Make a Healthy Difference by Volunteering Abroad
Megan Malugani / Monster Contributing Writer
Thousands of Peace Corps health volunteers scatter around the globe each year to begin two-year stints raising awareness about the need for health education. From setting up training sessions on nutrition and sanitation to promoting prenatal care and vaccinations, Peace Corps health volunteers play the role of community catalysts on health issues. Peace Corps health volunteers come from a variety of educational backgrounds, although they usually have a bachelor’s degree and an interest in health. People with more extensive healthcare backgrounds – such as graduates of master’s in public health programs and physician assistants – may be called upon to spearhead large-scale public health initiatives.
For extensive lists of organizations with overseas opportunities for health professionals and students, check InterAction, a coalition of US private and voluntary organizations dedicated to international humanitarian issues, and Brown University’s International Health Institute. Idealist.org lists thousands more volunteering opportunites, many dealing with healthcare issues overseas.
You don’t have to go overseas to make a difference as a health volunteer. The American Red Cross, the largest humanitarian organization in the US, depends on volunteers to provide relief to victims of disaster and to help people respond to emergencies. The Red Cross trains people of all ages and backgrounds for volunteer positions. Volunteers with nursing and mental health backgrounds are particularly vital to Red Cross operations.