Health Volunteers Overseas: Top 5 Moments of 2018

In 2018, we continued our efforts to build health workforce capacity by connecting health workers in resource-scarce countries to education and professional development opportunities. We also explored new ways to share our mission and model with the global health community, including presenting at conferences, and partnering with the open-access online journal Frontiers to sponsor the Frontiers in Public Health Research Topic, International Partnerships for Strengthening Health Care Capacity: Models of Collaborative Education. As we approach the New Year, here is a look back at HVO’s top five moments:

1. Collaborating with Frontiers to sponsor a special Research Topic eBook.

When HVO announced the release of the eBook, International Partnerships for Strengthening Health Care Capacity: Models of Collaborative Education, in August 2018, HVO Executive Director Nancy Kelly, MHS stated:

“This eBook… is a resource that we want the global community to leverage in order to advance discussions around strengthening health workforce capacity.”

We are grateful for the many opportunities we had to participate in these discussions over the course of the last year, from a poster presentation at the 9th Annual Consortium of Universities for Global Health Conference in New York City to a panel discussion during the CORE Group Global Health Practitioner Conference to articles on the importance of partnership and local leadership. We look forward to continuing these discussions in the coming year, and hope our collaboration with Frontiers will serve as both a resource and a jumping off point for ongoing dialogue.

2. Launching the Nancy’s Stories of Impact Blog Series

The Frontiers eBook provides an important look toward the future, but, at the same time, we wanted to take time to reflect on past impact and contributions to HVO’s mission. In particular, our newest blog series, Nancy’s Stories of Impact, is dedicated to highlighting moments from HVO’s more than 30-year history that made a significant impact on the lives of our volunteers and on the project sites where they served. We hope you will follow along as we continue to share small yet significant moments from HVO’s past in the year ahead.

3. Honoring the 2018 HVO Golden Apple Award Recipients

Honoring the latest cohort of HVO Golden Apple Award recipients is a top moment for HVO’s staff and leadership every year. This year, we recognized nine members of our global health community, including seven volunteers and two on-site coordinators, who made extraordinary contributions to HVO’s mission. In addition to announcing the 2018 honorees on World Health Day in April, we launched a blog series profiling each recipient individually to share even more about their lives and work. You can find all the posts in this ongoing series under the Health Worker Story category on the HVO blog.

If you know an individual who has made a significant impact on the effectiveness and sustainability of HVO, you can nominate them to receive a 2019 HVO Golden Apple Award through February 22, 2019.

4. Supporting Health Workers through the HVO E-Volunteer Initiative

Many HVO volunteers remain in touch with their colleagues and those in-training at the project sites they visited long after they return home from their assignments. These connections transform from in-person collaboration to virtual mentorship, consultation, and training. Over the last year, the HVO E-Volunteer Initiative enabled volunteers to expand their impact by providing continuous education and support to their counterparts across the globe.

5. Celebrating Global Volunteerism at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2018 Annual Meeting

Attendees at the 2018 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Annual Meeting had multiple opportunities to learn all about international medical volunteerism, and we were thrilled to play a part in those opportunities. The Global Volunteerism Instructional Course Lecture, which featured several speakers who volunteered under the auspices of HVO, focused on the impact of education-based medical volunteerism, and reviewed the nuts and bolts of volunteering overseas.

We also hosted our annual joint luncheon with the Société Internationale de Chirurgie Orthopédique et de Traumatologie (SICOT). Those who joined us for lunch heard from featured speaker Gaston Barnechea, MD, the former on-site coordinator for HVO’s orthopaedics training project in Peru, and had the opportunity to celebrate and discuss global orthopaedic care.

If you plan to attend the 2019 AAOS Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, you will once again have the opportunity to join us for the Global Volunteerism Instructional Course Lecture. You can also purchase your tickets now, for our annual luncheon, which we will be co-hosting with SICOT and World Orthopaedic Concern (WOC). We hope to see you there!

As we enter 2019, we look forward to continuing to share best practices with others in the global health sector and working toward a world where everyone, everywhere has access to quality health care.

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