All posts tagged volunteers


Global Health Volunteering: Billions of Dollars, Few Rules

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Your Letters: Aid Ethics and Business v. Philanthropy

We’d like to share some letters we’ve been receiving from listeners like you. The first is from someone seeking advice on an ethical issue. Read more…

Ebola: One Doctor in a Firefight

TIME Magazine named those treating Ebola patients as its 2014 Person of the Year. Joel Selanikio is one of them.

“I knew I was going to go,” Selanikio tells us from his base in Lunsar, Sierra Leone, where he is currently treating Ebola patients. Read more…


Should Volunteers Who Live in Poverty Be Paid?

Across the developing world, many international charities rely on local, volunteer staff to perform all kinds of work. Many volunteers provide low-level assistance to organizations. However, thousands of volunteer healthcare workers are bringing vital skills and expertise to rural areas, which suffer from a severe shortage of doctors and nurses.

Many praise the “volunteer spirit” that makes rural healthcare possible, but what about the well-being of the volunteers themselves, many of whom are poor? Read more…

Peacekeeping - MINUSTAH

Want to Help? Three Lessons from Post Quake Haiti

Typhoon Haiyan has led to an enormous loss of life in the Philippines. The search for survivors continues, and getting medical care to the wounded as soon as possible will be key. As international relief agencies begin to coordinate the humanitarian response, it is important to remember what we’ve learned from past natural disasters and figure out how we can most effectively help those in need. Read more…


Medical Volunteers – HuffPost LIVE interview

I was invited to take part in a conversation on HuffPost Live about my story on the harm caused by medical volunteers in post-quake Haiti. Read more…

A child amputee sits up in her hospital bed in Jacmel, Haiti. UN Photo/Marco Dormino.

Photos from a Surgeon in Haiti

Most of these photos were sent to me by Dr. Nadine Semer, a plastic surgeon based in Los Angeles. Semer wrote to me to tell me about the concerns she had after volunteering in post-quake Haiti. Read more…

The above photo shows a Haitian woman undergoing surgery in a parking lot without anesthesia. Photo Courtesy: Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Haiti’s Medical Volunteers – Helping or Harming?

EDITOR’S NOTE: To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, we are reposting this podcast in cased you missed it the first time around. The concerns raised in this investigation remain to this day.

Doctors and nurses responded when Haiti was shaken by a deadly earthquake in 2010.

From across the United States and around the globe, an untold number of men and women took leave from their jobs and flew to Haiti to provide assistance to the injured.

In our latest episode, Tiny Spark takes a look at the quality of care those volunteers provided.  While they may have been well-intentioned, medical volunteers’ lack of specialized training would sometimes have severe repercussions for patients. Read more…