Become a Global Health Volunteer in the Dominican Republic!

Video and Photos

Blood Pressure and Glucose Check Clinic
Blood Pressure and Glucose Check Clinic
A Haitian Greeting
A Haitian Greeting
Hiking to Haiti
Hiking to Haiti
Rural Medical Brigade
Rural Medical Brigade
Volunteers hiking on a mobile clinic.
Volunteers hiking on a mobile clinic.
Volunteers representing FIMRC!
Volunteers representing FIMRC!
Restauracion
Volunteers helping out at a mobile clinic.
Volunteers helping out at a mobile clinic.

About

Located only 12 km from the Haitian border, FIMRC’s Project Restauración serves a large Haitian population who have little access to health care in the area. The area's medical facilities are underfunded, thus FIMRC aims to strengthen the current infrastructure rather than operate a stand alone facility.

Volunteers maintain important roles through working weekly with our diabetes and hypertension support group and conducting blood pressure and glucose checks on those patients. Volunteers also work extensively to develop and lead health education sessions in both mother's centers and in schools, focusing on topics like mental health, sexual health, first aid, etc. Volunteers may also learn about the health care system from within by observing medical staff in the local hospital and clinics.

FIMRC is proud to be a grassroots sustainable organization. Volunteer with FIMRC and make an impact with an organization that's working in the community even long after your trip!

Enroll now for the Summer International Health Fellowship!

Spots are filling up fast for our summer fellowship in several of our locations! Click below to learn more!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

99%
based on 11 reviews
  • Impact 9.6
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 8.5
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 1 - 11 of 11
Default avatar
Zoe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Dominican Experience

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.
Colby
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Challenging and Eye-Opening Experience

I spent a month at Project Restauarcion as a SIHFer. I honestly had no idea what to expect or what the conditions were like on the Haitian-DR border. I was completely taken off guard with how beautiful the region was and how friendly the locals were. I instantly made friends with my host family, neighbors, my fellow SIHFers, and even Peace Corps workers. The heat of the summer was difficult to get around, but my experience was unforgettable. We accomplished community out-reach projects focused on health and inter-personal relationships, shadowed Dominican doctors, host morning walking groups, learned about Dominican healthcare, ran blood pressure and glucose check clinics, and at home patient visits to educate hypertensive and diabetic patients. My most memorable experience was hiking to Sebastian, Haiti (a 15 mile hike). Though exhausting, I was able to witness the living conditions, daily-life, and the beautiful country-side of Haiti. There is such a great need in this region, and the people of the DR and Haiti are so friendly and grateful for what FIMRC has to offer them. This trip challenged me in ways I didn't anticipate, but I am so grateful to have been a part of Project Restauracion.

What would you improve about this program?
There is a desperate need for more resources for new projects (people, supplies, etc). Living conditions can be rough during the summer months, be prepared. Be willing to get busy, start new projects, and get creative right off the bat.
Default avatar
Daniel
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Shaping the Future

I got involved with FIMRC when I was a freshman in college and it really shaped, not only my time in college, but my future. Throughout my first two years in school, I was on the fence about joining the Peace Corps. It was something that I had wanted to do, but i was unsure of how I would handle the potentially unstructured lifestyle in a foreign country. It was my trips to the DR with FIMRC that really convinced me that Peace Corps was something that I would enjoy doing.

I had been on two previous trips with FIMRC, but DR was unique in the fact that you really get to connect with the locals due to the fact that the site is in a small town, not a large city. The work was structured so that volunteers had an opportunity to do a variety of work. Some days, I would work in the clinic. Other days, I found myself hiking around surrounding villages doing health surveys or checking on projects that had been set up by the FOM. The second year I was there, my group had the chance to do a health fair in a rural school that went incredibly!

Outside of the work, the DR is also a beautiful country with all sorts of excursions. One year I was there, my group went to a series of waterfalls. We started at the top and jumped, swam, and slid our way to the bottom. It was loads of fun. Aside from that, there are incredible beaches and an exciting night life if you want to take a day or two before or after the volunteer work.

Now, as I sit here writing this review as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize, I think of all that FIMRC did to help my service. While in the DR, the FOM was working on a latrine project that my group helped with. I took my knowledge from my FIMRC experience and have used it to start a latrine project of my own in the village. I also had a health fair in which I drew from my experience in the DR. Having gone on the two trips with FIMRC has allowed me to have the success that I am having today as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Default avatar
Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Intern's Experience

I was the site intern of Project Restauración from October 2014 to March 2015—and without a doubt it was one of the most incredible half-years of my life. Not only was the staff at the site engaging, fun and incredibly helpful, but the communities of Restauración, Dominican Republic and Tilori, Haiti truly opened their arms and hearts to me. My host family, whom I lived with for the entirety of my stay, became such a huge part of my life— I am still in touch with them today through what’sapp and letters.

