Medical Brigades FAQ
In order to operate safe, effective, and ethical programming on all of our brigades, Global Medical Brigades follows the guidelines for undergraduate health volunteering abroad, as set forth by The Forum on Education Abroad.
I am a pre-health student and I am interested in learning more about what it means to pursue a career in medicine. How can Global Medical Brigades help me?
Global Medical Brigades is a fantastic opportunity for pre-health students, or anyone interested in pursuing a career in the health field. Our Medical Brigades offer leaders the role to mobilize peers, travel abroad, and gain practical medical experience in rural communities in Central America and West Africa. Our one-week Medical Brigades allows students the opportunity to shadow local Honduran, Nicaraguan Panamanian or Ghanaian doctors, work in the pharmacies, perform triage — all aspects of a mobile medical clinic. The experience is invaluable for both personal and professional growth. Additionally, brigades serve as great topics for medical school application essays and as résumé items for volunteers’ professional development.
Can you tell me more about what I would be doing if I volunteered for a Global Medical Brigade?
Medical Brigade volunteers travel to Central America or West Africa to participate in a one-week medical clinic in remote communities that lack basic healthcare. Global Medical Brigades allows volunteers to participate in the various activities of the mobile medical clinic. This includes helping triage and taking vital signs, shadowing licensed doctors and professionals in consultations, working in the pharmacy to fill the medicines under pharmacist supervision, and facilitating health education workshops. Volunteers with all levels of experience and skills are welcome and encouraged to participate in Medical Brigades.
Will I be able to actually work directly with patients? I want more patient contact.
If you want more patient contact as an undergraduate, Medical Brigades provides a unique opportunity for you to work closely with patients in communities. The volunteers will be able to shadow licensed medical professionals as they give full consultations, observe doctors as they prescribe medications for patients, and assist pharmacists in filling prescriptions.
Licensed healthcare professionals may be permitted to work directly with patients. Click here to learn more about the roles of healthcare professionals in brigades.
I want to do more than just watch a doctor. Will I actually be able to participate in the examination and discuss potential diagnosis with the doctor?
Specific volunteer experiences vary between brigades. Many of our doctors have been trained to create an inclusive and collaborative environment with the volunteers. We encourage all our doctors to make the Medical Brigades an educational experience for the volunteers, while still providing efficient and effective care for our patients.
For patient safety, no volunteers will be allowed to do procedures that they are not licensed to do in their home countries.
How is Global Brigades different from other medical volunteering programs I’ve heard about?
Global Brigades is unique in many ways. First, Global Brigades acts as an empowering movement by offering a Holistic Model for sustainable development and healthcare in the communities we serve. Unlike other organizations, we not only support our volunteers but also have an on-the-ground team that works with the communities to improve community health year-round. Global Brigades combats health discrepancies in our communities not only through medical clinics but also through public health and water infrastructure projects. We also send Medical/Dental Brigades to our partner communities every 3-6 months in order to provide sustainable medical care, until the community has the infrastructure to provide care to patients.
I am a medical student or medical resident. Can I participate as a healthcare professional?
This varies from country to country. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Is there a minimum or maximum number of volunteers for groups?
For University Chapters, there is a minimum of 12-18 volunteers depending on the programming country. To fairly serve the community’s needs, this number is non-negotiable. The maximum number of volunteers depends on each programming country. Please reach out to your Program Associate for more information. Non-undergraduate university Chapters – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where do the funds I raise go?
Volunteers do not pay to participate in a Medical Brigade. Instead, volunteers fundraise to support Global Brigades’ Holistic Model. Once a volunteer meets a set Donation Goal, they are eligible to join us on the ground to see their fundraising efforts put into action by participating in a Medical Brigade.
When a volunteer participates in a Medical Brigade, the volunteer’s ground transportation, food, lodging, and emergency insurance are all covered. The funding that the volunteer raised also supports all the necessary costs for program implementation, such as equipment, local doctors, pharmacists, translators, and support staff.
Visit our financials page to learn about how donor funds are utilized.
Is this safe?
The safety of the volunteers is Global Brigades’ number one priority and is the single most important consideration when entering a community or choosing a project. Each country that Global Brigades serves in has implemented safety protocols and policies to decrease any risk of danger and to ensure that any emergency can be properly handled in a prompt and professional manner. For more information on safety precautions, emergency procedures, and insurance information, please visit Safety and Insurance on the Volunteer Resource Site.
This sounds great. How do I get involved?
First, find out if your school has a Medical Brigades Chapter by searching for your school on the Chapters tab. If your school does not have a Chapter, click the Be A Chapter President button to fill out the form below to be connected to a member of our staff.
What precautions are being made in consideration of Covid-19?
After more than a year of suspended operations due to Covid-19, we have taken every precaution to resume operations with the health and safety of our volunteers, staff, and community members at top of mind. In the interest of everyone’s health, we have very limited capacity for each program for total number of chapters, and total number of volunteers per chapter, so we encourage your chapter to confirm your brigade dates as soon as possible with your Program Associate to reserve your spot. Visit this page on our website for more information.
What is the difference between Medical Brigades and virtual Medical TeleBrigades?
Medical Brigades participate in 7-8 day brigades in Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Ghana, and Greece. Chapters support preventative and primary healthcare clinic models in communities where access to healthcare is limited or does not exist. Learn more about Medical Brigades here.
A Medical TeleBrigade is an opportunity for volunteers to virtually take part in a mobile medical clinic in a developing country. Volunteers shadow local doctors during secure telemedical patient consultations. To make a sustainable change in health, volunteers also help empower local Community Health Workers/Entrepreneurs. Learn more about Medical TeleBrigades here.
This DONATION is non-refundable
This DONATION is non-refundable Global Brigades, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Your donation will be used to further Global Brigades' mission and will be allocated toward the program you selected. This donation will not be utilized to fulfill a chapter or a volunteer's fundraising goal. Read Global Brigades, Inc's full Donation Refund Policy here.
Looking to donate to support a volunteer's fundraising goal? Find their Global Brigades Chapter by searching our Chapters map and then selecting their upcoming brigade. If you need help finding their chapter, you can ask the volunteer to send you their brigade's specific website link or you can contact us.
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