Medical Teams International | Official Blog

Stories of hope, health and lives transformed.

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  • Syrian Refugee: Hoping for a happy life

    by Emily Crowe | Sep 09, 2015

    Turkia had a good life. She was happy on her farm in Homs, Syria-- the farm provided everything she needed to live a comfortable life.

    She didn't understand how it could all be taken away so suddenly.

    Turkia was home when the bombs hit. In seconds, everything she had worked so hard to build was destroyed. She managed to survive the bombings with just an injured leg; her young nephew was killed.

    She knew "home" was no longer safe. Immediately, she fled with her family to the refugee camps in Lebanon. There were no bombs-- but, in the early days at the camp, there were also no beds, no tents and no money.

    Vomiting, dizziness and fatigue-- your support brings Turkia much-needed relief in the refugee camp where she lives with her family.

    Turkia felt overwhelmed. How was she, an elderly, middle-class woman, supposed to survive? Soon after moving to the camp, the stress became too much: she began feeling dizzy and was vomiting frequently. 

    These new symptoms threatened her ability to survive in this new, hard life. Something had to be done. Turkia visited a hospital and got the diagnosis: hypertension, caused by trauma from the war. Without treatment, the problem could go from bad to worse: causing weakness, heart problems-- even stroke.

    Trauma-induced hypertension is not rare in the refugee camps-- and it has serious consequences. Mothers may become too weak to care for their children, threatening families already struggling to survive.

    Luckily, you brought the treatment she so desperately needed.

    Every month, an MTI mobile clinic visits her camp and checks her blood pressure. Now, Turkia receives monthly medications and follow-up treatment-- and she's feeling much better.

    Turkia is relying on God for her future. There's no going back to Syria-- she only hopes for a good life-- a happy life-- with her children and grandchildren.

    Although life in the refugee camp is still hard, Turkia knows MTI is there for her. You bring a happy life that much closer.

    Your support sends resources like medicine and health workers to Turkia's camp. Share Turkia's story with your friends on Facebook or Twitter and consider donating to provide relief for refugee families around the world. Pray for safety for refugees as they seek relief during this crisis.

  • Compelled by compassion, students make a difference

    by Emily Crowe | Sep 03, 2015

    After witnessing the stark reality of poverty and disaster around the world at Medical Teams International's Real. Life. Exhibit, students from Hillsboro First Baptist Church felt called to make a difference. Although the suffering was heartbreaking, they were inspired by just how much impact they could have on the lives of vulnerable people around the world.

    Hillsboro First Baptist Donation
    Hillsboro First Baptist students present their check to Medical Teams International at our headquarters in Tigard, Oregon.

    Compelled by compassion, several students decided to act. Working diligently in their community, they raised and donated $800 for life-changing preventative tools. With their donations, MTI will be able to provide clean-burning stoves and anti-Malaria mosquito nets.

    This donation means families will be protected from dangerous respiratory infections and malaria. Children will be less likely to die from pneumonia and grow up strong and healthy-- better able to thrive for years to come.

    These passionate students worked hard and made a difference. We are inspired by the love they are demonstrating for vulnerable people around the world.

    Thank you, Pastor Bruce and every single student at Hillsboro First Baptist Church, for your compassion. You are truly making a difference.

    Want to join these students and help their compassion do even more? 

    1. Make a donation in honor of these inspiring students and bring support to even more vulnerable people.
    2. Share their inspiring story of generosity on Facebook and Twitter
    3. Visit our Real. Life. Exhibits in Tigard, OR or Redmond, WA and get a hands-on look at MTI's work around the world.
  • Jeff's note from Africa

    by Emily Crowe | Aug 31, 2015

    Jeff Pinneo, Medical Teams International's President and CEO, traveled to Africa this month to visit and meet with our programs in Liberia and Uganda.

    It was an inspiring and encouraging journey-- your support is doing incredible things. Here is a note that Jeff shared about visiting the refugee camps we serve: 

    Greetings US friends and coworkers,

    It’s Thursday night here in Africa, the end of my 5th full day in what has been a wonderful whirlwind of a visit with our people and partners in Liberia and Uganda.

    Jeff in Uganda fist bump
    "Fist bump" - Jeff meets local children in Uganda.

