The Power of Relationships to Improve Global Health

Valentine’s Day is a holiday devoted to celebrating relationships. At Health Volunteers Overseas, we view Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to honor the many relationships at the heart of the work that we do.

Obviously, relationships between colleagues are essential to achieve the interprofessional collaboration that makes our projects thrive. For the many HVO volunteers who return, year after year, to the same project site, these professional relationships have evolved to become warm friendships.

Student-teacher and mentor-mentee relationships are equally essential to the HVO mission. Over the years, we have watched these relationships form between HVO volunteers and the trainees they encounter while on assignment. We have also seen such relationships grow between local leaders – empowered by the knowledge they have gained through partnership with HVO – and their students and supervisees.

By providing education and opportunities for professional growth to health workers at each HVO project site, it is our hope that every HVO project will contribute to improved quality and availability of patient care. The patient-provider relationship is critical to the successful delivery of care, and it binds together health workers from a diverse array of institutions, career stages and specialty areas.

In many instances, improved patient care also results in improved quality of life. Individuals afflicted by illness or injury are able to return home sooner to the relationships they value – those with friends and family, spouses and children – outside of hospital walls. They are able to participate in these relationships more fully after recovering from or controlling their symptoms. This impact on human relationships is the reason that health and well-being are intimately linked in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

To celebrate this Valentine’s Day, we’ve gathered together a collection of photos from our Instagram account (if you are not already following us, please do!) that exemplify some of the many relationships described above. We hope you enjoy this series of images. If you have an image that depicts the role of one of the above-mentioned relationships in the context of the HVO mission please share it with us via email, or post it and tag us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. We look forward to hearing from you!


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HVO: Transforming Lives through Education

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