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SAPP Guest Post: Patricia Walling on Health Care Volunteering

April 26, 2011

Patricia Walling is a web content designer in Washington State for several websites regarding the field of medicine and careers in health care, including Medical Transcription. A self-professed perpetual student, she finds herself drawn to researching even the most esoteric information she comes across that she doesn’t already know something about.  We’re delighted that Pat sent us this guest post with more information about health volunteer organizations.

Health care professionals about to embark on their chosen careers may consider volunteering for humanitarian causes as a great training ground to hone their skills. When thinking of applying for such work, The Peace Corps and Doctors Without Borders may first come to mind, but here are a couple other organizations you may not have thought of that operate specifically in India and South Asia.

1) The United Nations Volunteers

As one might imagine, U.N. volunteers work towards promoting peace and humanitarian works in the countries they are assigned. Additionally, health professionals who become involved with the United Nations often work in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO) to promote health around the world.

Volunteers must be at least 25 years old to apply, must also possess a university degree or equivalent with two years of work experience. You can apply by registering on their website.

2) Service Civil International (SCI), USA Branch

As explained on their site, “SCI is volunteer organization dedicated to promoting a culture of peace by organizing international voluntary projects for people of all ages and backgrounds.” Oftentimes SCI partners with other volunteer organizations, such as UNESCO. The U.S. organization provides volunteers with short assignments that run for two weeks as well as longer projects that can last for as long as 12 months.

To be placed as SCI volunteer, you need to fill out the online application form found on their Web site and pay the applicable fee.

3) Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO)

HVO is a non-profit organization that accepts qualified professionals who can offer advanced training in specialized areas such as dermatology, anesthesia, pediatrics, surgery, etc. in the countries they visit. Most projects last from about to two weeks to a month, but longer placements can be arranged with the organization.

To volunteer with HVO, one must first become a member (as members are required to pay dues to fund the organization’s activities) of Health Overseas Volunteers. To be placed, a member must fill out the Volunteer Profile Form to be submitted to the HVO office. The HVO will then inform you if you have been accepted to the volunteer program.

4) Students Partnership Worldwide (SPW)

Students Partnership Worldwide (SPW) is a registered charitable institution that provides development programs in Africa and Asia (South Asia in particular). Volunteers are given intensive training before they are sent out to various communities all over the globe to teach the importance of health, social and environmental issues. The program accepts approximately 250 volunteers between the age of 18 and 28 each year, and offers both long-term and short-term placements. Download an information packet from their Web site to apply.

These are just some of the organizations people can volunteer with to promote peace, health, and progress in South Asia. Comment if you know of any other good ones!

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