Lead a Trip

Apply to Lead a Trip

DOCARE seeks to increase access to primary healthcare to underserved communities in low- and middle-income nations worldwide. As part of achieving this goal, we undertake short-term global health outreach trips to destinations in low- and middle-income countries.

Short-term global health outreach trips are typically one- to three-week group excursions that

  • provide primary healthcare directly to people in the destination community,
  • complete public health campaigns aimed at improving community health,
  • assist underserved communities in improving local healthcare or establishing mechanisms for long-term local continuity of care,
  • offer a unique educational experience for traveling students and other volunteers, and
  • offer a challenging but deeply satisfying way for US clinicians to improve the lives of others.

DOCARE accepts proposals from physicians for physician-led short-term global health outreach trips to destinations worldwide.

DOCARE Support

In the past five decades, DOCARE has sent hundreds of trips to destinations around the world.

As a result of this experience, DOCARE is able to offer meaningful assistance to trip leaders. We offer support for

  • creating a trip plan,
  • recruiting participants,
  • understanding insurance and legal needs,
  • purchasing medical equipment and supplies,
  • completing customs requirements,
  • ensuring safety,
  • collecting appropriate data on patients and participants, and
  • sharing your successes.

Who can apply to lead a trip?

While DOCARE welcomes a broad range of trip volunteers (osteopathic and allopathic medical professionals, students, and laypeople), applying to lead a trip requires more specific qualifications.

In specific, all trips must include at least one US-trained, fully licensed physician as trip director. Additional doctors and other clinicians, such as nurse practitioners, can help co-lead a trip.

In addition, all trip directors are required to have participated in two or more previous global health outreach trips. Additional global health experience is desirable, but not required.


As a first step to initiating a trip, we ask interested groups and individuals to establish a plan with a physician, healthcare facility, or health- or development-related NGO in the country you plan to serve. This connection will help establish a clear understanding of needs in the destination communities, provide firsthand knowledge of the area(s) to be visited, and ensure that the visiting group can have a positive impact.

In the process of devising trip plans, many trip leaders also engage their DOCARE university chapter, university department, residency program, or US-based healthcare nonprofit. This ensures that the trip can recruit physicians, students, residents, and other health care providers as volunteers, offer course credit or CME (if desired), and possibly access institutional funding or material support.

How to Apply

After establishing a destination, institutional connections, and a basic plan, we advise walking through our trip application (PDF) to ensure each piece is in place.

When ready, submit an online version of this form. You’ll be asked to enter your answers and upload a resume or CV noting your international experience. DOCARE will review the application and return a response to you within three months. (A list of submission deadlines and response dates is available below.)

Upon approval, DOCARE will contact the trip leadership with support, post the trip announcement on our website, and aid trip logistics. The support will continue up to and through travel dates. Upon completion of your trip, your input will help DOCARE continue to carry out high-quality global health outreach to the communities who need it most.