259688 New trends of short-term humanitarian medical volunteerism: Professional and ethical considerations

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 10:50 AM - 11:10 AM

Emily Junck, MD , Medical Education, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI
Ramin Asgary, MD, MPH , Dept of Medicine, and the Center of Global Health, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Short-term humanitarian medical volunteerism has grown significantly among both clinicians and trainees over the past several years. Increasingly, both volunteers and their respective institutions have faced important challenges in regard to medical ethics and professional codes that should not be overlooked. We explore these potential concerns and their risk factors in three categories: ethical responsibilities in patient care, professional responsibility to communities and populations, and institutional responsibilities towards trainees. We discuss factors increasing the risk of maleficence to patients and communities, including inadequate preparation associated with short-term service, the use of advanced technology and the translation of Western medicine, issues with clinical epidemiology and test utility, difficulties with the principles of clinical and social justice, the lack of population-based medicine, socio-political effects of foreign aid, volunteer stress management, and need for sufficient trainee supervision. We review existing resources and offer suggestions for future skill-based training, organizational responsibilities, and ethical preparation.

Learning Areas:
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related education
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
To recognize and discuss the ethical challenges and professional responsibilities toward patients, communities, and trainees during short-term medical humanitarian volunteerism To list risk factors for these ethical challenges and to discuss strategies to address them

Keywords: Ethics Training, Global Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have significantly helped to initiate this research, and to draft and finalize the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 3149.0: Global Health Education 2