Get an In-Depth Look at International Medical Relief and the Medical Volunteer Opportunities They Provide Around the World
Medical mission trips are a unique and practical way for healthcare professionals and students to volunteer their time and talent to provide healthcare to the world’s most impoverished places. Medical missions are a great way to gain valuable, hands-on healthcare experience and open your eyes to how medicine is practiced all over the world.
The organizations that arrange medical mission trips range from large, multi-national operations to more modest but equally rewarding efforts coordinated by local charities and organizations. International Medical Relief is a large organization that partners with local medical professionals and the surrounding community to bring basic health information and access to healthcare to those in need.
(Click here to see our full list of the best medical mission trips and volunteer opportunities)
What is International Medical Relief?
Founded in 2002, International Medical Relief is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides medical and dental services, sustainable community health education, training and partnership initiatives, and disaster response for the world’s poor and underserved communities. International Medical Relief strives to ensure specific goals are met with every mission. Those goals correlate to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 3, 6, and 17 (Good Health and Well-Being, Clean Water and Sanitation, and Partnerships for the Goals, respectively).
The medical mission trips coordinated by International Medical Relief rotate teams of volunteers to staff both large-scale and small-scale medical clinics located around the world. The clinics consist of three basic components: acute medical care, acute dental care, and community health education. Teams are comprised of medical and non-medical volunteers, and each team collaborates with local health officials and government representatives to ensure each clinic meets the specific needs of the community it serves.
International Medical Relief Mission Statement
International Medical Relief strives to provide access to sustainable health education and medical services in underserved and vulnerable communities around the world to improve the health, wellness, and quality of life of those populations most in need.
Where Does International Medical Relief Serve?
International Medical Relief is both a national and an international charity that provides medical care in crisis-stricken and remote regions in North America, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and Oceana.
Their current listing of medical mission trips is so extensive that it is impractical to list them all here. However, a shortlist of representative upcoming volunteer opportunities includes:
- La Antigua, Guatemala
- Nairobi, Kenya
- Barangay, Philippines
- Amazon region of Brazil
- Himalayan region of Nepal
- Rama Island, Nicaragua
- Indigenous communities of Honduras
- Mendoza, Argentina
- Port-au-Prince, Haiti
What Kinds of Medical Professionals Does International Medical Relief Need?
International Medical Relief teams are comprised of a variety of medical and non-medical volunteers. These teams provide primary and secondary healthcare services intending to build local and international relationships to provide a more sustainable care method.
Here’s a list of medical professionals International Medical Relief is currently accepting:
- Nurse Practitioners
- Physician Assistants
- Nurses (RN, LPN, BSN, CNA, and various other nursing specialties)
- EMS Personnel
- Undergrad Students
The clinics operated by International Medical Relief screen patients for acute and chronic illnesses. While International Medical Relief clinics are not equipped to treat chronic illnesses, they refer those patients to local resources and educate them on how to manage their conditions.
International Medical Relief Volunteer Requirements
International Medical Relief has a thorough application process to ensure all volunteer applicants are who they say they are. In addition to filling out an online application form, International Medical Relief asks volunteers to upload their CV/resume, copies of their identification, and nursing licenses.
Afterward, extensive background and criminal checks are conducted. Licenses are cross-checked against various databases to ensure there are no “actions against” your license. Once everything checks out, applicants are interviewed by International Medical Relief medical officers to make sure their experience and disposition are suitable for the assignment.
Volunteers are responsible for obtaining their vaccinations prior to embarking on their mission trip. Depending on the country of service, certain immunizations are required or strongly recommended. International Medical Relief will provide you with a list of required immunizations specific to your destination.
Apart from English, volunteers have no language requirements, as interpreters will be on hand to facilitate communication between you and the patient.
What Benefits Does International Medical Relief Provide?
International Medical Relief will assist you in many of the necessary arrangements, including:
- Group travel coordination
- In-country transportation (apart from airfares)
- Food (not including while in transit)
Lodging can vary a great deal depending on the trip. Some trips offer luxurious, private accommodations, while others offer more spartan, communal settings. But all accommodations provide you with a comfortable and safe living space complete with private security and safe water supplies.
For security reasons, you will have access to a safe IMR email account for in-country communications. International Medical Relief strongly recommends you do not share your private communication accounts and information with anyone while on assignment.
All medical team members are registered with the U.S. State Department. Additionally, photo credentials with U.S. Embassy contact information are issued to all team members. Personalized scrubs and identifiable uniforms with names on the front and back are also provided.
What Expenses Am I Required To Cover?
In addition to the initial trip donation, which varies depending on the trip, there are a number of expenses that are the volunteer’s responsibility to cover during your mission trip. These expenses include:
- International and local airfares
- Passport, visa, and transit fees
- Travel expenses including accommodations and meals while in-transit
- Travel insurance
- Malpractice insurance
- Personal expenses
- Meals during excursions
- Covid-related expenses, including testing, vaccinations, and quarantines
How to Get Started
Like all medical mission trips, the application process to volunteer with International Medical Relief is a multi-step process that takes time to complete. The first step begins with visiting their website to familiarize yourself with the organization’s overall mission, the type of work they do for the communities they serve, as well as their scheduled missions. A click on any listed mission will provide you with a detailed description of that trip, including the initial donation amount, dates and duration of the mission (usually one week), lodging information, the itinerary, things to do during your downtime, and – of course – a link to begin the application process.
Click here to learn more about International Medical Relief.
Start Your Career in Healthcare by Earning Your Degree or Diploma
Advancing your healthcare career is a great way to earn a more competitive salary*, but the rewards go far beyond the money and increased responsibility. By becoming a medical assistant, registered nurse, or earning a BSN degree, you’ll play a key role in restoring health to the patients you serve. If this sounds like the kind of challenge you’re looking for, then the perfect place for you to begin your journey could be at Provo College or its sister school, Eagle Gate College.
The Medical Assistant Program at Eagle Gate College can be completed in as little as 9 months and provides the necessary training for entry-level positions as a medical assistant in a healthcare facility such as a clinic, physician’s office, or urgent care facility.
Or, if you’re ready to take the next step towards becoming a registered nurse, you can start by enrolling in our BSN program. If you already hold an ADN, then you can earn your BSN degree online in as few as 20 months through the Eagle Gate RN-to-BSN program.
Finally, if you’re interested in helping injured or disabled people restore their strength and mobility, we encourage you to explore our Physical Therapist Assistant program.