As the site’s Intern, and a person who loves data and research, I decided to do some research of my own in Haiti and the DR. Through FIMRC’s connections and the help of local doctors, nurses, other healthcare workers, and a lot of translators, I was able to compile data on common ailments of patients in Haiti and the DR. More specifically, I was able to understand more about the common ailments of Haitians on both the DR and Haitian side of the boarder. Many times this demographic group suffers from particularly acute health problems compounded by their poverty and precarious political situation.

When I wasn’t collecting data I was traveling with my FIMRC family to other nearby communities who need extra medical support through our mobile clinics. Sometimes the villages were close enough to take a truck ride to, other times, the location was so remote and rugged, donkeys were hired to carry our supplies and we hiked through the mountains to reach our patients. Whether near or far, we were always greeted with smiles and warm welcomes.

FIMRC also runs weekly school courses to help educate school children and teens about their personal and community health. From explaining how to maintain self-esteem and keep up good nutrition, to debunking myths about Malaria and Cholera, there were always inquisitive minds, and thought provoking questions. Though adapting to the language barriers and the different philosophies about education could sometimes be difficult, it was all SO REWARDING. I loved playing with the kids in the quart yard after class, and getting that feeling of excitement when I asked a question and everyone’s hands shoot up—they all remembered the answer. Success!

Diana (my site manager) always took time to brainstorm ideas, answer question, edit curriculums, and translate with me. Tania, and Dr. Ricardo, the two local FIMRC employees pulled me right into the swing of Restauración culture and healthcare. They both became my personal Spanish coaches (because I had arrived knowing essentially no Spanish) and it was FANTASTICO! The entire FIMRC team was amazing, and I could not have asked for a better, more rewarding experience, or a more loving community to become a part of.

What would you improve about this program?
Though the site was the 'Dominican Republic/ Haitian' site, a majority of activities, clinics, and classes were held in the Dominican Republic. The site is trying to augment ties with Haitian community members on the border, so in the future it would be awesome to see more programs in Haiti where they are also desperately needed.
Default avatar
Amanda
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible and eye-opening

I am so thankful that I got the opportunity to volunteer in Restauraciόn. I was fortunate to participate in a variety of medically-based support in the community. In Restauraciόn, I shadowed at their only hospital. The doctor was very patient and explained medical procedures to me as he was seeing the patients. One of my favorite parts was helping out with the mobile clinic. Dr. Ricardo came with us and we helped over 100 patients in one day. I also helped with the girls’ empowerment group and charla talks on diabetes, dental health, and chikinguyna (an outbreak virus spread by mosquitoes). Our talks were interactive which helped involve the children and get them excited about what we were teaching them. Since I didn’t speak Spanish, I was especially grateful of the other FIMRC staff that helped me translate throughout my stay. Playing games with the local children throughout the day was one of my fondest memories of my experience. These kids always had smiles on their faces and I loved playing games and laughing with them. Overall, the experience was beyond incredible and I value the relationships I formed and lessons I learned about others and about myself.

What would you improve about this program?
A cheaper program cost would allow more volunteers to come!
Default avatar
Austin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic Trip!

I had a great time in my trips to Restauracion, so much so that I went twice! The program gave me the opportunity to shadow in the local hospital and see the practice of a different doctor every morning, as well as participate in various community outreach activities throughout the week. We event spent one day going to a neighboring community in Haiti to give a short lesson to the orphan school there. My favorite part was helping operate a diabetes club, where we helped local diabetes patients monitor their disease and gave a short lesson with tips on how to improve their condition. The trip was one of my favorites, and I am so glad I went!

What would you improve about this program?
I would say more time in the community in Haiti, even if it were just devoting an entire day to working on a project there.
Default avatar
Mary
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

the best!!

