Medical Volunteering and International Development

CIRI Blog

Published: August 25, 2015 by Dr. Chris Hagar

One of my main research interests focuses on information perspectives of digital volunteering in humanitarian aid. My work with colleagues Dr. Nina Laurie, Chair in Development, Newcastle University, UK and Dr. Matt Baillie-Smith, Professor of Development, Northumbria University, UK concerns international medical volunteering. Cross-disciplinary collaboration (medical, geography, sociology and information science) is urgently needed to better understand global health volunteering. My expertise in crisis information management helped my colleagues (mentioned above) to identify a gap in their work and, as a result, we have discussed ways in which we can take forward a joint agenda on information/knowledge sharing and digital volunteering in international development settings.

We recently submitted a grant proposal to the UK Wellcome Trust “Medical Volunteering and International Development.” In this proposal, I am named as a member of the Social Scientists, International Development and Volunteering Research Team. I will contribute to pioneering cross-disciplinary research in delivering global health agendas through volunteering. I bring to this project my expertise in crisis informatics, my work with the Standby Task Force (blog.standby taskforce.com) and with Health Information For All (hifa.org)

The key goals are to examine the individual and institutional learning, and changes in practice, in overseas contexts resulting from international health links. This includes how ongoing international collaborations are shaped and the role of regional/local resources and discourses of identity and community in international health links’ success over time. Competitive small bid funding has been secured for pilot fieldwork from Newcastle University, UK. This seed funding application is currently under review by the Wellcome Trust, UK.