Attention all hand surgeons and specialists: Interested in volunteering your surgical skills? Here's a list of several organizations that support surgical volunteerism. Except where noted, these organizations are not affiliated with or endorsed by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.
Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO)
Supported by a grant from the American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand (AFSH), Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) coordinates volunteer opportunities for hand surgeons in Peru and Honduras. Because of the AFSH sponsorship, the HVO guarantees that their volunteers will actually be doing hand surgery, and not other health professional activities. HVO also coordinates the AFSH-HVO Young Surgeon Traveling Fellowship for senior hand surgery residents, fellows and hand surgeons within three years of completing their fellowship who are interested in spending four weeks at an HVO hand surgery training site.
Operation Giving Back
The American College of Surgeons has developed this comprehensive online resource which identifies needs for surgical volunteers throughout the world, including opportunities within the United States. Users may search by region, specialtyand level of training.
For over ten years, CURE International has helped 125 million disabled children and their families in the developing world through medical and spiritual healing, by establishing specialty teaching hospitals, building partnerships, and advocating for special needs children. Specifically, CURE helps kids with Hydrocephalus, Cleft Palate, Club Foot, Spina Bifida and other spinal deformities, and crippling orthopedic conditions.
International Medical Volunteers Association (IMVA)
The International Medical Volunteers Association (IMVA) is a nonprofit organization that promotes, facilitates, and supports voluntary medical activity through education and information exchange. Its interests are primarily in developing countries. Formed in 1996, they work with a wide range of volunteers: physicians, dentists, nurses, therapists, hospital administrators, public health specialists, technologists, health educators, missionaries, physician's assistants, students and others interested in health care. They provide information about volunteer opportunities and offer practical advice on how to find and choose compatible assignments.
Interplast was founded in 1969 under the leadership of plastic surgeon Donald R. Laub, MD who at the time was chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Stanford University Medical Center. Interplast supports 12 permanent Surgical Outreach Centers in nine countries, where 4,500 surgeries are performed per year. Their model of empowerment, sustainability and self-sufficiency creates long-term surgical care where none previously existed. Now, more than 75 percent of Interplast surgeries are performed by our partners in the developing world.
Medical Ministries International (MMi)
Medical Ministry International provides spiritual and physical health care to those in need. MMI is committed to meet the need for medical care among the world's poor with lasting solutions through excellence in medicine, patient care, and health education. They coordinate volunteers on one and two week medical projects and establish permanent medical centers. They work with national doctors and health care professionals from the countries they visit.
American Association for Hand Surgery (AAHS)
The American Association for Hand Surgery Vargas International Hand Therapist Teaching Award was developed to foster an exchange of educational ideas between therapists in the AAHS and in the host country to result in improved patient care for upper extremity problems.