In the Dominican Republic, I spent most of my mornings observing in the hospital at Restauracion. This hospital was much smaller than American hospitals, and it seemed more like a small clinic or doctor’s office. For anything other than minor treatment, the doctors sent patients on to the bigger hospital an hour away in Dajabon. Many of the patients are from the DR, but there are also many who cross the border from Haiti seeking better healthcare. Last summer (2014), there were many cases of chikungunya, a mosquito-borne disease, and other routine maladies. One of my favorite parts of this program was running mobile clinics. For those, we brought Dr. Ricardo (the Dominican doctor who works with FIMRC) and medicines to isolated communities and saw nearly every member of each community. These clinics are a great way to provide care to those without much access to healthcare and to teach preventative medicine. I am particularly interested in infectious diseases, and I saw a broader variety of these diseases while running clinics. We
also taught a health class for pre-teen boys and ran a diabetes club (teaching about diabetes and its effects and then doing a blood pressure and sugar check the next morning). I felt a strong connection with the
community and efforts of FIMRC DR so returned for my fall break. Another of my favorite opportunities as a French-speaker on this trip was the opportunity to travel to and teach in Haiti. We wrote and gave a lesson plan about germs for preschoolers in Tilori, Haiti. We also visited the health center and a witch doctor’s home. Diana is a very dedicated and great leader and role model. She is great at translating and explaining everything going on. Since I was only in the DR for a little more than a week last summer, I didn't expect people to remember who I was since there are so many volunteers rotating in and out. But, everyone remembered me and was so excited to see me back in the fall! My Spanish went from nonexistent to a basic, functional level from the language immersion.
Overall, it was an amazing experience and I learned so much from going outside my comfort zone. I have a much better idea about what global health work is and what needs to be the focus, which, in my opinion, should be education and the creation of a sustainable system for the people who live there (rather than just doing things for them and then leaving).

What would you improve about this program?
more work in Haiti!
Default avatar
Nicole
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

BEST TRIP EVER

I was fortunate enough to travel to Restauracion with FIMRC in 2013 and 2014. Each experience completely exceeded my expectations! In 2013 the site was brand new, and I was somewhat apprehensive about how organized/developed the program site would be. To my (pleasant) surprise, the staff was very organized and prepared for our arrival (which often is NOT the case when traveling internationally). The schedule for the entire week was very flexible, which allowed volunteers to pick and choose from 2-3 activities each day, ensuring everyone had the opportunity to do "their thing." For example, I love public health and prefer to be out in the community rather than shadowing in a clinic. I was able to do that, and my peers who prefer a more clinical setting were able to shadow a physician. FIMRC is very accommodating and really tries to give each volunteer the experience they want/need.

FIMRC's mission is so clearly carried out in Restauracion. I left Restauracion genuinely feeling like I helped "to provide access to medical care for underprivileged and medically underserved families around the world."

I would highly reccommend anyone interested in volunteering abroad to choose FIMRC.

What would you improve about this program?
Develop more clinical volunteer opportunities for volunteers who are interested in shadowing hours/experience.
Default avatar
Kendall
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Dominican Trip

This was one of the most touching experiences of my life. I had the best spring break ever, and it wasn't even for me. Restauracion, helping with Chicas Maravillas, and the break day at Rio Limpio was a blast! Haiti was also very fun, especially learning some Haitian Creole to speak to the kids that we gave the health talks to! The views are astounding, anywhere you go. Awesome FIMRC staff, and an overall awesome experience.

Default avatar
Megan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A life changing trip!

I have been to this site twice now in 2012 and 2013 and have nothing but good things to say! The experiences that I had with the trips (shadowing local physicians, helping with local health fairs, and participating in public health presentations to name a few) are what solidified my desire to become a doctor. I never felt that I was in harm's way or unsafe; FIMRC staff is always present and the people of Restauracion treat you like family from day one. The fun day trips were exciting as well and included a trip to see and swim in waterfalls. Overall, I gained so much from this experience and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in the health field, especially public health or rural medicine.

What would you improve about this program?
I would reduce the cost of the trip if possible. Even though I understand all the money is going to a great cause, I wish the program fees were cheaper.
Default avatar
Hannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteer in the Dominican Republic with FIMRC

Volunteering in Restauración, Dominican Republic was a life-changing experience. I was able to shadow a doctor at the local hospital and teach the young girls in the community and surrounding communities about Woman Empowerment. After this amazing experience, I have truly come to recognize how fortunate I am and how much of an impact I can have on others.

What would you improve about this program?
The program was slightly unorganized but only due to the fact that it was one of the newest sites with FIMRC.

Location

Location:
Dominican Republic
Currency:
Dominican Peso
Weather:
Jan-Mar
86 F / 48 F
Apr-Jun
90 F / 55 F
Jul-Sep
91 F / 55 F
Oct-Dec
90 F / 52 F
Airports:
Punta Cana International
( PUJ )
Las Américas International
( SDQ )
Cibao International
( STI )

The Dominican Republic shares the island Hispaniola with Haiti (the DR is to the right, Haiti to the left), and is a hot spot for beaching, staying at resorts, and living a Caribbean lifestyle. Close to Miami, with a diverse population and Creole cuisine, this island is a popular tourist destination filled with all sorts of adventures.

Interviews

Staff Interviews

About Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children

The Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health of families in the developing world through innovative and self-sustainable health programs. Operating since 2002, we...