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In the Field – General Mission Principles & Guidelines

programsGeneral Mission Protocols and Guidelines
The Health and Educational Relief Organization (HERO), is a U.S.-based international humanitarian aid organization providing high-quality medical care, educational support and related services to communities of need throughout the Caribbean and Latin American region. The organization is entirely staffed by volunteer doctors, educators and allied mission specialists including pre-professional students who undertake to respect and abide by the general protocols and guidelines outlined hereunder. As specialists in their respective fields, participants agree to render their services as needed in an impartial and independent manner, irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation. As volunteers, participants also understand the risks and potential dangers of the missions they carry out and make no claim for themselves or their assigns for any form of compensation other than that which the organization might be able to afford them.

To facilitate the utmost transparency, integrity, and continued success of our humanitarian efforts, the Board of Directors of the Health and Educational Relief Organization requires all volunteers to review and assent to the following guidelines and protocols as a condition of participation in our official missions.

Professionalism: In rendering their professional services, HERO providers are required to adhere to the same clinical, ethical and operational standards required of such services when offered within the United States. This begins with conducting ourselves in a professional manner in all aspects of our care delivery process. Further, while the countries served by HERO may not have strict governing standards of patient privacy, HERO providers are required at all times to follow the guidelines set forth in the American Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Attire: We recognize the difficulty of working for extended periods in a tropical climate and suboptimal conditions. Nevertheless, professional or business-casual attire is always required during work hours. As such, short skirts, shorts and sleeveless shirts are prohibited at work sites. Scrubs or scrub attire are recommended.

Conduct: Social interactions among volunteers during work periods should be kept to a minimum in order to maximize our efficiency and the number of patients who can be seen during the workday. Team leaders are assigned to lead the mission, ensure adherence to HERO protocols, and mitigate any conflicts that may arise — whether of a personal or professional nature. Any conflicts that are not readily resolved must be referred to the team leader, whose decisions are final while on site.

Accommodation: As a non-profit organization, HERO has limited resources. As such, volunteers may be asked to stay under conditions to which they are not accustomed. These personal compromises enable us to dedicate more of our resources to the services we deliver. Any volunteer who is unable to adapt to the accommodations we provide is free to make alternate arrangements at his/her own expense. In instances where the provided accommodations are not supported by maid service, volunteers are asked to maintain the facility in a clean and tidy manner.

Meals: Meals are provided through the generosity of many of our local supporters. In the event that the meals provided are inconsistent with the personal taste of an individual volunteer, he/she is free to obtain meals elsewhere at their own cost.

Alcohol: The consumption of alcohol during work hours is strictly prohibited. Volunteers wishing to consume alcoholic beverages must do so on their own time and are urged to exercise utmost responsibility in doing so. Unless otherwise specified in advance of exceptional circumstances, HERO does not cover the cost of alcoholic beverages during our missions.

Team Assignments: All mission teams are assembled to maximize the clinical skills of their individual members. This enables us to deliver the most effective service that our limited resources would allow. Accordingly, we strongly advise that volunteers limit any requests for reassignment, since this would disrupt the carefully balanced allocation of resources and expertise assigned to the individual teams. Should unforeseen circumstances arise that truly prevent a volunteer from participating as a member of an assigned team, the matter should be addressed with the team leader.

Volunteerism: Our volunteer specialists have chosen to embark on this noble cause for reasons best known to each of them individually. Volunteering requires commitment, dedication and hard work. It is not a vacation. We respectfully request that our volunteers keep this in mind. Many of our volunteers may have relatives and friends in the countries to which their mission is assigned. We ask that our mission participants not use this as an opportunity for extended family visits but keep the mission foremost in their minds.

Insurance: Medjet insurance is mandatory for all students, but optional for licensed practitioners. For those practitioners wishing to exercise that option, the Medjet insurance premium is approximately $89.00 for one week or $205.00 for the year. This insurance guarantees that in the event of either illness or possible death you will be medevaced to a hospital of your choice in the United States, free of charge.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, members, volunteers and supporters of the Health and Educational Relief Organization Inc., (HERO), we would like thank you for donating your time and expertise in assisting us in our medical, educational and humanitarian endeavors. Your participation and support are indispensable to our continued success.

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