About International Medical Relief

International Medical Relief Volunteer Cares for a Tiny PatientInternational Medical Relief (IMR) is a registered 501(c)(3) medical organization with NGO status based in the United States. We provide mobile medical clinics and sustainable health education to underserved communities in 40 countries around the world.

IMR offers short-term assignments for volunteer medical professionals and dental professionals, students, and non-medical volunteers to conduct medical and dental clinics that provide free, expert care and health education in areas where it is limited or difficult to obtain. We make all arrangements for our volunteers, including transportation, lodging/meals, government permits, and clinic logistics. We secure equipment, supplies, and medicines from within the United States through partnerships with pharmaceutical and medical supply companies, hospitals, and other health and development organizations. We provide this service without compensation or discrimination, and irrespective of race, religion, creed, or political affiliation.

IMR was founded on the belief that knowledge of basic health facts and access to healthcare should not be the prerogative of select nations, regions, or classes, but should be shared by as many people as possible. We undertake our work to include some of the millions of people who have been excluded from today’s healthcare systems worldwide.

IMR contributes to the world’s communities by improving the overall health and wellness of the people via medical diagnosis and treatment, partnerships with local medical designees, community training, and fostering the principles of prevention.

OUR MISSION

To provide access to health care in underserved and vulnerable communities around the world to improve the health, wellness, and quality of life of those populations most in need.

OUR VISION

To be the preeminent global nonprofit health provider that will create, sustain, and enhance global community health status by providing compassionate, responsive, and high quality services.

OPERATIONS

International Medical Relief promotes the well-being of underdeveloped communities through a comprehensive continuum of services provided in collaboration with partners. These services are accomplished through three main functions of the organization:

HEALTH CARE SERVICES

IMR provides free health care services, medicines, and supplies to entire communities, particularly to community members who are sick or frail, especially poor, or at great risk of ill health and disease. To foster community interaction and development, we begin each clinic with team members’ introduction to community leaders and members and proceed through pre-arranged logistics. Locations for clinic can vary from community hospitals to small clinics, health posts, temporary areas set up in a village, or even in individual homes reached by trekking from village to village for house calls. We work with our hosts and the local Ministry of Health to determine the best way to reach the most vulnerable and those most in need.

International Medical Relief Volunteer Student Learns from a Medical Professional in a Panama ClinicOur volunteer medical and dental providers diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions, typically while being shadowed by student volunteers who learn in the process. We commonly treat patients suffering from respiratory infections, malaria, urinary tract infections, pain, moderate and severe dehydration, headaches, parasites, dermatological infections, and wounds. Common wounds include those from snake bites, motor vehicle accidents, and agricultural accidents, such as goat bites. We may conduct minor surgical procedures on abscesses, jiggers and other burrowing parasites, or large wounds.  Many of the illnesses we diagnose are the result of a lack of clean water, sanitary conditions, and education.

We commonly treat patients suffering from dermatological infections, impetigo, scabies and staph infections, some of which are highly contagious. We conduct minor surgical procedures on abscesses or lesions needing sutures.

Our medical teams enhance direct patient care through our comprehensive laboratory and wound care stations. We can typically provide rapid testing for pregnancy, malaria, strep A, HIV, and hemoglobin. The wound care station includes specialty dressings, cleaning supplies, and suturing materials.

We also provide a privacy area for examinations, IM injections, and mental health counseling. An in-clinic ICU for oral and IV hydration and observing patients completes the clinic.

Because our teams are staffed by volunteers, every team looks different and has different capabilities. We frequently have pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, infectious disease, pain management (including acupuncture and chiropractic providers), physical medicine, geriatrics, family practice, and mental health providers on our trips. Our dental teams often include oral surgeons, general or specialized dentists, and certified dental hygienists and assistants. Technical providers such as respiratory therapists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists often accompany us as well.

For patients who require care beyond the scope of what we are able to provide, we do our best to get them to the nearest medical facility for treatment.

During each clinic, basic equipment, pharmaceuticals, and medical supplies are used in clinic and then donated to trained local health care workers within recipient communities to be distributed, free of charge, as diagnosed needs arise. Our medicine and supply donations occur as a result of IMR partnerships with pharmaceutical and medical supply companies, as well as donations from area hospitals and clinics. These resources are life saving.

EDUCATION

International Medical Relief Volunteer Teaches Children about Brushing their Teeth in the Thailand GulfEducation is as important as medical and dental care for our patients. Each clinic includes basic health education according to the specialties and skills of the IMR volunteers, as well as the needs of the local people. When communities become empowered to take health and wellness issues into their own hands, they become self-sufficient. IMR provides learning opportunities for the local communities through classes and hands-on learning to sustain their well-being beyond our visit.

Community classes focus on prevention and run throughout the clinic day. They might include basic first aid, clean water, breathing solutions, hand washing, infectious diseases, dehydration, smoking, and simple treatments for chronic ailments affecting the community. Clean water, basic hygiene, and nutritional tips can go a long way to saving lives and stopping the spread of disease.

The medical exchange component of education is critical for the continuum of care outside of our visit. IMR provides technical expertise to local medical professionals through a partnership with them in diagnostics and treatment, and through a mutual exchange of ideas. During our clinics, doctors, nurses, dentists and other volunteers work side by side with the host community’s own medical and health professionals for a collaborative exchange of modern and traditional means of healing.

FUNDRAISING

The efficiency of our organization is among the top worldwide, as only 1.5% of our costs are dedicated to our general and administrative expenses. The funds we raise for our programs are dedicated to those programs and their success. We host a fundraising portal on the IMR website for our volunteers that puts them in the driver’s seat for securing donations to cover the cost of their trip. IMR volunteers can set personal fundraising goals; the paperwork of getting the donation letters and receipts to those volunteers is all handled by IMR.

PARTNERSHIPS WITH SCHOOLS

International Medical Relief Volunteer Students Get Ready for Work on a Medical Mission Trip to NicaraguaIMR desires to establish long-term partnerships with universities; schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and nursing; and other educational organizations. We want administrators to feel comfortable and confident in sending students on IMR clinicals abroad each year, knowing we will provide the same turnkey solutions each time to meet your school’s requirements. We welcome students on our trips as individuals, as a group, or as a class and pride ourselves on the excellent care our professional team leaders and ground staff provide our teams. Learn more about our Study Abroad programs for students.