SOCS Secretary / Treasurer – Health Volunteers Overseas

November 27, 2017
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Dear SOCS Members,

I have been serving on the Dermatology Steering Committee at Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) for several years and want to share with you an exciting opportunity. Now in its 32nd year, HVO is a non-profit organization that focuses on providing education and training to health care professionals in resource-scarce countries.  Working across the globe, HVO partners with local institutes, universities, and health ministries to provide didactic and clinical training to local staff in a peer-to-peer format.  

HVO’s current dermatology projects are in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Nepal, Uganda, and Vietnam.  The training needs to cover a wide range, including pediatric dermatology, Mohs surgery, and dermatopathology as well as basic dermatology topics.  There is a particular need for dermatologic topics related to darker skin tones.

HVO programs are premised on licensed health care professionals sharing their knowledge and skills with their colleagues abroad.  The time commitment is usually 1-4 weeks but, for time frames of two weeks or more, the American Academy of Dermatology kindly offers funding to offset flight costs. Additionally, costs incurred by the volunteer are eligible as tax deductions.

Volunteers often report that their experience renewed their commitment to health care, improved their diagnostic skills, and gave them cross-cultural experience that they are able to incorporate in their work here at home.  For most, the experience was stimulating and interesting enough that they made a commitment for another trip. 

Further information on opportunities to serve with HVO’s dermatology projects can be found on their website:

In a time when government funding is being cut in global health care, it is even more important to support work that has a proven track record and is making a difference in the lives of many.

Thank you for your consideration; the needs are great and the experience is transforming!

Lynn McKinley-Grant, MD
SOCS Secretary/Treasurer