Guidelines for responsible short-term global health activities: developing common principles
AuthorLasker, Judith N.
Loh, Lawrence C.
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Coll Med
KeywordsShort-term medical missions
Global health education
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherBIOMED CENTRAL LTD
CitationGuidelines for responsible short-term global health activities: developing common principles 2018, 14 (1) Globalization and Health
JournalGlobalization and Health
Rights© The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Collection InformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AbstractBackground: Growing concerns about the value and effectiveness of short-term volunteer trips intending to improve health in underserved Global South communities has driven the development of guidelines by multiple organizations and individuals. These are intended to mitigate potential harms and maximize benefits associated with such efforts. Method: This paper analyzes 27 guidelines derived from a scoping review of the literature available in early 2017, describing their authorship, intended audiences, the aspects of short term medical missions (STMMs) they address, and their attention to guideline implementation. It further considers how these guidelines relate to the desires of host communities, as seen in studies of host country staff who work with volunteers. Results: Existing guidelines are almost entirely written by and addressed to educators and practitioners in the Global North. There is broad consensus on key principles for responsible, effective, and ethical programs-need for host partners, proper preparation and supervision of visitors, needs assessment and evaluation, sustainability, and adherence to pertinent legal and ethical standards. Host country staff studies suggest agreement with the main elements of this guideline consensus, but they add the importance of mutual learning and respect for hosts. Conclusions: Guidelines must be informed by research and policy directives from host countries that is now mostly absent. Also, a comprehensive strategy to support adherence to best practice guidelines is needed, given limited regulation and enforcement capacity in host country contexts and strong incentives for involved stakeholders to undertake or host STMMs that do not respect key principles.
NoteOpen access journal.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsLehigh University [NA]
- International short-term medical missions: a systematic review of recommended practices.
- Authors: Roche SD, Ketheeswaran P, Wirtz VJ
- Issue date: 2017 Jan
- Short-term volunteer health trips: aligning host community preferences and organizer practices.
- Authors: Rozier MD, Lasker JN, Compton B
- Issue date: 2017
- Guidelines and checklists for short-term missions in global pediatric surgery: Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics Delivery of Surgical Care Global Health Subcommittee, American Pediatric Surgical Association Global Pediatric Surgery Committee, Society for Pediatric Anesthesia Committee on International Education and Service, and American Pediatric Surgical Nurses Association, Inc. Global Health Special Interest Group.
- Authors: Butler M, Drum E, Evans FM, Fitzgerald T, Fraser J, Holterman AX, Jen H, Kynes JM, Kreiss J, McClain CD, Newton M, Nwomeh B, O'Neill J, Ozgediz D, Politis G, Rice H, Rothstein D, Sanchez J, Singleton M, Yudkowitz FS
- Issue date: 2018 Apr
- Applying global standards to short-term global health clinical experiences: the case of Project Salud y Paz.
- Authors: Caldron PH
- Issue date: 2019 Jan 9
- Beyond Medical "Missions" to Impact-Driven Short-Term Experiences in Global Health (STEGHs): Ethical Principles to Optimize Community Benefit and Learner Experience.
- Authors: Melby MK, Loh LC, Evert J, Prater C, Lin H, Khan OA
- Issue date: 2016 May