Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scrutinizing Short Term Medical Relief Trips- Ethical Considerations

I have been preparing a summary presentation of our ongoing Honduras medical relief program with my colleague  Dr. Michael Stevens. This program is under the auspices of the VCU Global Health and Health Disparities Program.

The ethical aspects of medical relief work have particularly interested us. These concerns are concisely summarized in the following paper, published by the Hastings Center.

•Who really benefits? Is it the recipients or the participants?
  Do these relief trips simply serve to make us feel better about ourselves?
•Has the community been involved in the planning?
•Is the program culturally sensitive?
•Is the program sustainable and will it truly benefit the recipients?
•Are lasting collaborations in place?
•Is there a risk for harm?

The above issues have driven us to collaborate with community leaders and the local Ministry of Health to develop a sustainable clinical/public health program in a rural and mountainous area of Honduras. 

For last year's mission detail and for an informative interview with a collaborator, click here.

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