The AAFP Foundation's Family Medicine Cares(aafpfoundation.org) program is taking its show to roads outside the United States.
In an Oct. 18 announcement at the AAFP Foundation Annual Recognition Dinner, Foundation President Mary Jo Welker, M.D., unveiled Family Medicine Cares International(www.aafpfoundation.org), a new humanitarian program that will send its first delegation to Haiti in February 2013.
Similar to the original U.S.-based program, now known as Family Medicine Cares USA(www.aafpfoundation.org), Family Medicine Cares International is focused on "helping those in need, at home and around the world" through patient care, education and training in family medicine and support of community clinics.
The first annual delegation trip will run Feb. 2-9, offering opportunities for both medical and non-medical volunteers. Groups will be divided by focus: patient care, medical education and training, and humanitarian service, including facility improvements and making connections with Haitian children and youth. Non-medical volunteers will contribute to the annual trip by participating in orphanage improvement projects, delivering essential supplies and providing activities for children.
Heart to Heart International will serve as the in-country partner for the project, maintaining a permanent presence in Haiti and managing all volunteer activity in-country, including transportation, lodging and security.
In addition to the delegation trip, ongoing volunteer opportunities also exist. Up to three volunteer physicians at a time are needed year-round to provide ongoing patient care in community clinics. Volunteers will serve an average of one week alongside Haitian medical personnel.
Licensed FPs are encouraged to apply as volunteers for the program. Residents may be admitted to the program under physician supervision if space permits. All volunteers are required to fund their own transportation and expenses.
Financial support also is needed to fund the work, including ongoing support of children in orphanages, facility improvements, and medical symposia.