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What is Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation PM&R? Video by residents and faculty of Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY

The Humanitarian Side of Physical Rehabilitation

Getting out of your normal environment, whether that´s your clinic, state, region or country can do a world of wonders, both for you and others. When you take the time to do humanitarian work, it can change your career direction or the way you work when you return home.

Let´s look at the various different organizations that offer humanitarian opportunities to physical rehabilitation practitioners across the globe.

A Leg to Stand On

This non-profit provides free orthopedic care, including rehabilitative care, to children in developing countries that have lost their limbs in traumatic accidents or due to congenital disability. They work in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan and Somaliland. They don´t take on volunteers, but they do accept donations and materials, components and equipment. Find out more here.

The International Committee of the Red Cross

This impartial, neutral and independent organization aims to protect the lives and dignity of the victims of armed conflict and other situations of conflict. It runs rehabilitation programs that are designed to strengthen the rehabilitation services in countries like Bangladesh. The programs provide high-quality, low-cost prosthetic and orthotic appliances; improve the capacities of local partners and authorities so they can ensure sustainable orthopedic services; and support local physiotherapists and ortho-prothesthetists through training and rehabilitation. Here´s more about their rehabilitation work.

Amputee Club of South Africa

This club provides essential support for amputees, their families and their communities in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland. They provide prosthetic fitting, education and training, funding, prosthetic fabrication and rehabilitation services.  They don´t have a website, but here is their contact information.

Amputee Resource Foundation of America, Inc.

This organization aims to disseminated information, perform charitable services and conduct research to enhance the quality of life of amputees in America. They offer prosthetic fitting and educational services, and need volunteers. Check out their site at www.amputeeresource.org

The Barr Foundation

The Barr Foundation´s mission is to reach out to people who have experiences limb loss, lack financial resources and don´t qualify for any other funding assistance. They work in the U.S., Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Philippines, Guyana, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Cuba, Columbia, Ecuador and Gautemala, providing prosthetic fitting, education, funding and prosthetic fabrication. Here´s more information about this organization.

Center for International Rehabilitation

This Chicago-based non-profit develops research, education and advocacy programs to help people with disabilities across the globe. Their work extends to El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Afghanistan, Tanzania, and India through The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) and E-learning department. The International Disability Rights Monitor (IDRM) has written regional reports covering all countries within Asia and the Americas. The Center requires volunteers. Here´s more about that.

Central American Medical Outreach, Inc. (CAMO)

CAMO is a non-denominational Christian organization that provides medical equipment, community service, supplies and training to impoverished regions in Honduras. Find more information on their website.

Centro de Miembros Artificiales

This NGO makes and provides the best quality prosthetics to Bolivian, low-income amputees. They need volunteers! If you´d like to help people in the poorest country in South America, find out more here.

Children of the Americas

This organization works with in Guatemala. It is dedicated to providing medical and surgical services to indigent children and their families in the rural areas of the country. Volunteer staff provide medical, dental and surgical services like prosthetic fitting, orthotic fitting, education, rehabilitation and training. Check out their site for more info.

Easter Seals

Easter Seals is a non-profit, international organization that serves more than one million children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities at over 550 centers in the USA and others abroad.

Easter Seals has various programs that help improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families – the seven key services areas include medical rehabilitation; child care and development; assistive technology; camping, recreation and respite; adult and senior services programs; workforce development programs; and support services. Here´s more about it.

Looking for something country-specific? Here a list of NGOs that work in the field of physical rehabilitation by country.

If you´re interested in doing humanitarian work, there´s a good chance you could be very valuable to the world, and we support you in your mission. To find out how we can help you get onto the residency program of your choosing, please get in touch via email.

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