Doctors Without Borders
Médecins Sans Frontières (also known as Doctors
Without Borders or MSF) delivers emergency aid to
victims of armed conflict, epidemics, and natural and
man-made disasters, and to others who lack health care due
to social or geographical isolation.
MSF was founded in 1971 by a small group of French
doctors who believed that all people have the right to
medical care regardless of race,religion, creed or political
affiliation, and that the needs of these people supersede
respect for national borders. It was the first non-governmental organization to both provide emergency medical assistance and publicly bear witness to the plight of the populations they served. A private, nonprofit organization, MSF is at the forefront of
emergency health care as well as care for populations suffering from endemic diseases and neglect. MSF provides primary health
care, performs surgery, rehabilitates hospitals and clinics, runs nutrition and sanitation programs, trains local medical personnel, and
provides mental health care. Through longer-term programs, MSF treats chronic diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, sleeping sickness, and AIDS; assists with the medical and psychological problems of marginalized populations including street children and
ethnic minorities; and brings health care to remote, isolated areas where resources and training are limited.
MSF unites direct medical care with a commitment to bearing witness and speaking out against the underlying causes of suffering. Its
volunteers protest violations of humanitarian law on behalf of populations who have no voice, and bring the concerns of their patients
to public forums, such as the United Nations, governments (in both home and project countries), and the media. In a wide range of
circumstances, MSF volunteers have spoken out about forgotten conflicts and underreported atrocities they have witnessed—from
Chechnya to Angola, and from Kosovo to Sri Lanka.
MSF is an international network with sections in 18 countries. Each year, more than 2,500 volunteer doctors, nurses, other medical professionals, logistics experts, water/sanitation engineers, and administrators join 15,000 locally hired staff to provide medical aid in
more than 80 countries.
MSF is an organization based on volunteerism. In helping to relieve the
suffering of others, the MSF volunteer not only gives freely of his or her
humanity, but creates a link of solidarity from his or her own community to
a population in need. At times the sole international witness to a crisis
situation, the MSF volunteer plays a critical role in the communities where he or she works. It is the independent nature of the volunteer's commitment that gives special legitimacy to the testimony provided by
MSF and that ensures the organization's continued dynamism.
MSF recruits experienced medical and non-medical personnel.
An in-person interview at one of our offices, located in New York and Los Angeles, or selected other locations, is an indispensable
part of the recruitment process for all applicants. If you do not reside in the United States and are unable to come to the United States for an interview, please refer to a list of MSF world offices to see whether there is an MSF office in your own, or a nearby, country to
which you can apply. Please note that MSF is unable to cover expenses related to the interview process or to assist applicants living
outside the United States in obtaining visas.
The minimum commitment for a first-time volunteer is six months, although a nine-month to one-year assignment is more typical.
(General surgeons and anesthesiologists with extensive experience may be accepted for shorter assignments, of six weeks or more).
International volunteers work closely with staff members recruited in the project country, often as colleagues and sometimes in a
supervisory or training capacity. The specific needs of individual missions dictate volunteer selections, and regrettably, it is not
always possible to accept the services of willing and capable professionals. In addition, most MSF projects cannot accommodate
highly specialized practitioners or individuals with limited availability or work experience.