The vast inequalities of medical care worldwide, the portability of medical knowledge, and our duty as physicians are all reasons for humanitarian work, both domestically and abroad. Such service can be a refreshing change from the frustrations of clinical practice and can be intensely rewarding. It can help to remind us of our motivation for choosing medicine as a profession. Working in under-served areas and in countries with limited resources also encourages creative problem-solving and helps to address our own issues of cost-effectiveness
CLICK HERE to search the new Humanitarian Efforts database.
Wide Range of Opportunities to Help
Humanitarian work is not only disaster relief, but includes a wide range of service opportunities to improve medical care or education that benefit under-served populations. In the U.S., it may include volunteer work through a local free clinic, head and neck cancer screenings at a health fair, or visits to a Native American reservation, plus financial and moral support of residents and other otolaryngologists who do humanitarian work.
Huge contributions can also be made abroad: surgical missions, visits to teach newer surgical technologies (e.g., endoscopic sinus surgery), or research efforts to understand the scope of ENT diseases in developing countries. Some Academy members have found retirement as a time to shift their focus to volunteer work, starting foundations, moving to become the only otolaryngologist in a region, or helping to train new otolaryngologists in a department abroad. Residency is also an optimal time to participate. Find humanitarian information specific to residents
Make a Difference in the World
Consider other opportunities. Is there a local hospital or religious organization that takes such trips, where you could add an otolaryngology component? Do you have language or other personal ties to some area of the world? Contact the International Federation of Otolaryngology Societies (IFOS) or any local contacts to create your own opportunity. Learn more about humanitarian work abroad
At the Annual Meeting
To find out more at Academy meetings, check the program for instructional courses on worldwide service in otolaryngology, or stop by an Open Forum sponsored by the Humanitarian Efforts Committee to hear about other Academy members’ mission trips. These meetings also have large numbers of international participants, so introduce yourself and see if you can offer some sort of service. Learn more about humanitarian content at the Annual Meeting
Receive many benefits to help you in your professional pursuits: shape the future of the specialty, manage the business side of your practice more smoothly, and more.
Do you enjoy travel or have a yearning to help others? If so, why not volunteer for humanitarian efforts?