Peacework Medical Projects is a small non profit volunteer organization based in Phoenix, AZ. Founded in January 2000 as a small unit of Peacework International, our goal remains simple: sustainable improvement in the health and wellbeing of marginalized populations, by virtue of their geographical location, poverty, or long standing social/cultural bias.
Peacework is a secular organization and bears no political agenda. We exist simply to bring help and hope to those in need. While our history has been in remote locations in developing countries, as of 2015, we also have a clinic in the heart of Phoenix, AZ.
Our strength and success is based in these tenets:
1. Emphasize health education. We raise money yer round to support the projects and the people we serve. Over time we have learned that health education, self esteem, and resourcefulness is more effective than short term medications.
2. Actively participate and foster community partnership. Peacework engages and endorses local and regional host country medical resources and individual host country volunteers as colleagues as part of our broader services in the countries where we serve. Often we are able to directly engage in teaching local community health professionals, specifically women in health staff professions. We are currently training our own staff through tuition assistance in nursing classes and English learning.
3. Empower our patients through dignity and respect. To foster this, we work and live in the community that is hosting us. Before we begin work, time is spent consulting with and listening to the needs of the community we are seeking to serve. Situated centrally in the community, our team operates daily clinics loosely modeled on a hybrid of the process seen in emergency department and mass casualty services - the model works!
When working internationally, the villagers visit us by a ticketing system arranged by our host country counterparts. All patient services, including registration of patients, triage, health education, medical screening by our clinicians, treatment, and pharmacy services take place at this single work site. Our host country colleagues work side by side with our volunteer medical team and the rapport and trust built through this shared community service is fundamental. The return on this investment has been tremendous.
While we see well over 300 patients daily during a foreign clinical project, the unique attention to the individual is a credit to the dedication of our volunteers. They come to this team with a spirit of humanitarian service that is as understated as it is remarkable. The work speaks for itself.
In Phoenix, we see patients by appointment only. The model of patient flow is different, but the spirit of unique, personal care is unchanged.
4. Commitment demonstrated through action. Most importantly, our patients recognize our commitment to them and to the region we are serving. Our teams are 50% North American volunteers, and about 50% host country nationals on foreign trips. The intention of Peacework Medical is to become a part of the health system of a region, no matter how minimal that system may seem at first study. We do this by integrating as much as possible into the services and medical personnel working in the region. For example, in northern Honduras we conducted pap smears and pelvic exams for women. Women with suspect medical history or conditions were referred to host country labs for further testing and follow up. As a result, cervical cancer morbidity and mortality has been positively affected in a part of the country where previously this had been an untreated condition.
In the Ranquitte region of Haiti, more women are learning English and seeking careers in health care than ever before because of our mentoring. In four years a change is evident. It's just beginning. Our intent is for these women to operate the new clinic in the absence of Peacework Medical volunteers for a fair wage.
Where we are currently in 2016 -
Phoenix: On the west side of the city, we have a free primary care clinic that meets the first and third Sunday of every month. This clinic welcomes Gender and Sexuality Minorities (GSM) who do not have health care insurance.
Haiti: We have completed our efforts in Haiti.
With the urgent needs created by the devastating earthquake in January 2010, followed by the cholera epidemic of late 2010/early 2011, Peacework Medical Projects has had teams working in Marygot and Jacmel, then in Ranquitte.
In the region of Ranquitte our most important work had been in managing water borne cholera in target areas. This has been done with water treatment tanks that serve an entire village. The water is chlorinated directly from the source, then the villagers have clean water to drink. In the first four months of 2012, there were no new cholera cases in two villages where these tanks were built. The total cost of the two tanks was $1100.00 USD. Currently this project is in the hands of One Hundred for Haiti, a Seattle based non profit.
We built a small permanent clinic in Gard Hiram for intermittent US volunteers and local Haitian staff. Currently this project is in the hands of the Haitian staff!
Honduras: Our commitment to Honduras includes a remodeling of our southern project in the town of Nacaome. This project continues in the hands of capable volunteers!
In the north, we have completed our work, in our beloved Santa Lucia after eight years there! With happiness and more than a little sadness, it was time for us to move on.
In late 1998, Hurricane Mitch changed the country of Honduras forever. For those of us who had a history of service to the area, we needed to rethink our goals and efforts. For one Phoenix based volunteer, the creation of Peacework Medical Projects was the result.
In January 2001, after a year of administrative efforts, a group of nine Phoenix based medical professionals established the inaugural two week primary care clinic in the mountains of Honduras. 1200 needy patients were treated, many of whom would have never received medical attention otherwise. On the second day, a healthy baby girl was delivered, and Peacework Medical has been growing and committed ever since!
This clinic was then held annually in this same location. A typical U.S. team of 12 persons consisting of MDs, PAs, RNs, paramedics, and Spanish interpreters returned each January. Our Honduran counterparts included dentists, optometrists, logistics coordinators, cooks, drivers, and interpreters.
Typical medical care encompassed a medical screening exam and health education for everyone instructed by a local community leader. For others, there was treatment for internal parasites, blood sugar and blood pressure screening, Pap smears and pelvic exams for women. Cervical cancer morbidity and mortality has been positively influenced by the introduction of Pap smears in a part of the country where there had previously been none.
Dental and eye care was added in 2001 and in 2005, two veterinarians accompanied the team to provide vaccinations, spay and neutering, and to teach animal husbandry. They returned in 2006, and plan to incorporate this important service into the ongoing Peacework plans. A team of five veterinarians will come and treat the livestock in 2007.
Who can join us?
U.S. medical and PA students whose school has an affiliation with Peacework Medical are carefully selected to join us for clinical rotation credit. Unfortunately, without this affiliation, other students may not volunteer for a medical team.
What does it cost to produce a volunteer medical project?
The cost of the clinic and all personal and travel costs are borne by the volunteer team. Individuals raise their own funds- approximately $2000.00 per person including airfare, all in country costs, credentialing, and insurance for the Honduras projects, $1950.00 for Haiti. These fees are eligible for tax deduction.
What these costs actually provide:
Peacework is able to treat each patient for only 2-3 US dollars -- a value that is kept low by accepting donations of medicine and materials in the US, and by buying medicine in the host country. Collecting clean unused materials and disposable recyclables from area hospitals helps our goals as well. The volunteers are tremendously resourceful: every year, they do a lot with a little!
How you can help, you ask?
Your support is welcome and needed: Volunteer in Phoenix at a packing event, or create or come to a fund raiser. Or, simply send a check to "Peacework" and we will stretch your donation dollars to meet the needs of as many patients as possible. Or, earmark your gift to send a Haitian to nursing school, medical training, or English classes.
There is an online option for giving on this website as well. All gifts, large, small, in between, are acknowledged, needed, and put to work!