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Medical Mission Trips to Puerto Rico

Thank you for your interest in IMR’s medical mission trips to Puerto Rico! This is a very unique opportunity to work with populations that have little to no access to healthcare and make a huge impact on their lives.

The Need

As a US territory, Puerto Rico’s citizens are guaranteed certain health benefits under the Affordable Care Act, together with the Health Insurance Code. These benefits are outpatient and medical-surgical services; hospitalization; emergency services; maternity and neonatal care; mental health services; diagnostic tests; pediatric services, including vision and dental; medicines; habilitation and rehabilitation; and preventive and wellness services. According to the World Health Organization, areas to be addressed through technical cooperation include chronic diseases, health promotion, nursing, bioethics, healthy aging, communicable diseases, environmental health, information management, disaster management, and humanitarian assistance.

Though many health regulations and goals are in place, there are still several communities that would greatly benefit from your skills and expertise. The World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization reported that in 2012, 45.4% of the women participating in a reproductive health survey stated that they did not use contraceptives. In 2014, although 83.4% of pregnant women began prenatal care in the first trimester and 35.7% experienced adequate weight gain, 47.2% of them had cesarean deliveries. However, maternal deaths have declined from six in 2010 to three in 2014.

Other health issues you may see include depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, circulatory system diseases, malignant tumors, heart disease, diabetes, Dengue, which is endemic in Puerto Rico, Zika, influenza, vision problems, and hypertension. In addition to medicine, the main focus of this mission is education. You and the rest of your team will educate community members on how to stay healthy in regards to their area’s main issues and health concerns.

Our Work

International Medical Relief has been sending medical mission trips to Puerto Rico starting in 2017, and since 2019, IMR has worked with a total of 252 volunteers and staff that served over 3500 patients. In 2017, IMR provided medical relief in Puerto Rico, but quickly expanded our efforts to provide disaster relief in response to hurricane Irma in 2018. Also, in January of 2020, Puerto Rico and other islands in the Caribbean were struck by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake and several aftershocks. In the wake of the earthquake, families and children are surviving amid massive complications that have stricken the health care structure of the communities. IMR initially responded to the disaster in February 2020, sending several teams to provide relief to those affected. To continue achieving IMR’s goal of providing sustainable healthcare services, IMR continues to provide the community with health training, medical treatments, medical supplies and equipment, and clinic operations.

With diligent planning and preparation, IMR is dedicated to ensuring that specific goals are met on our missions, each in correlation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 17.

IMR works to elevate vulnerable populations through shoulder-to-shoulder care with our local partners, creating workforce density, and a cadre of future healthcare and public health leaders in association to UNSDG 3: Good Health & Wellbeing.

In correlation with UNSDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals, our organization works in collaboration and at the request of local hosts where we are under their direct influence and affluence. IMR never goes into a country without a formal invitation where there is a great community need for medical or dental care, and health education.

The Mission

As a US territory, Puerto Rico’s citizens are guaranteed certain health benefits under the Affordable Care Act, together with the Health Insurance Code. These benefits are outpatient and medical-surgical services; hospitalization; emergency services; maternity and neonatal care; mental health services; diagnostic tests;
pediatric services, including vision and dental; medicines; habilitation and rehabilitation; and preventive and wellness services. According to the World Health Organization, areas to be addressed through technical cooperation include chronic diseases, health promotion, nursing, bioethics, healthy aging, communicable diseases, environmental health, information management, disaster management, and humanitarian assistance.

Furthermore, the Department of Health has forged partnerships with several sectors to develop the Chronic Disease Action Plan, the 10-Year Health Plan, the School Health Program, and the Suicide Prevention Commission, and to deliver recovery and treatment services to homeless people with serious mental illness or
concurrent substance use disorders.

Though many health regulations and goals are in place, there are still several communities that would greatly benefit from your skills and expertise. The World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization reported that in 2012, 45.4% of the women participating in a reproductive health survey stated
that they did not use contraceptives. In 2014, although 83.4% of pregnant women began prenatal care in the first trimester and 35.7% experienced adequate weight gain, 47.2% of them had cesarean deliveries. However, maternal deaths have declined from six in 2010 to three in 2014.

Other health issues you may see include depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, circulatory system diseases, malignant tumors, heart disease, diabetes, Dengue, which is endemic in Puerto Rico, Zika, influenza, vision problems, and hypertension. In addition to medicine, the main focus of this mission is education. You and the rest of your team will educate community members on how to stay healthy in regards to their area’s main issues and health concerns.

Lodging & Transportation

Throughout your time in Puerto Rico, you will stay in accommodations that will be centrally located in San Juan and be safe and clean. While here, you will have easy access to many cafes and restaurants where you can sample the local cuisine.

To help make your trip worry-free, IMR will arrange daily transportation to and from your clinic location.

This was a life-changing event! I got to volunteer with my sister and the experience was amazing. I plan to volunteer 2-3 times a year! The people of Guatemala are so appreciative and this is so refreshing. It was an honor to help and volunteer for International Medical Relief!!

Tera, NP, Team Guatemala
Puerto Rico free day exploring the island

Trip Highlights

The gratitude that you receive while working here will be life- changing and may inspire you to continue humanitarian work once you return home. Outside of clinic, your trip highlights will include the exciting ways you decide to spend your free day, the island’s culinary delights, and the serenity of palm trees.
puertorico-food

Food & Water

All food is typically provided during your stay. Please refer to your unique itinerary on our website to review which meals are provided each day. We may hire local people to cook for the team during our visit, or we may eat at restaurants or hotels. Lunch in clinic may include sandwiches made by the team or a feast prepared in your honor by community leaders. We recommend bringing snacks to eat during the day or evening or to supplement your lunch. High protein/high fat/high energy snacks are best. IMR also provides all of the drinking water for the team. Hydration and nutrition are extremely important for the health of the team. You are the best judge of your own health so please pack appropriate snacks and stay well hydrated on the trip.

