Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children

Program Reviews

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Madison
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The staff with FIMRC, especially at the Anconcito sight, made our trip amazing. We went as a group of 15 volunteers from an university. Everyday is different and robust with community activities. You never will be bored or feel like you didn't get to achieve something. Lusia's relationship with community makes you feel like you are a member of it from the second you arrive from the guest house. I am a college student and do not have a ton of medical experience, but the staff allowed us time to practice and brush up on our skills. The guest house and cooking staff was so accommodating to personal allergies or other needs. They made us feel at home in a place many miles away. I am so thankful for this experience and couldn't recommend it more highly.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take advantage of every opportunity and explore the local communities!
Sukhi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered with FIMRC in the summer of 2018 at Project Kodaikanal. This experience was so unique and different from everything else I've done! With FIMRC, not only did I have the ability to make a real impact on the lives of others, but I also have an opportunity to find myself. This program can truly change your outlook on your world! I learned so much in the span of a month, met so many new people, experienced a new culture, and explored a beautiful country. However, the best part was definitely working with kids and families. It lets you see how the work you do directly affects those around you! Its truly rewarding to know that I was part of something that has and will continue to better the lives of families in Kodaikanal. I would definitely recommend this program for anyone interested in global health, or a career in medicine!

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Abigail
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had a truly life changing experience last year while volunteering at FIMRC’s project site in Nicaragua. It was so rewarding to be a part of such a great organization and to see the positive impact that FIMRC has on the local communities. This was especially evident when, after a devastating hurricane, FIMRC staff assisted in the intensive relief efforts following the storm and floods. I was lucky enough to be involved in this relief work and got to see firsthand how FIMRC supports local communities. So many families lost everything in this hurricane and FIMRC helped organize the disaster response including collection of donations, acquisition of necessities including food, water, and medical supplies, and the dispersal of these resources into the communities. This work with FIMRC was truly an inspirational and unique opportunity that I will always cherish. While volunteering at FIMRC I felt like I became part of the family down there in Nicaragua, and I will never forget how *special* FIMRC’s Project Límon and Nicaragua are to me.

Nick
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went on a trip with the La Crosse Chapter of FIMRC at UW-La Crosse and I can’t say enough about how great the experience was. We went to Project Anconcito in Ecuador and I met some of the most amazing people. The Site Manager Natalie was the most pleasant passionate person I’ve ever met and everyone was so welcoming. Not only did I have a blast but I learned so much there. I dearly miss my amazing host family who did such a fantastic job of making my friends and I feel like family. Can’t wait to return to Ecuador as well as additional trips to the other FIMRC sites all over the world!

What would you improve about this program?
Literally nothing. Amazing experience
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Jodi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I learned so much more than I could've ever expected to during my time at Project Restauracion! The culture, the language, medical experience, and so much more. I will forever cherish the amazing memories I made with the people of Restauracion and fellow SIHFers. FIMRC does an amazing job preparing you for your volunteer trip, and is there to help you every step of the way with any questions you might have.

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Natalie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

SIHF Bududa, Uganda was the most genuine, raw, authentic experience that I have ever had and it will forever change my life. I gained so much experience in the medical and international health field and made some really amazing friends in the meantime. My favorite part was living in the village amongst the local people, to work with them, to understand them, to befriend them. It was very special and unique.

Brock Willett
Brock
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Hello, my name is Brock Willett and I am a senior nursing student at Oakland University. This summer I was able to attend one of FIMRC’s amazing locations, Costa Rica. This was not my first trip with FIMRC, but it was by far my favorite. The way you are able to immerse yourself into a community such as Costa Rica’s is incredible. During my stay I was able to rotate through the clinic in all different areas, which helped me become an all-around better medical professional. Being able to check patients in, work in the pharmacy and even being hands on with actual nursing skills was an absolute joy. There was one particular experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. A woman came in with severe skin decay related to a dog bite that she acquired. As I assisted in the help of cleaning, dressing the wound and even at times holding the patients hand, I was mesmerized by the strength and courage she had that day. Moments like these cannot be read in books or studied. These are truly life changing moments that place a smile on my face when thinking about them. I cannot thank FIMRC enough for the opportunities and memories I will forever have!

