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Medical News & Perspectives |

Advice for Aspiring Volunteer Physicians

Mike Mitka
JAMA. 1999;282(5):413-418. doi:10.1001/jama.282.5.413.
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Before packing one's bags and flying off to some exotic locale to do medical mission work, a physician should address a variety of factors to ensure a worthwhile experience.

First of all, rarely do physicians volunteer services abroad without working through a sponsoring organization. A physician should try to join with a group that offers the type of experience he or she wants. For example, some organizations send teams of physicians, with their own equipment and support staff, to treat a specific population. Others send physicians by themselves with the idea of teaching local practitioners through observation and example. Still others send physicians to areas where emergency relief is needed, such as in war-torn countries or those devastated by natural disasters.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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