Extend Your Stay!

Since you are already venturing across the globe, have you considered extending your stay to experience more of Puerto Rico? Although this island is a frequent stop for travelers, the nation’s white and black sand beaches, coral reefs, vast wildlife, and incredible archeology make Puerto Rico a beautiful place to explore. Check out what exciting adventures our partner, Worldwide Navigators, is offering exclusively to IMR volunteers.

Itinerary

Itinerary is subject to change without notice.

Full Mission (7-8 Days)

Day 1

You and the rest of your volunteer team will fly into Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico.

Days 2-3

After a delicious and hearty team breakfast on your first day of clinic, your team will depart for your first and second days of clinic! Please come prepared for long transportation times as you will be serving in several communities across the island, typically within a 2-hour radius of San Juan. Clinics begin early in the morning and may run into the evenings. Your days will be long and hard, but also incredibly rewarding.

Day 4

After two full days of clinic serving the people of Puerto Rico, you will have a day free to create your own itinerary!

Days 5-6

After a delicious and hearty team breakfast on your first day of clinic, your team will depart for your third and fourth days of clinic! Clinics begin early in the morning and may run into the evenings. Your days will be long and hard, but also incredibly rewarding.

Day 7

To help wrap-up your week, IMR will arrange a final team breakfast for you and your team. Departures and onward journeys are throughout the day today.

Day 8

Arrive home

Crisis Management & Emergency Response

We take security very seriously at IMR. It is our job to ensure that security precautions are in place, but please keep in mind that we cannot guarantee your safety on the trip.

  • We continuously review all current activities occurring on the ground, and we work with the State Department and the U.S. Embassy to know the ground situation to the best of our ability.
  • A security training conference call is available to our volunteers where we detail our security procedures that are in place for the trip.
  • We take many security precautions such as radios, a buddy system, emergency evacuation plan and security planning.
  • We protect the privacy of our volunteers in the field and provide them with customized contact information for their use.
  • During our mandatory briefing, team members review our safety protocols, evacuation procedures, protocols for illness, natural disaster and terrorism.
  • We provide training to our teams to be cognizant of their own safety and to be aware of their surroundings.
  • Several policies require teams to adhere to safety issues.

Trip Preparation

A service that we are very proud of at IMR is the preparation that each team and team member receives prior to the trip. All team members will receive a detailed briefing packet about the country you are serving.

In addition to receiving background information about the country and the public health issues affecting local communities, you will also receive detailed information on fundraising, community health education topics,
clinic protocols, and a comprehensive departure packet. All of these materials are critical to the preparation for your trip. Finally, a guide to the infectious diseases of the country is distributed to medical providers prior to departure.

Minimum Donation

Your generous donation helps to save and change lives everyday.

Your charitable investment will go toward ongoing global relief to care for the underserved and vulnerable people of this community. As a member of this medical mission team, you will elevate the long-term impact of sustainable, capacity-building efforts that improve the health, wellness, and quality of life of those most in need. A small portion of your donation includes:

  • Clinic supplies and medications for patients
  • Clinic participation
  • Transportation, accommodations, and meals as outlined in the itinerary

Payment Deadlines

To save $200, a 50% donation payment must be received 14 weeks before the mission’s scheduled start date. Full donation payments must be received 4 weeks before the mission’s scheduled start date.

Early Bird Savings Opportunity

To be eligible, upload all your required documents and forms, and make a minimum of 50% of your donation payment by 14 weeks prior to your mission’s scheduled start date.

Flexible Flight Options

Volunteer with Airfare

You may choose to book a flight with us for an additional fee. Details on the available flight routing and US departure city will be announced on the Early Bird Date. Airport transportation to and from the team’s accommodations are also included with this option. Depending on your departure city, you may still need to purchase another flight in addition to this one. After this flight has been booked, you may contact our travel agent, Worldwide Navigators, for assistance booking any necessary additional flights.

Benefits of Flying at a Subsidized Rate

Volunteer without Airfare

Many team members choose to book their flight(s) to and from the mission location independent of IMR. This is a great option if would like to extend your stay in the area to tour and explore, or if the routing from you home airport is more feasible for you. If you choose to fly independently, please note that your transportation in between the airport and the team’s accommodations will not be provided. This will need to be arranged separately. Our partner for travel, Worldwide Navigators, would be happy to assist you in coordinating flights and/or transportation. You can contact them at travel@worldwidenavigators.com.

Benefits of Flying Independently

Featured Enhancements

**To purchase any of the above Featured Enhancements for your mission please contact our office at office@imrus.org or call at (970) 635-0110.

Fundraising

IMR provides a fundraising packet to all registered trip applicants that is full of ideas on how you can raise support for your trip or for supplies to be utilized on this specific mission. When soliciting donations for any of our trips, success is completed through telling your personal story. Why do you want to go? Who will you help? Why their donation can help you achieve the ultimate goal. Tell your story to anyone and everyone. Refer your potential or active donors to our website or Facebook page and to your personal fundraising page. You may share your personal fundraising URL on Facebook and other social media sites.

Join Us in Making a Difference.

Bring much-needed acute medical and dental care to a beautiful, culture-rich destination. You can join an IMR medical mission team today!

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