    Tomorrow, we’ll be heading to the camp’s central reception center, the place where all refugees arrive at following their initial assessment for further processing, land assignments and food/tool distribution. They come from unimaginable trauma into a foreign land and are met by our colleagues who, through their faith-inspired compassion and skillful care, let them know that their lives really matter. It’s so powerful to witness.

    Two things are clear to me tonight.  First, that every bit of pride and encouragement any of us have felt in the relevance of our mission, the quality of our people and the work they do, and the impact we’re making on the lives of those who suffer deeply is
    fully justified and extremely well placed.  And second, there’s absolutely no way that any of this could be done without the inspired dedication and skilled contributions of each one of you. It does indeed ‘take a village’ – all of us, together with our volunteers, donors and partners, brought together by God and bound by our shared heart for those we serve. 

    Thank you for your prayers for this special week and for the fruit I’m confident it will bear in our work in the months ahead.

    With gratitude,

    Jeff Pinneo
    President and CEO
    Medical Teams International

     Note: This is a condensed version of Jeff's original letter. No wording
    has been changed, but some sections have been removed.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Sometimes, it's rocket science.

    by Emily Crowe | Aug 27, 2015

    Our volunteers are at the core of everything we do. Last year, 2472 volunteers donated over 80,000 hours packing and preparing medical supplies, supporting our programs and events, and serving abroad.

    Together, MTI volunteers supported 3.15 million people in 30 countries around the world in 2014. Here's just one of the many incredible people who make our work happen.

    Rocket Rod
    "Rocket" Rod: Distribution Center Volunteer

    Volunteering since: 2007

    How many people can say they volunteer with a rocket scientist?

    "Rocket" Rod is a long-time Medical Teams International volunteer whose dedication helps change millions of peoples' lives every year.

    Rod has a PhD in nuclear physics and spent years working in magnetic fusion, nuclear testing and-- of course-- building rockets.

    Now, he volunteers with Medical Teams International in our Distribution Center, sorting and shipping life-changing medical supplies for use around the world. He's a great asset to the MTI team-- we are so grateful for his unfailing support.

    Every single one of our volunteers makes a difference. To each of our volunteers: thank you for your generosity and support. 

    Do you have any favorite memories or insights about volunteering with MTI that you'd like to share? We'd love to hear from you! Join us on Facebook and Twitter, or send us an email. Interested in joining our volunteer team? Learn more.

  • Medical Teams International earns highest rating from Charity Navigator

    by Emily Crowe | Aug 24, 2015

    We are proud and honored to receive this outstanding recognition. We are dedicated to maximizing the impact of every donation to provide life-changing relief around the world. This work would not be possible without YOU-- our incredible supporters.

    We are proud of our programs and processes, but we are most proud of your outstanding generosity-- and the love you demonstrate to the world's vulnerable. Because of you, millions of vulnerable people around the world have access to care.

    On behalf of every refugee, child, and person that we serve: thank you.

    Original Press Release:


    Northwest-based nonprofit receives four stars from premier charity evaluator

    PORTLAND, Ore. – (August 12, 2015) Medical Teams International (MTI) has earned a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. MTI earned the highest possible rating from the independent charity evaluator based on its performance in two categories: financial practices and accountability and transparency. 

    MTI received a perfect score (100/100) for accountability and transparency, and 99.12/100 possible points for its fiscal responsibility. This combined average score places MTI in the highest-performing category among the thousands of charities evaluated nationwide by Charity Navigator.

    “We’re incredibly proud and honored to receive this recognition,” said Jeff Pinneo, MTI President and CEO. “It’s a reflection of our dedicated staff’s expertise and commitment to quality, efficiency and integrity.”

    According to Charity Navigator, only one in four charities evaluated earn a four star rating, which indicates an organization “exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in its cause.”

    To view MTI’s Charity Navigator rating and learn additional information, visit

    More information about Medical Teams International can be found at

    About Medical Teams International:

    Medical Teams International (MTI) is a global relief and development organization serving people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world — regardless of religion, nationality, sex or race. MTI mobilizes expert volunteer medical, dental and support professionals, procures and ship donated medicines and supplies worldwide and creates health programs with lasting impact. In addition to responding to urgent needs around the world, MTI uses innovative technologies and training in the communities it serves. With a variety of partners, MTI set up long-term development programs to achieve the most sustainable impact so local communities are more self-reliant and prepared for future emergencies. Founded in 1979, MTI is a charitable 501(c)(3) organization that engages 2,500 volunteers globally and served more than 3 million people in 2014.