Healthcare professionals can make a difference with these 4 charities

By Naveed Saleh, MD, MS | Fact-checked by Barbara Bekiesz
Published June 29, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • Physicians and other healthcare professionals can donate their time and services to healthcare charities. Organizations such as Doctors Worldwide and Project HOPE offer volunteer opportunities to healthcare professionals (HCPs) intent on providing care to developing nations.

  • For those HCPs interested in advancing their practice of healthcare to further benefit their patients, the Physicians Foundation offers numerous grants.

  • MedShare is a nonprofit organization that collects unused medical supplies for distribution to underserved communities and developing nations.

In encouraging news, Americans donated $471.44 billion to charity in 2020, which is a 5.1% increase from 2019. Compared with foundation or corporate giving, donations from individuals made up the lion’s share, or 69% of total giving, according to data provided by the National Philanthropic Trust.[]

Money, however, is merely one way that a person can donate to a charitable institution. Volunteers are also needed, and physicians are in a unique position to provide medical expertise and care to healthcare charities—many of which serve developing countries.

Here are some healthcare charities making great strides in advancing healthcare both in the US and abroad.

Physicians Foundation

This nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization empowers doctors to assume leadership roles and enables them to offer high-quality care. The organization is intent on molding the future of healthcare in an evolving environment.

According to the foundation’s website, “We are steadfast in strengthening the physician-patient relationship, supporting medical practices’ sustainability and helping physicians navigate the changing health care system.”[]

The Physicians Foundation meets its mission via education, research, and grantmaking aimed at enhancing physician well-being and physician leadership, as well as focusing on social drivers of health and advancing physicians’ worldview.

To strengthen the efforts of practicing physicians, grants from this organization support universities, hospitals, medical societies, and nonprofit organizations.

Ever since 2005, the foundation’s doled out about $49 million in multi-year grants.

Check out these grants aimed at advancing the goals of practicing doctors and promoting the delivery of top healthcare.

Doctors Worldwide

Founded in 2001, this organization has provided quality medical services and relief in 22 countries worldwide including more than 95 healthcare projects in Africa, Central America, and Asia.

Its work has touched more than 3 million people, according to its website.[] The goal of the organization is to establish better futures for communities by serving their healthcare needs.

“At Doctors Worldwide, we believe that good health enables people and communities to define their own future,” the charity writes. “Access to quality healthcare is not a privilege, it is a human right, and we work towards making that a reality, especially for the most vulnerable communities.”

Doctors Worldwide enhances community health by partnering with national, international, and grassroots organizations, as well as building and rehabbing health facilities, securing medical supplies, providing training, and offering expert medical advice.

The charity does so with sensitivity toward local culture and using low-cost, high-reward solutions. Areas of focus include improvement of existing healthcare systems, ensuring access to basic and lifesaving medical necessities, and establishment of systems for responding to health emergencies.

In addition to donating money, there are many ways interested physicians can get involved with Doctors Worldwide.

Those who want to start with humanitarian work can enroll in the Humanitarian Medical Aid Course, developed by faculty who share their knowledge and experience in medical humanitarian emergencies and the development of long-term health programs. The course also offers networking opportunities.

Other avenues for involvement include becoming an advisor for a specialty sub-committee or helping with COVID-19 telemedicine support and the development of COVID-19 case management flowcharts.

Project HOPE

This organization has been helping communities worldwide for more than 60 years. It works directly with healthcare workers and public health institutions to foster change.

According to its website, “Project HOPE places power in the hands of local health care workers to save lives around the world. Whether training midwives in Sierra Leone, outfitting hospitals in Indonesia, or resupplying clinics devastated by disaster, we are committed to empowering health care workers with the support they need to heal people who need it most.”[]

Areas of focus include ending preventable deaths of newborns and mothers, ending AIDS and tuberculosis, and disaster preparedness for healthcare institutions.

In addition to help with fundraising, the organization is also looking for support and healthcare volunteers, as listed on its searchable index of opportunities.


MedShare collects excess medical supplies from local hospitals and sends them to healthcare facilities in developing countries, as well as free clinics in the Bay Area of the US that treat underserved populations.

Volunteers help identify, sort, and package equipment and supplies.[] You can also contribute through financial contributions or donation of unused, unexpired medical supplies, which also benefits the environment by keeping these materials out of landfills and incinerators. These supplies can come from hospitals, medical manufacturers, or individuals.

What this means for you

The work of various healthcare charitable organizations dovetails well with the compassionate care provided by physicians. Many of these institutions need physician volunteers and offer learning opportunities for physicians. Those interested should explore these opportunities.

Read Next: Physician volunteerism: The surprising benefits for doctors who do it
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