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best practices, global health, healthcare disparities, missionary nursing, service-learning, short-term medical missions (STMMs)



  1. Hawkins, Janice


ABSTRACT: Participation in short-term medical mission (STMM) trips has grown dramatically in recent years in response to increased global communication, travel, and awareness of inadequate healthcare services in impoverished countries. Some argue STMMs have the potential to do more harm than good. Common criticisms include unsafe practices, lack of consideration for cultural differences, and lack of coordination with the host country. Improving the outcomes of STMMs requires increased awareness of potential pitfalls. With awareness and planning, the positive impact of STMMs in providing needed services to resource-limited countries can exceed the potential negative impact. Guidelines for medication donations and STMMs are included, along with resources for further study.