Global Brigades is an international non-profit that empowers communities to meet their health and economic goals through university volunteers and local teams.

Be the CHANGE in Global Health

Join the largest student-led movement for global health as a medical volunteer by bringing healthcare to rural communities in Honduras, Panama or Ghana.

How Do I Join a Medical Brigade?

Get in touch with our team to learn about starting a Medical Brigades Chapter or joining an existing group. Talk with our experienced team members about the impact you can make in under-resourced communities, available scholarship opportunities, and how this opportunity will connect you with other passionate students on your campus.

After filling out the form below, we will be in touch to provide you with next steps.


Responding to COVID-19

Each of our partner program countries has been tremendously impacted by the pandemic and has prohibitive travel policies. In addition to monitoring these travel policies, we are considering a variety of factors to determine when volunteers will be able to travel abroad to participate in brigades. Our team is dedicated to protecting the health and ensuring the safety of all our volunteers, staff, and community partners. Travel restrictions and social distancing guidance are positive steps to help prevent COVID 19. 

Global Brigades chapters are encouraged to join our new TeleBrigades programs and to continue preparing for 2021 and 2022 in-person brigades. Now more than ever, our community partners count on your continued support to ensure we can empower them to meet their health and economic goals.

Have a Question?

Learn more by viewing common frequently asked questions about Medical Brigades. Don’t see your question? Contact to learn more.

What does starting a GMB Chapter entail?

To start a new Global Medical Brigades Chapter on a University campus, new Chapter Presidents take part in the following activities:

  • Develop chapter Executive (e-board) made up of other passionate students to support the Chapter President in recruitment, fundraising, and other chapter activities.
  • Chapter registration with the University’s Student Activities Office (or equivalent). This step is not required, however, many universities offer free printing services or other perks. Additionally, some universities require registration in order to meet on campus.
  • Fundraise to meet the Chapter’s Annual Chapter Contribution (ACC) of $1,500 USD to support Global Brigades’ year-round medical program, which is required of all Medical Chapters in order to take part in Medical Brigades. This is typically due by December 31st each year, however, new chapters just have to raise their ACC by the start of their first brigade.
  • Work with your assigned Program Associate to select a brigade country and set brigade dates.
  • With the support of e-board members, recruit volunteers to  join your scheduled Medical Brigade. In order for a Medical Brigade to take place, each group must recruit a minimum number of volunteers.
  • Work with your assigned Global Brigades travel team member to book flights for your Medical Brigades’ volunteers.
  • Fundraise with your volunteer group to ensure each volunteer meets their fundraising goal.
  • Prepare for your Medical Brigade by review Global Brigades’ preparation materials, such as learning medical Spanish terms, practicing entering patient information into our electronic medical records systems, learning about healthcare in your destination country, and more!
  • After your brigade, keep your chapter engaged by hosting a Regional Student Leadership Conference, planning chapter meetings, and other activities year-round.

The list looks long, but don’t worry, you’ll be assigned a Global Brigades Program Associate who will assist you along the way with each step of the process.

Do I have to start a GMB Chapter to join a Medical Brigade?

Typically, if your campus does not have an existing GMB Chapter, you would need to join a chapter on another campus or you would need to start your own chapter. However, in 2019, we’re offering a unique Medical Brigade experience that allows prospective leaders to join a Medical Brigade tailored for those that aren’t quite ready to start a chapter.

Volunteers who join a Prospective Leader Medical Brigades will have a slightly higher fundraising goal, as they won’t have a Annual Chapter Contribution to fundraise and a Global Brigades staff member will work with you one-on-one throughout your fundraising and Medical Brigade preparation process.

Is a 7 day Medical Brigade sustainable?

By itself, a 7 day Medical Brigade is not sustainable. However, Global Brigades’ medical program is built within our unique Holistic Model of development and a Medical Brigade is one component of our programming. Our local teams work year-round to implement our 3 areas of work within our model: Healthcare, WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene), and Economic Development, each paired with United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. We partner with communities based on a mutual understanding that projects are not implemented for communities – they are implement with communities. Our programs are built around sustainable systems that allow communities to succeed beyond our brigades. Our intention is to help our partner communities reach 6 goals of an Empowered Community 1) Regular, affordable access to a doctor and prescription medication 2) Daily access to a trained Community Health Worker 3) Continuous access to a clean water system with a Water Council in place 4) >90% household adoption of latrines, eco-stoves and water filters 5) Access to sufficient,affordable credit with a Community Bank in place and 6) Ongoing technical capacity for income creation and diversification.

Will I actually be able to work directly with patients?

Students can 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.

Will I have the opportunity to discuss patients diagnosis with the Doctors?

Specific volunteer experiences vary between brigades. Many of our doctors have been trained to create an inclusive and collaborative environment with the students. We encourage all our doctors to make the Medical Brigades an educational experience for the students, 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?

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.

Is this safe?

The safety of the student 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.

How do I find out if my campus has a GMB Chapter?

Visit our Chapters map to search for a chapter on your campus. If a chapter doesn’t exist or is dormant, you have the opportunity to lead your own GMB Chapter and start a legacy on your campus to mobilize students to make an impact in global health.

What happens if I fundraise my goal, but can no longer go on the scheduled Medical Brigade?

All donations are made to Global Brigades, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization in the United States. All donations made are non-refundable and will be used to further Global Brigades’ mission. Global Brigades demonstrates accountability to donors in publishing an annual audit from an independent accounting firm.

If a volunteer wishes to decline their participation after meeting their donation goal,  we encourage the volunteer to find a replacement volunteer to take their place so their original commitment to their project community may be fulfilled. Alternatively, as long as the volunteer cancels no sooner than 14 days before their scheduled arrival date, the volunteer can instead postpone their participation for a future brigade for up to 1 year.

Read our full cancellation and refund policies.

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.

By making this donation, I agree to the no-refund policy

I am cancelling my donation to support Global Brigades