Disaster Relief Medical Missions

The Making a Difference Foundation is committed to helping you find a way to give back that fits your passion and experience. There are so many different types of medical missions available, and each one is different based the nonprofit partner you choose, the country you visit, and the type of patients you will see.

If you are someone who likes adventure and wants to help where you are needed the most, perhaps disaster relief is the option for you. Disaster relief is a great opportunity for medical providers who are passionate about helping communities get back on their feet after conflict, disease, or disaster.

What you need to know:

  • The process takes time: When you apply to volunteer with a disaster relief organization it takes time to fill out your application, interview with the nonprofit staff, collect needed documents, and then it takes even more time before you are called to participate in a disaster relief response.
  • Not all types of medical providers are needed: Often when there is an emergency, medical providers who have the widest range of experience and training are the most helpful. For example, Family Practice physicians are often needed as they can treat a variety of ages and symptoms. Nurses with experience as a midwife are also in high demand. If your practice is very specialized, we don’t discourage you from applying, but we recommend you check with the organization to see that your credentials can be used.
  • Training is required: Once you are accepted to volunteer with a disaster relief organization you will often need to undergo some training. This information will be vital to your success if you are chosen to deploy during an emergency. This training can cover everything from the structure of the organization, to humanitarian aid basics, and potentially other HR related training like security and codes of conduct. Training may be online or in-person.
  • Flexibility is key: The very nature of disaster relief is that you cannot plan these responses. Often you need to be able to deploy to a location within 72 hours of being selected. You may want to work with your place of employment to see if this is even an option for you. Flexibility is also more than just being able to travel on a moment’s notice, it’s also about what you do when you get there. Practicing medicine in a disaster area means that sometimes you will work outside your specialty, or some days you may not even practice medicine and will instead need to roll up your sleeves to help set up a clinic or address other logistics. You’ll need to be able to adapt quickly and with a great attitude.


Our Recommended Partners:

International Medical Corp is a partner we are super excited to be working with. This global, medical nonprofit is dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through emergency response and development programs. It is their mission to improve quality of life through health interventions, healthcare training, and building local capacity in underserved communities worldwide. What we love about International Medical Corps is that they don’t only want to relieve suffering but actively work to help these communities get to a point of self-reliance. Their teams ensure that the knowledge required to prepare for and respond effectively to a disaster remains anchored within the community.

Currently, International Medical Corps has asked us to help them find providers who have midwife skills and experience. If you are interested, please fill out this interest form and we will pass along your information.

If you’d like to know more about International Medical Corps you can visit their website, read about volunteering with them, or even apply (MD Application, RN Application, RPh Application).

Heart to Heart International is a passionate group of folks who are committed to making the world a healthier place. There are still so many places in the world where access to healthcare is not a reality. Through distributing resources, conducting training, engaging volunteers and responding to disasters, Heart to Heart International is making steps every day to make healthcare more accessible.

We have been so impressed with the work Heart to Heart International has been doing during the COVID-19 pandemic. As things start to return to normal in the United States, there are still many parts of the world that need  assistance. If you are interested, there are opportunities for medical and non-medical volunteers. If you think your skills would be helpful you can fill out their application, or to learn more about their work please visit their website.

More Information:

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t quite over yet. We still need providers to help respond to the pandemic in places around the world. But, COVID-19 isn’t the only disaster we are preparing for. We are heading into hurricane season and need to be ready to help should disaster strike. There is always a need for medical providers to respond to disease, conflicts and disaster. We would love to talk with you more about medical missions and answer any questions you might have. Please feel free to reach out to our team at information@makingadifferencefdn.org.


About the author

Sarah Trescott

I am passionate about our focus to help ignite and amplify the passions of others. Some of my passions include: making healthcare more accessible, helping providers find medical missions, playing ice hockey, reading a great book, and enjoying the amazing Utah mountains.

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