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August 9, 2006

International Volunteer Medicine

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2006;296(6):652-653. doi:10.1001/jama.296.6.652-a

To the Editor: In her A Piece of My Mind article entitled “Duffle Bag Medicine,” Ms Roberts1 highlighted the pitfalls of practicing international medicine. Although agreeing with her suggestions for better integration of missions with local communities, as medical students we were dismayed by her generalizations that are based on observations of and conversations with a single group of missionaries. Opportunities to participate in respectful and integrative medical missions exist. In March 2006, the Eastern Virginia Medical School International Medicine Society sent 20 medical students, 2 faculty members, and 7 physicians (13 of whom spoke Spanish) to Honduras for a week. We partnered with Sociedad Amigos de los Niños (SAN), an organization founded 38 years ago by a Honduran nun, Sr Maria Rosa Leggol.