International Medical Corps
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International Medical Corps is a global, humanitarian, nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training and relief and development programs. Established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses, International Medical Corps is a private, voluntary, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization. Its mission is to improve the quality of life through health interventions and related activities that build local capacity in underserved communities worldwide. Since its founding, International Medical Corps has delivered $1.8 billion worth of assistance to millions of people in 70 countries around the world.
From the earthquake in Haiti and the Southeast Asian tsunami to Darfur and Hurricane Katrina, International Medical Corps has responded to nearly every major emergency in the past two decades. Today, International Medical Corps works in some 30 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, including Haiti, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Japan, Iraq, Sudan (Darfur), Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mission and Approach
Founded in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses, International Medical Corps is a private, voluntary, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization that works to improve the quality of life through health interventions and related activities that build local capacity in under served communities worldwide.
International Medical Corps provides lifesaving relief while building self-reliance through programs that focus on education and training. Approximately 96% of its field-based staff and health professionals are recruited from the local community, helping ensure that the skills stay within the area long after the program has ended.
The emphasis on capacity building through education and training is central to all International Medical Corps programs. Its central program priorities include: emergency response; health capacity building; women’s and children’s health and wellbeing; mental health; and clean water, sanitation, and hygiene. In addition to these priorities, International Medical Corps also runs programs providing nutrition services, economic and agricultural livelihoods support, and prevention, testing, and care for communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
International Medical Corps is also a founding member of the ONE campaign and part of the Clinton Global Initiative. Ninety cents of every dollar goes directly to its field programs – one of the highest fundraising efficiencies in the industry – and International Medical Corps is an A+ rated charity by the American Institute of Philanthropy and a BBB accredited charity.
In 2002 International Medical Corps UK was founded to create the global International Medical Corps partnership, designed to maximise the resources and expertise available to our staff on the ground. International Medical Corps UK is responsible for managing European and UN funded programmes as well as providing technical advice, recruitment, raising awareness, and contributing to UK & European policy development.
International Medical Corps was founded by Dr. Robert Simon, a young emergency-room physician at UCLA Medical Center, who was moved to take action after learning about the plight of the Afghan people as a result of the 1979 Soviet invasion and subsequent occupation. All but 200 of the country’s 1,500 doctors had been executed, imprisoned, or exiled, and relief agencies had been ordered out of the country, worsening the shortage of doctors.
Simon began making trips to Afghanistan to provide medical assistance directly to civilians, eventually selling his Malibu home to finance a clinic in the battered Kunar River Valley. Eventually, understanding that a few new clinics would not meet the overwhelming health care needs of Afghans, Simon set up a full-time Afghan medical training center in the nearby – and relative security of - the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan.
At the end of one nine-month course, the Afghan medics trained by International Medical Corps were able to diagnose and treat 75-80 percent of the injuries and illnesses they encountered in the field. By 1990, International Medical Corps had graduated more than 200 medics who helped established 57 clinics and 10 hospitals in 18 provinces throughout rural Afghanistan.
Today, International Medical works in some 30 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, providing relief to populations facing war, conflict, natural disaster, famine, and poverty while also laying the foundation for sustainable development. Its programs are funded from both public and private sources, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO), The United Nations, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and AmeriCares.
International Medical Corps is based in Los Angeles with other offices in Washington, DC, London, and Split, Croatia. They currently employ 5,300 employees and thousands of volunteers in 30 countries.
Responding to Emergencies
Haiti Earthquake: Just 22 hours after the earthquake hit, International Medical Corps was on the ground in Port-au-Prince providing emergency medical care. They are still there offering medical care, training local health workers and building capacity to help the Haitian people return to self-reliance.
Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: International Medical Corps was on the ground within 48 hours of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011, and has been supporting local partners to deliver critical humanitarian services ever since. While Japan has significant capacity to manage emergencies, the magnitude of the disaster - coupled with the threat of radiation exposure - was large enough to warrant international assistance. From building playgrounds to supporting day care workers and implementing disaster risk reduction programs, International Medical Corps has partnered with local and national organizations to ensure that relief and recovery needs of Japanese children, families and the elderly are being met.
2014 Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa: International Medical Corps doctors and nurses have operations in the West Africa countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia at Ebola Treatment Units, both caring for patients stricken with the Ebola virus, as well as working to create new treatment facilities and provide "Ebola 101" training for the community.
Nancy Aossey, International Medical Corps’ president and CEO, has led the organization since 1986 and has overseen International Medical Corps’ expansion to include 70 countries. Aossey has served as Chairman of the Board of InterAction, America's largest coalition of international relief organizations, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2006, the Los Angeles Business Journal named Aossey non-profit CEO of the year and, in 2007, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities recognized her dedication to her cause with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. She also testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia on the return and resettlement of Iraqi refugees.
Dr. Robert Simon, M.D., together with a group of American volunteer physicians and nurses, founded International Medical Corps in 1984. Simon is a professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Rush University, Stroger-Cook County Hospital in Chicago. He is also the former Bureau Chief of the Cook County Bureau of Health Services.
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