International Medical Corps
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International Medical Corps is a preeminent First Responder that provides emergency relief often within hours to those hit by disaster, no matter where they are, no matter what the conditions. Their teams have responded to a roll call of major crises over the last 30 years, including Afghanistan, Rwanda, the Balkans, Darfur, Haiti, Japan, Iraq, Syria, the Philippines, West Africa and Nepal. In many of these places we remain, helping communities along the path from relief to self-reliance. Since its founding, International Medical Corps has delivered $2 billion worth of assistance to millions of people in 70 countries around the world.
From the earthquakes in Haiti, Nepal and Japan and the Southeast Asian tsunami to Darfur and the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa, International Medical Corps has responded to nearly every major emergency in the past three decades. Today, International Medical Corps works in some 30 countries around the world. With a staff of more than 7,800 worldwide – 96% of whom are recruited locally – our teams ensure that the knowledge required to prepare for and respond effectively to an emergency remains anchored in the community and residents can better respond should disaster strike again.
Mission and approach
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. By offering training and health care to local populations and medical assistance to people at highest risk, and with the flexibility to respond rapidly to emergency situations, International Medical Corps rehabilitates devastated health care systems and helps bring them back to self-reliance.
The emphasis on capacity building through education and training is central to all International Medical Corps programs. Its central program priorities include: emergency response and preparedness; health services support; family and community health; women's and children's health; mental health; water, sanitation, and hygiene; and nutrition and food security.
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 maximize the resources and expertise available to our staff on the ground. International Medical Corps UK is responsible for managing European and UN funded programs 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[disambiguation needed], 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. He sold his home in Malibu for $100,000 to get seed money to found International Medical Corps.
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, England and Split, Croatia. They currently employ over 7,800 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’ Emergency Response Teams are on the ground in Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone responding to the Ebola outbreak. They are operate five Ebola treatment centers – two in Liberia and three in Sierra Leone – which provide not only isolation and care for Ebola patients but also psychosocial support, which can be a key element in recovery. Also, they are implementing training programs to equip frontline healthcare workers with the skills to stop this outbreak at the source.
2015 Nepal earthquake:International Medical Corps was on the ground when the first earthquake struck on April 25th and their Emergency Response Team was operating Mobile Medical Units (MMUs), providing lifesaving medical care within the next 48 hours. In addition to emergency health care, International Medical Corps is providing services in water and sanitation, mental health and psychosoical support, gender-based violence, and providing necessary supplies.
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.
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, John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago. He is also the former Bureau Chief of the Cook County Bureau of Health Services.
- Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders
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