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Medical Teams International | Official Blog

Get the latest updates from our programs in the field internationally and here in the United States.  

  • Volunteer Highlight: Brittn Grey

    by Katie Carroll | Apr 21, 2014

    This April, we celebrated our volunteers with appreciation events. We honored several with service awards, including Brittn Grey, who won a Gold U.S. President’s Award for serving over 500 hours with Medical Teams International in Guatemala!

    President’s Volunteer Service Awards are awarded by the U.S. President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation for service in the prior year. This year we had three Gold winners. After serving her award-winning volunteer hours in Guatemala, Brittn recently became a full time employee at MTI as our Latin America & Caribbean Program Coordinator. She took a break from her busy visit to the States to share her thoughts on volunteering with MTI and winning this distinguished award.

    Brittn first learned about MTI in early 2013 through a team leader who was organizing a medical team to San Juan Chamelco in Guatemala and needed a translator. Brittn, who is fluent in English and Spanish, had previously volunteered internationally in Latin America with other organizations as a translator. Although she is not a medical professional, Brittn was interested in getting involved in public health and international development related to health; plus as a former resident of Guatemala, she already had love for the country. The trip with MTI seemed like a good fit.



    After her first week-long volunteer trip with MTI, Brittn was hooked. She was convinced by MTI’s mission and health goals. “I was very impressed,” she says, “by MTI’s structure; to incorporate and empower the local community for the good of the community’s heath.” Brittn was also impressed by the Guatemalan field staff. She says, “MTI’s focus on using local staff that know the languages and are intimately aware of the cultural context has a phenomenal impact on the sustainability of the program and its practical application.” Her interest in MTI’s work and goals materialized in a long-term volunteer position in Guatemala.


    Brittn’s reflections illustrate that volunteering with MTI has been a rewarding experience. "Volunteering," she says, “allowed me to develop relationships with community members who are the most closely impacted by MTI’s work. I got to be on the end where I saw the funding move into change, where I saw the funding providing opportunities for social and behavioral change that has the potential to transform health within impoverished communities.”



    Volunteering alongside Guatemalan field staff, Brittn also learned about the cultures and customs of the communities she worked with; she felt enriched by the staff’s knowledge and skills. Additionally, as a coordinator for teams of volunteers - providing in-country logistics, interpretation, and programing - Brittn enjoyed a “tremendous opportunity to be a bridge between different cultures and to be involved in the transformational development that is fostered within both the volunteer and the communities through MTI programs.”

    When asked about winning the Gold President’s Award, Brittn says she was totally surprised and really honored. Her humble thoughts on winning the award truly demonstrate MTI’s values: “There are so many volunteers working for MTI and so many local Guatemalan volunteers that are so crucial within the community where we work, my part is very small. But its part of a larger picture that I have been so honored to be a part of.”



    Congratulations to Brittn again on her award! We are so grateful for all of our volunteers who make our work possible.

    Join our team! Click here for more info on our Guatemala Program and Team Services Volunteer position and how to apply. No medical experience required. Fluent Spanish a must.

    Help change the lives of Guatemalan families - donate today.
  • Ugandan Chess Champion Visits MTI's REAL. LIFE. Exhibit

    by Katie Carroll | Apr 21, 2014

    On Friday, MTI's REAL. LIFE. Exhibit received a special visit from Phiona Mutesi, a national chess champion in Uganda. She stopped by with Robert Katende, her chess coach, and Don Brenneman, Oregon Ministry Director at Sports Outreach Institute.

    Phiona Mutesi, Don Brennaman, Robert Katende

    Mutesi grew up in the slum of Katwe in Uganda. Here father died of AIDS when she was about three years old. She and her siblings lived on the streets. When she was about nine, Mutesi followed her brothers about two miles to a food program run by Sports Outreach Institute.

    At the center, Mutesi was not interested in soccer, like her brothers. Instead, she fell in love with chess. She met Katende who is a missionary at Sports Outreach, and he became her coach.

    Among her accolades, Mutesi has participated in two Chess Olympiads, and become one of the first titled female chess players in Ugandan history. In 2012, author Tim Crothers wrote a book based on her life called The Queen of Katwe, One Girl’s Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion. Disney is currently making a movie about Mutesi.

    Through chess, Mutesi has been able to change her life.  She is visiting the U.S. now to share her story at churches and through interviews.  She is also helping to raise money for local children through Chess for Success.  

    It was a pleasure to have such a distinguished guest visit MTI so that we can share our mission.

  • Field Highlight: Elizabeth in Liberia

    by Katie Carroll | Apr 17, 2014

    Elizabeth is a Trained Traditional Midwife (TTM) from Saywanken village near Tubmanville Clinic in Sinoe County, Liberia.  She said before Medical Teams International came to provide education and support, delivering babies was very dangerous. “Since my Mama born me, the woman all give birth behind the bush. Now MTI here, we learned and are coming to the clinic.”

    Elizabeth received a training to look for danger signs in pregnancy. Last week she noticed a pregnant woman with bleeding. She referred her to the clinic in Tubmanville. The woman is now she is being watched by healthcare professionals and has a much higher chance of having a healthy baby and remaining a healthy mother. Elizabeth said, “I thank God for MTI to come here. I like it too much.”

    Thank you for your selfless support of our community health and safe motherhood programs.  You are providing this training, which helps save lives!

  • Local Giving Events on May 6th!

    by Katie Carroll | Apr 16, 2014

    Did you know that May 6th is a special day devoted to charities that are making a difference in our own neighborhoods?  Give Local Portland and Give Big (Seattle Foundation) are two one-day, online giving events on May 6th that benefit non-profits like MTI who are making a difference right in our backyards!  

    As you know, Medical Teams International provides desperately-needed emergency dental care to local low-income adults and children in the United States - particularly the Pacific Northwest.  We also provide preventative dental health programs for children here. 

    It would be incredible if you are able spread the word about these ONE-DAY events to your friends, family, and colleagues.  You will be helping us not only raise awareness of our local programs but also raise funds to care for those who most need it.



    We are extremely grateful for your support.  And the people in your neighborhood who you are helping want to thank you for your kindness and generosity!  Check out these notes from children who are benefiting from our OR & WA preventative health presentations, and see more of their notes here.

    "Thank you for teaching about flossing."

    "I learned that brushing my teeth and flossing are very important because it takes all the germs out of my teeth and helps me live longer and protects it a lot.  Thank you, Tim & Cathy"


    "Thank you, Tim and Cathy. I learned to floss every day.  I love you guys."
  • Field Photos: Maternal & Child Health in Haiti

    by Katie Carroll | Apr 15, 2014
    Check out these snapshots of your gifts in action!  These photos are different types of training MTI holds in Crochu, Haiti.  You make this training possible!  The information shared helps prevent illness and even death for mothers and children in Haiti.  Thank you!

    Women in Mothers Club role play Counselling a pregnant woman about prenatal consultation.

    Women in Mothers Club learn about the importance of prenatal consultation such as when & where to go, how often, and what services are offered.

    Health committee members in Crochu Haiti learn about danger signs to look for during pregnancy. The materials they are reviewing show symptoms that warrant immediate trips to the clinic.

    Traditional Birth Attendants practice hand washing to help prevent infection transmission during delivery. 

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