HealthCare Volunteer

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HealthCare Volunteer
FoundedDecember 27, 2005
FounderNeilesh Patel DDS and Elliot Mendelsohn MD
Over 2+ million people served with 7.2 million volunteer hours
Key people
Neilesh Patel (President) Ravi Raghavan (Chief Operating Officer) Shahram Miri (General Counsel)
58 volunteers/employees[1]
Over 150,000 website users

HealthCare Volunteer is a non-profit organization that connects volunteers with a health-related volunteering opportunity.[2][3] The organization provides medical, dental and surgical services to needy patients, and impoverished people worldwide, through indirect and direct patient-care programs.[4][5] The company also provides a social networking application, that allows health volunteers to connect with each other and create new volunteer teams. The organization has matched over 290,000 volunteers to nearly 3,300 organizations worldwide.[3] In total over 1.5 million patients have received health care as a result of its indirect and direct patient care programs.


In 2005, during his first year at UCLA Dental School, Patel decided to travel to Brazil to provide dental services to underserved communities. But he encountered difficulties in finding volunteer opportunities, having contacted more than 15 Brazilian organizations and receiving no response. He found that other dental and medical students had experienced similar problems. To address this problem, Patel created the Dental Volunteer and later HealthCare Volunteer to help connect students with volunteer opportunities.[6] During Dental school, Neilesh Patel said he spent many "pizza nights" – subsisting on pizza and pulling all-nighters teaching himself how to program and build a Web site, which became the backbone of HealthCare Volunteer. He said he was driven by the belief that all qualified applicants should have the opportunity to volunteer. Soon now-orthopedic surgeon Elliot Mendelosohn, also a biomedical engineering major in his undergraduate days, joined Patel to help build HealthCare Volunteer.[7]

Founded by Neilesh Patel DDS, and Elliot Mendelsohn MD in November, 2005, HealthCare Volunteer has a large listing of health-related volunteering opportunities serving the non-profit sector.[3] Volunteers include physicians, dentists, medical students, and dental assistants, who donate their time to provide services including free surgery and dental care.[3] The organization has direct patient care programs in over 10 countries including India, Ecuador, Kenya, Tanzania, Liberia, Cameroon and Paraguay. In 2007, Patel was selected as a YouthActionNet Fellow in recognition of the organization's efforts, which was awarded at the Embassy of Finland in Washington DC.[8][9] In 2008, Patel was awarded the UCLA Charles E Young Humanitarian Award for his work in global health. Patel reportedly dropped out of the UCLA MBA Program in 2007 after starting classes his first quarter as the first ever student in the integrated DDS/MBA program in order to focus on HV's growth.

Patel and Mendelsohn have also established HealthCare Tourism International, the first non profit medical tourism accreditation service.[10] Patel started his first non-profit ( at age 17, which helped provide computer services and technical support to needy people around the world.

In 2013, Patel received the Samuel S. Beard Award for Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Under, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[11]

Volunteer networking[edit]

One of the unique features of the HealthCare Volunteer website is its ability to allow volunteers to create online profiles and connect with other volunteers. Once volunteers have signed up and created their profiles, they can form volunteering teams for service at home or abroad.

Exercising a 'free volunteering' philosophy[edit]

HealthCare Volunteer has sought to reduce the financial burdens for both volunteers and organizations. First, volunteers pay no money to search HealthCare Volunteer for volunteering opportunities nor must organizations pay any money to post their volunteering opportunities on HealthCare Volunteer. Secondly, HealthCare Volunteer strives to exclusively partner with organizations that do not charge their volunteers additional money beyond accommodation and other essential services in order to volunteer. HealthCare Volunteer believes that volunteers are already volunteering their time and effort and should not be required to pay additional fees above the basic costs (travel, accommodation, and basic services).[12]

Organizational awards[edit]

In 2007, HealthCare Volunteer began awarding volunteers who helped advance the mission of HealthCare Volunteer.[13]

2007 Awards:

Award Recipient Comments
Leadership Ravi Raghavan For fundraising, recruiting, public relations, and new partnerships
Medical Field Excellence Dr. Samuel Feinstein For surgery work in Tanzania
Dental Field Excellence Dr. Jason Ehtessabian For dental work in Tanzania
Innovation Award Dr. Tara Athan, PhD For world's first health-related NGO and volunteer interactive, online map
Opportunity Expansion Award Erick Mlanga For creating volunteering opportunities in Tanzania
Organizational Award Carolina Myans For uploading new volunteering opportunities onto HealthCare Volunteer's website
Student Volunteer Award Colin Casault For overcoming numerous obstacles to perform volunteer work in rural Tanzania

2008 Awards:

Award Recipient Comments
Leadership Ravi Raghavan This year, Mr. Raghavan launched

the India chapter of HealthCare Volunteer and recruited new volunteers from India.

Medical Field Excellence Dr. Seth Podolsky For public health medical work in Galapagos Islands
Dental Field Excellence Andi Michels For dental work in Tanzania
Innovation Award Adil Shafique For world's first health-related NGO and volunteer interactive, online map
Opportunity Expansion Award Catherine Matthys For creating volunteering opportunities in Tanzania
Student Volunteer Award Sarah Richardson For overcoming numerous obstacles to perform volunteer work in rural Tanzania

See also[edit]



  1. ^ HealthCare Volunteer (2008). "About Us". HealthCare Volunteer. Retrieved October 27, 2008.
  2. ^ PR Newswire (2007). "Young Leader in United States Chosen to Receive a Global YouthActionNet Fellowship From the International Youth Foundation and Nokia". WorldNow and KRNV. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d YouthActionNet (2007). "Neilesh Patel biography". YouthActionNet. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved November 11, 2007.
  4. ^ Medical News Today (2007). "HealthCare Volunteer Launches Successful Health/nutrition Volunteering Pilot Program In Zimbabwe". MediLexicon International Ltd. Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  5. ^ (2007). "Interview with Neil Patel of HealthCare Volunteer". Archived from the original on October 26, 2007. Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  6. ^ Elizabeth Kivowitz (2008). "Winners of the UCLA Humanitarian Awards". UCLA Newsroom. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
  7. ^ JJ Yang (2008). "Neilesh Patel wins the UCLA Humanitarian Awards". Daily Bruin UCLA Newsroom. Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
  8. ^ Nokia (2007). "International Youth Foundation and Nokia honor 20 global youth leaders as YouthActionNet(TM) Fellows". Nokia. Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  9. ^ YouthActionNet (2007). "Winners of the YouthActionNet Awards, August 2007". YouthActionNet. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  10. ^ Molly Merrill (2007). "First nonprofit medical tourism accreditation service launched". Health Care Finance News. Archived from the original on November 5, 2007. Retrieved November 12, 2007. The organization has gained attention, and Patel was recently quoted in the New York Times on the subject of dental tourism.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Ravi Raghavan (2007). "HealthCare Volunteer Partner Philosophy". HealthCare Volunteer. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
  13. ^ Manjusha Dutta (2007). "HealthCare Volunteer 2007 Awards". HealthCare Volunteer. Retrieved December 26, 2007.

External links[edit]