disasters, emergencies, humanitarian, standard of care, volunteers, foreign medical team, International Medical Corps, World Health Organization


Purpose: The aim of this study was to assist organizations seeking to develop or improve their medical disaster relief effort by identifying fundamental elements and processes that permeate high-quality, international, medical disaster relief organizations and the teams they deploy.

Methods: A qualitative descriptive design was used. Data were gathered from interviews with key personnel at five international medical response organizations, as well as during field observations conducted at multiple sites in Jordan and Greece, including three refugee camps. Data were then reviewed by the research team and coded to identify patterns, categories, and themes.

Results: The results from this qualitative, descriptive design identified three themes which were key characteristics of success found in effective, well-established, international medical disaster relief organizations. These characteristics were first, ensuring an official invitation had been extended and the need for assistance had been identified. Second, the response to that need was done in an effective and sustainable manner. Third, effective organizations strived to obtain high-quality volunteers.

Conclusion: By following the three key characteristics outlined in this research, organizations are more likely to improve the efficiency and quality of their work. In addition, they will be less likely to impede the overall recovery process.

Original Publication Citation

*Broby, N., Lassetter, J. H.,Williams, M., & Winters, B. (2018). Effective international medical disaster relief: A qualitative descriptive study. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

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Prehospital and Disaster Medicine





University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor

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