Medical - Mission - Immersion Trips

Over the past two decades, the number of short-term international mission trips for the provision of health services has dramatically increased. Catholic health care has participated in this growth. According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, an estimated 6,000 medical missions are sent from the United States to low- or middle-income countries every year with an annual expenditure of at least $250 million dollars (

While these experiences provide an opportunity for Catholic health care to continue its mission of reaching out to those persons who are poor, sick and vulnerable, there are consistent concerns about their value and effectiveness. Considering the significant human and economic investment in health service trips, it is essential to gain a better understanding of these activities and to consider how they can provide the maximum benefit for all involved.

CHA has conducted two phases of  research on short-term medical mission trips — one from the perspective and practices of the U.S.-based partners, and the second, from the perspective and practices of those who receive these trips in low- and middle-income countries.

The combined results are available in these two resources:

Short-Term Medical Mission Trips: Recommendations for Practice
This book shares 20 Recommendations for Practice that Catholic health care leaders should use to review current and to consider future short-term medical mission trips. They are based on the Phase I and Phase II short-term medical mission trip research. 

Order a copy of the book
Download an electronic copy
Order the webinar recording
Learn more about the research and Recommendations for Practice by listening to a recording of the 30-minute webinar



Short-Term Medical Mission Trips Survey Results
This book contains the detailed question-by-question survey results from Phase I and Phase II of CHA's 2014-2015 research project on short-term medical mission trips.

Order a copy of the book

Download an electronic copy

For additional information, please contact Bruce Compton, CHA senior director of Global Health.