Questions about Volunteering from Home? We’ve Got Answers!Jun 18, 2020
At FIMRC, we are known by partners, students, and all our volunteers for our ethical, grassroots programs that ensure all our volunteers have a meaningful and impactful experience on-site. We offer opportunities to learn how to diagnose, treat, and prevent some of the greatest global issues of our time, including HIV/AIDS, diabetes, hypertension, malaria, anemia, malnutrition, maternal and child health, mental health, and many more. Our volunteers choose FIMRC because we offer a hands-on approach to public health for undergraduate students, medical students, pre-med and pre-nursing students, MPH candidates, students seeking a gap year, and high school students, along with experiences for medical professionals such as physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and anyone with an interest in global health and international development. On-site, our volunteers work in our clinics, engage in community outreach and education, conduct home visits, support mobile clinic operations, and learn about grassroots, ethical medical volunteerism. Our volunteers are also immersed in the culture of the country they serve, living with a homestay family, enjoying weekend excursions, and learning the language and culture of the local communities.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these on-site operations have been temporarily put on hold. To ensure we are still able to offer an experience that is valuable to our volunteers and benefits our communities, we launched our Virtual Volunteer Programs earlier this year to give our passionate volunteers an innovative way to contribute to FIMRC’s mission, while remaining socially distant at home. Virtual volunteers learn from FIMRC experiences, shadow clinical rotations, and engage each other through virtual discussions and group projects.
We’ve been inspired by the enthusiasm we’ve seen for our volunteer from home programs. We’re here to help answer the many questions you might have about being a global health volunteer from home. Read on to learn more about our virtual volunteer programs and get a jump start on your own career in global health, all from home!
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE IN FIMRC’S VIRTUAL VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS?
Our Virtual Volunteer Programs are for anyone with a passion for global health looking for meaningful ways to support FIMRC’s mission to improve access to healthcare worldwide. We have unique programs for high school students, undergraduate students, post-graduate and medical students, and medical professionals, as well as customizable programs for colleges, universities, and other partner organizations. Each program differs in length, schedule, and content. However, you can expect to learn about global health challenges and how we address them at our FIMRC project sites through readings, videos, and live discussions with FIMRC staff, all while volunteering from home.
WILL I BE ABLE TO DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTE TO A FIMRC SITE WHILE VOLUNTEERING FROM HOME?
Many of our Virtual Volunteer Programs give volunteers an opportunity to work on a project that directly benefits a FIMRC site. Examples of a volunteer project may include:
Developing a women's empowerment program with education and training on important topics such as machismo, consent, and promoting self-esteem.
Analyzing and evaluating data from mobile clinics to identify the most common diseases in previous years and comparing them with the current year.
Designing a Microhealth Insurance Program.
Developing digital media campaigns for patients with chronic physical and mental illness to help them receive regular information and quantitatively measure the impact of these resources.
EVEN THOUGH I AM VOLUNTEERING FROM HOME, CAN I SELECT THE SITE OR COUNTRY WHERE I SERVE?
Yes! We have several options that allow you to choose a site or region of focus. For example, through our Virtual Global Health Volunteer Experience, you get to choose which site you would like to focus on. You have the opportunity to choose from nine FIMRC project sites, focusing on one site per week. For example, you could volunteer for one week focusing on just one FIMRC project sites, or volunteer for three weeks, focusing on three different FIMRC project sites!
Our Virtual Global Health Fellowship allows participants to choose a regional focus of either Latin America or Africa/Asia. Fellows also have the opportunity to work on a volunteer project that would benefit one FIMRC site within that regional focus.
We also have volunteer from home programs available for university groups and nursing or medical students to choose a site and area of focus. Recently a group of nursing students from Alma College volunteered for four weeks at Project Alajuelita, Costa Rica, shadowing staff and developing programs, such as menstrual hygiene education tools, to benefit the community.
As volunteer Kendra Babbit said, “I loved being a part of this program. It really exceeded my expectations in terms of giving us a virtual experience. These times have been difficult, but I still feel like I have gained proper and meaningful education through this program. It has helped me gain so much information about global health that I never knew. It has opened up new opportunities for me and has made me very interested in global health as a whole.”
