Performing international surgical outreach missions to help the world’s most disadvantaged patients overcome the disability imposed by disease is an extremely rewarding experience. Missions are challenging, varying in their length, level of working and living conditions and the surgery performed. Despite the rigors of mission work, there has not been a mission where members of the medical team did not find the experience to be life changing.
Explore this issue:April 2010
Over the years, people interested in performing humanitarian missions ask many common questions: How do I become involved? How do I get funding? What will be expected of me on a mission? How do I get started? Do they actually help?
I have had the experience of performing humanitarian missions both in the military and in private practive. The most difficult hurdle to overcome is going on the first humanitarian mission. People want to get involved but I have found that it is difficult for us to put down our commitment to our daily practice. My advice to anyone interested in otolaryngology outreach missions is to just jump in. There are many opportunities available for otolaryngologists to perform humanitarian missions. The best place to start is the American Academy of Otolaryngology Humanitarian Web site (entnet.org/Community/public/humanitarian.cfm).