This article describes, from the perspective of Project HOPE volunteers, the precedent-setting, military-civilian partnership in staffing the USNS Mercy as part of the rapid response of the United States to the overwhelming devastation and loss of life resulting from the tsunami off the coast of Indonesia. The article discusses the designation of Project HOPE as the nongovernmental organization to be the single source of volunteers for the USNS Mercy mission (providing ∼100 volunteers for each of two 30-day rotations), some issues facing Project HOPE and the contingent of volunteers in recruiting, orienting, training, and preparing for the mission, steps taken to make this a successful mission despite the ambiguity and uncertainties involved in arriving in the relief area 1 month after the disaster, and some recommendations for similar future missions. The Project HOPE volunteers quickly integrated with the cadre of Navy health professionals to deliver a broad range of high-quality care, including tertiary care, attesting to the professionalism and standards common to military and civilian medicine. The combined success of all organizations involved truly heralds a new era of medical diplomacy and goodwill in which the United States can take great pride.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health