DO YOU HAVE VIRTUAL VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS FOR PRE-MED AND MEDICAL STUDENT VOLUNTEERS THAT OFFER CLINICAL EXPOSURE, EVEN FROM HOME?
Yes! Our Virtual Global Health Fellowship is a really great introduction to global health and even includes virtual clinical shadowing opportunities. Clinical opportunities may include shadowing tele-health consults with Dr. Karen in Costa Rica; psychology consults with Tati, FIMRC’s Field Operations Manager in Costa Rica; and pharmacy consults with Dayan, our pharmacist in Costa Rica. Participants in our Fellowship program have raved about the clinical shadowing opportunities, saying those opportunities were their favorite part of the program!
“Through the fellowship, I've gained a lot of insight into not only what it looks like to serve abroad but also all of the factors that go into it. I knew that there was more outside of just medicine that involved working in global health, but the fellowship really affirmed this and allowed us to dive deep into those topics. I found all of the discussions and readings very thought-provoking and informative, and I know I will take the lessons learned from the fellowship into my career in medicine. I also really enjoyed the clinical experiences and am very thankful to have the chance to take part in those as my shadowing plans for the summer have been put on hold. Thanks to everyone at FIMRC for taking the time to do this, and it was very evident through everything how dedicated you all were to making the program as great as possible," shared Margaret Cayson, a junior at Mississippi State University.
HOW WILL THESE VIRTUAL VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS HELP FURTHER MY CAREER IN GLOBAL HEALTH?
You will learn first-hand from FIMRC staff with extensive knowledge and experience in global health and international development. Participants even have access to one-on-one mentorship from FIMRC staff through weekly office hours.
I’M JUST STARTING TO EXPLORE GLOBAL HEALTH, DO YOU HAVE ANY PROGRAMS FOR ME?
Definitely! We welcome anyone interested in joining whether you are a high school student looking to learn more, a medical student, or an experienced healthcare professional. The only requirement is that you are excited to contribute to FIMRC’s mission! Certain programs are specifically tailored for students- our Global Health Leadership Training is designed for high school students, however, others are great for anyone, like our Virtual Global Health Volunteer Experience.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL VOLUNTEER FROM HOME SCHEDULE?
Some programs, such as our Virtual Global Health Fellowship, require a minimum commitment of 20 hours per week. Others, including our Virtual Global Health Volunteer Experience, are more flexible, allowing you to work through the program at your own pace. Programs also offer a mix of independent work and group work, including virtual live sessions with FIMRC field staff.
Participants, like Jasmine Davda, enjoyed the flexibility and in-depth interactions our Virtual Global Health Experience offered her.
IS THERE A COST TO PARTICIPATE AND DO THOSE FUNDS DIRECTLY SUPPORT FIMRC?
Cost for our virtual volunteer opportunities varies by program, however just like our on-site volunteer programs, we rely on this revenue to support all of our on-site operations, with more than 90% of our program costs directly benefiting FIMRC sites.
We have worked hard to develop volunteer from home programs that are affordable and meaningful for volunteers, while still helping to sustain operations at our 10 project sites.
By participating in a virtual volunteer program, you are not only helping our project sites through your hard work on a volunteer project, but you are also helping to fund the vital programs and services FIMRC runs on the ground in the communities we work in year-round.
I’M NOT SURE WHICH PROGRAM WOULD WORK BEST FOR ME. CAN YOU HELP ME CHOOSE A PROGRAM?
Yes, of course! We would be more than happy to help. Please email [email protected] and tell us a little bit about your interests, background, and what you are hoping to gain from a volunteer from home program. That will help us match you with the right program!
I’M READY TO REGISTER! WHERE DO I START?
Email [email protected] and be sure to indicate that you are ready to register and for which program you are interested in participating! You can also submit the form linked below.
Interested in volunteering abroad or participating in our virtual programs? Check them out below!
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