Based in the United States, Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) recruits physicians and other health professionals from both the US and Canada. Since its beginnings in 1986, HVO has sent more than 3700 volunteers overseas. HVO volunteers establish libraries, train local health professionals and provide medical care. A variety of different types of medical volunteer work are sponsored by US medical professional organizations.
Depending on physicians’ specialties, destinations include India, Malawi, Zambia, Eritrea, Peru, South Africa, Tanzania, Vietnam, Costa Rica, St. Lucia, Uganda, Honduras, Cambodia, Bhutan, Cameroon, China, Moldova, Nicaragua and Samoa.
Internists, pediatricians, trauma-care and rehabilitation specialists, orthopedic surgeons, hand surgeons, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, anesthetists, infectious disease specialists, dermatologist, hematologists and burn management specialists.
Generally, a minimum commitment of one month is required, although occasionally two-week trips are arranged.
Volunteers are responsible for paying for travel costs and insurance. Many HVO-affiliated sites provide housing, food and local transportation free of charge.