also broaden our perspective in healthcare.
Forever your explorer,