What would you improve about this program?
The one thing I would change is the pricing of the trip. Although it wasn't extremely expensive, to a college student it can set you back. The entire trip cost me $1700.00. However, the trip was worth much more!
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Zoe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Hello! My name is Zoe Gagnon and I am currently a second year pharmacy student. I began my journey with FIMRC by joining the local chapter on my campus. Traveling the world and learning about different cultures has always been a dream of mine, so when I found an organization where I could use my clinical skills to help the underserved and get to travel, I knew I had to get involved. Traveling to the Dominican Republic was the first medical relief trip I have ever taken. Before the trip I was very nervous, but strategic packing and planning helped me feel prepared for any situation. My trip was unique because our group was exposed to many different parts of the country (beach, mountains, rivers, etc.) and this really helped me gain a complete understanding of what their culture is like. My favorite experience was the mobile clinic. First, we traveled an hour in the back of a pick-up truck into the mountain. Eventually, the terrain was too rough and the truck could not drive any further. Our group then had to hike up the mountain for 3 hours until we reached to top. Once at the top, around 20 rural families resided and rarely received medical attention. With the help of a local doctor and two donkeys carrying medical supplies, our group of pharmacy students were able to set up a mobile clinic. This clinic consisted of manual blood pressure readings, doctor examinations and a small pharmacy where we could dispense medications and counsel the patients. Overall, this trip changed my life and how I view my patients here in the United States. I have a better appreciation for the things I have, but also those around me. Everyone in the Dominican Republic was so happy not by what they owned, but the relationships with their friends and family.

What would you improve about this program?
I loved my time working with FIMRC and the people of Restauracion. Some future improvements might include more consistent sleeping arrangements among larger groups as some host families were less financially stable than others.
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Catherine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Situated around a star-shaped lake and nestled amongst a colorful array of jungles, Kodaikanal (commonly referred to as “Kodi” by the locals) felt like an oasis from the moment I arrived. It was February during my final year of residency, and I had decided to travel to southern India to work with an organization called the Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC). Grateful to be free of the sound of beeping pagers and cardiac alarms, I embraced the city and its culture eagerly, energized by the sound of musical horns on passing trucks, the patter of feet shuffling quickly together among crowded streets, and the vibratory hum of conversation in unfamiliar tongues.

While staying in Kodi, the majority of my time was spent working with FIMRC. Through their network of physicians and public health workers, I had the opportunity to rotate in a variety of different healthcare settings including private and public hospitals, as well as several different outpatient settings. The interactions I had with the staff, physicians and patients at each site was overwhelmingly positive and both academically and personally enlightening.

Though I learned a lot of medicine from the generous patients who shared their grueling experiences of enduring Typhoid fever, the effects of severe vitamin deficiencies and a host of other ailments, it was FIMRC’s additional focus on public health that had the greatest impact on me. In the afternoons, I often traveled to a local creche (the local word for “preschool”) to perform health screenings, to hand out vitamin D tablets, and to ensure that all of the kids received three meals a day. As I later learned, these interventions have been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of malnutrition among the creche’s school-aged children. Other afternoons were spent visiting rural schools where we taught lessons on basic feminine hygiene and provided boxes of menstrual pads, a simple action that goes a long way to combat the high rates of pelvic inflammatory disease that are prevalent in this area. We also spent time building chimneys for families living in a single room home with an open, wood burning stove in order to reduce the amount of smoke inhalation that contributes to a high incidence of chronic lung disease.

While this concept is not novel to most of us, these experiences severed as a good reminder that sometimes, in order to truly help a patient, you need to go directly to the source of the problem. Though the disease pathology may differ from country to country, this lesson remains true universally. Treating recurrent bouts of Malaria is a fruitless endeavor if a clean water source is never obtained. Inhaled corticosteroids can offer only limited benefit at treating asthma if exposure to secondhand smoke, whether from a parent’s cigarette or an indoor stove, is not eliminated. Insulin may keep blood sugars in check, but until processed foods are similar in price to fresh, real food, the diabetes epidemic will continue. And while taking on an additional role as a public health servant may be too much given our ever-expanding professional sphere of clinical responsibilities, it is important that we as physicians work in tandem with public health officials in order to achieve sustainable health outcomes, both at home and abroad. In doing so, we might just be able to prevent the development and spread of disease before it even begins.

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Chase
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

One of the best experiences of my life. Great hands on learning for students interested in getting into medical field. Everyone part of this organization was very helpful and nice. Would recommend this to anyone interested in volunteer work/potential medical students. Housing is fun because you stay with all of the other volunteers(all meals provided for you). This program is top notch and didn’t compare to the other programs I looked into for this kind of experience.