What is the AAWC Global Volunteers program?
The AAWC Global Volunteers is dedicated to bringing the science of wound and lymphedema care to the under-served in developing countries and North America. Similar to a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) for international health care the volunteers have gone to Cambodia, Haiti, India, Peru, and St. Lucia.
Who is the sponsor of the AAWC Global Volunteers?
The AAWC Global Volunteers program was the vision of AAWC Past President, John Macdonald, MD, FACS and was created in 2006 with approval from the AAWC Board of Directors. The program is supported by the volunteer leadership of AAWC Members. AAWC’s first strategic partnership to foster the mission of the AAWC Global Volunteers was with Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO).
Who is eligible to volunteer?
Qualified volunteers are health care professionals who are actively providing advanced, evidence-based wound care including edema/lymphedema management or are working in an academic setting, a clinical practice, research, or infection control. Previous clinical or academic teaching experience is preferred but not required. Clinicians must have a current professional license and all volunteers must be members of AAWC and HVO.
How can I submit an application for volunteer consideration?
Applications will be available to AAWC members by contacting Health Volunteers Overseas or by phone at 202-296-0928. Applications will then be reviewed by the AAWC Global Volunteers/HVO registration committee. Notification of acceptance should be prompt.
How does the AAWC Global Volunteers function?
Through our partnership with HVO, we now provide opportunities for teams of medical professionals to volunteer for short term (1-2 weeks) visits to pre-selected medical sites in resource poor nations. The AAWC Global Volunteers provides professional education on wound and lymphedema programs. HVO manages the programs and provides the volunteers with logistical support.
What is the goal of the volunteer site visits?
The goal of these visits is twofold first; provide the medical community with an outlined teaching curriculum. The second goal is to teach modern wound/edema/lymphedema care, acting as educators in the clinical setting. The mission of the volunteer is to identify and train local health care personnel who can, in time, assume the role of training others.
What is the composition of the medical teams?
It is suggested that each team consist of approximately 2 to 3 volunteers. Ideally, varied specialties will be represented within each team. Volunteers will be encouraged to organize small teams from their own medical facilities. Depending on the site chosen, responsible family members may also accompany the volunteers. Individual volunteers will be given opportunities to join established teams. Please feel free to contact HVO for more information.
What sites are available for volunteer visits?
Each site has been or will be evaluated by an individual or team from AAWC. These are known as “site assessments.” Each program also has a North America-based Program Director who is responsible for ensuring that volunteers are briefed about program goals and objectives. The HVO staff coordinates dates and ensures that all orientation materials are made available to the volunteers. Additionally, each site will have an on-site coordinator who is responsible for organizing volunteer teams, and providing scheduling, orientation, country and health information. Site visits and arrangements have been completed in several locations. The goal of the AAWC Global Volunteers is to have many more sites available through our partnership with HVO in the coming years. Click here to access information from HVO about the sites that are currently running wound and lymphedema programs and the specific needs at each site.
Can new site locations in need of wound care education and training be suggested to the AAWC Global Volunteers for development?
Absolutely! The AAWC Global Volunteers encourages individuals and corporations to suggest sites in developing nations that meet the criteria established by HVO. The site must be dedicated to the care of the urban and rural poor and not-for-profit enterprises.
Will the AAWC Global Volunteers provide teaching materials for volunteer preparation and on site teaching?
Yes. Educational material has been developed to prepare the volunteer in the broad aspects of tropical wound and edema/lymphedema assessment and treatment. A flexible, constantly revised, teaching outline will be provided. Each volunteer is encouraged to use the AAWC Global Volunteers template educational material and adapt this to their own presentation. Look for educational opportunities at the annual SAWC meeting.
What are the financial responsibilities of the volunteer?
Volunteers pay for transportation to and from the program site. Many sites provide room, board and daily transportation for the volunteers, although there may be a nominal fee charged. Local civic groups, churches, medical centers and individuals are often willing to contribute to the effort. Most travel expenses and related costs are tax-deductable. HVO provides Financial Contribution Forms that should be submitted to HVO for volunteer-related expenses. The volunteer may also place a personal web page on the HVO site to solicit donations.
Travel scholarships are available from AAWC (and possibly other organizations) for volunteers who participate in the HVO Wound and Lymphedema programs. Please direct questions about available funding to HVO during your application process. If selected by the HVO Steering Committee (which is comprised of AAWC Members) to volunteer, AAWC will be notified and may be able to help subsidize your travel if funds are available.
What about Insurance?
Volunteers, in their capacity as teachers should not find liability insurance an issue. Travel health insurance and provisions for possible medical evacuation are up to the volunteer, but both are strongly advised.
Are there expectations of the Volunteer?
Volunteers are expected to demonstrate the highest standards of professional and personal conduct at all times. Sensitivity to cultural and social beliefs and practices of the host country should guide behavior. Every volunteer will be expected to submit a trip report to HVO. An outline for this report will be included in the HVO orientation materials. Each year at SAWC, we will provide a forum for volunteers to report on their experiences. Volunteers must provide a copy of their CVs to HVO. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to join HVO.
How can I support the AAWC Global Volunteers?
You may support the AAWC Global Volunteer by spreading the word about the program as well as by making a tax-deductible contribution at “Donate”. Additionally, if you will be in attendance at SAWC, visit the AAWC Booth in the exhibit hall to purchase an AAWC Global support bracelet.