“Over a billion people worldwide have little or no access to health services and the help and advice of health workers.”
Scaling Up, Saving Lives Report of WHO and the Global Health Workforce Alliance Report 2008

ISL is one of the largest and oldest independent providers of field clinical experiences for pre-health and health students.  See teams schedule for a complete list of teams available. Financial aid is available through our Good Samaritan Missions Sponsorship Program

ISL’s General Medical teams are multi-disciplinary, incorporating medical, nursing, pharmacy, optometry (on larger teams), and public health components. Because this approach allows volunteers to view different facets of health care, it offers a truly holistic approach to patient treatment.

Every ISL team is unique; disciplinary emphasis will vary according to the needs of the service community and the qualifications of our volunteers.

General Medical teams serve both in urban settings and also travel to small towns and villages in ‘outback’ areas to set up field clinics, where patients are assessed and treated.

Experiential Health Activities (under supervision and with training at all times):

Medical activities may include, depending on location and team assignments:

  • community health work in surrounding poor neighborhoods (accompanied) as a part of an ISL community triage team
  • learning and assisting with vital signs
  • learning and assisting with patient interviews/intake at village triage clinics
  • observing labor and delivery duty (supervised)
  • assisting with administrative procedures
  • monitoring and caring for diabetic patients
  • supervised rotation in any hospital area of interest
  • assisting with vaccinations
  • assisting with pap smears
  • antiparasitic screenings and treatments
  • assist or observe blood and urine testing
  • educational presentations to community
  • observing surgeries, including C-sections (if team work includes hospital time)
  • basic pharmacology training and assisting with pharmacy at clinics
  • natural medicines seminar
  • tropical disease training (malaria, dengue, etc.)
  • basic training for anamnesis
  • assist or observe emergency room duty
  • basic pediatric ear/eye/nose/throat exam
  • basic women’s health – diagnosing/treating vaginal infection, occasional fetal monitoring/observation of births
  • environmental medical surveying
  • practice and history of indigenous medical techniques and medicines
  • primer in medical Spanish/Swahili (depending on location)

The following factors should help you determine your level of participation:

  • The patient must agree to have you participate in their care.
  • Your field clinic supervisor can help you evaluate your capabilities.
  • The policies of the local Health Ministry or supervising school must be followed.
  • You can evaluate your own capabilities based on previous experience and training.  You may choose not to participate in any aspect of patient care.

Students can and should be a vital part of the provision of health services for the millions who do without – but remember: this experience is not about you.  It is about serving the underserved, while respecting their rights!

Preparation and Orientation Seminars (in addition to training activities listed above)

  • Issues and ethics in international health care
  • Comparison of the health  care delivery systems of the host country to those in the U.S., Canada, and Europe
  • Importance of community education and public health
  • Review of standard safety precautions and waste materials disposal
  • Basic medical Spanish

Upcoming general medicine teams:

See more teams