One of the career paths mentioned in our “12 Unexpected Career Paths in the Medical Field” post was international aid. This can be an especially rewarding career path to find yourself in with the ample opportunities it offers to save lives, provide relief, prevent disease, and prepare for disaster around the world.
If you happen to aspire to a career in medical humanitarian aid, keep in mind that it will be essential to first gain hands-on medical experience. And if you’re already a medical professional with this experience, you can begin to look into career and volunteer opportunities in humanitarian aid. These opportunities are most commonly found within NGOs and international medical organizations.
There are many organizations out there today that are dedicated to providing emergency medical relief and helping rid developing countries of various epidemics. International Medical Corps, for example, has a mission to provide quick emergency response in the event of disaster in even remote areas of the world, and to help communities affected by disaster by building self-reliance through extensive training programs. The organization’s mission is largely carried out by nurses and physicians who have been trained in emergency medicine and are able to answer to a community’s physical, mental, and psychological needs during an emergency. These individuals also provide technical advice to struggling communities with regard to nutrition, water, hygiene, and proper sanitation and then prepare these communities to be their own first responders in the event of an emergency. This organization offers both career and volunteer opportunities for those wanting to get involved.
Another international medical organization is Doctors Without Borders, or Médecins Sans Frontières in French. This French-founded organization is dedicated to helping people worldwide where need is greatest, bringing emergency medical aid to those affected by conflict, disasters, epidemics, and exclusion from health care. Individuals with a background in medicine work for the organization’s field staff, offering lifesaving medical and technical assistance around the world, and for the organization’s office staff. There are also thousands of international volunteers who join local staff in order to help communities that are in danger.
These are only two examples of international organizations founded around providing medical relief to communities in need. For those looking to apply a background in medicine to providing relief around the world, there are dozens or organizations offering opportunities for involvement, be it on a career-oriented or volunteer-oriented basis. Whether you want to work in emergency first response, first aid education, or community self-reliance building, there is sure to be a good fit for you.