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Global Health Training and Hands-On Service

Global Health Training

While abroad, Unite For Sight's Global Impact Fellows are immersed in effective global health programs. Their extensive pre-departure training accelerates their impact, engagement, and competency when they are abroad. They learn first-hand about best practices in public health, international development, cultural competency, and cross-cultural communication. The Unite For Sight experience develops a Fellow's passion and perspective while enhancing their potential in career fields across all sectors, including medicine, public health, social entrepreneurship, social sciences, and international development.

  • 99% of alumni rate their Global Impact Corps experience as "excellent" or "good" on a scale of "excellent," "good," "satisfactory," and "poor". More than 85% rate their experience as "excellent".
  • 99% of alumni say they felt well prepared and well trained before their Unite For Sight experience.
  • 99% of alumni say that participating with Unite For Sight contributed to their interest in global health and international development.
  • 97% of alumni report that participating in the program enhanced their interest in social entrepreneurship and contributing to widespread social change.

Summary of Educational Objectives of the Global Impact Corps Program

What Course Work Will I Complete?

Fellows are trained in global health and global problem solving by Unite For Sight's pioneering training program, which includes Unite For Sight's Global Health Online Course, Cultural Competency Online Course, Volunteer Ethics and Professionalism Online Course, Social Entrepreneurship Overview, Community Eye Health Online Course, articles about The Importance of Sustainable Development in Eye Care, Effective Health Education, Rumors and Word of Mouth, Overview of Spending at the Base of the Pyramid, and Photography and Ethics, as well as a TED Video about cultural understandings and misperceptions. Global Impact Fellows also complete a Program-Specific Training Course in which they watch short online videos and read articles about the program site where they will be volunteering.

Why is Global Impact Training important?

Comprehensive training is essential for volunteers. Volunteers who are not both practically and psychologically competent to work abroad can be a burden to a global health organization and its local partners. On the other hand, well-prepared volunteers can make an immediate, vitally important, high-impact difference.

Upon arriving abroad, Global Impact Fellows have an immersive global health experience in which they assist with village outreach programs that are led and managed by local healthcare professionals. While assisting and supporting the local ophthalmologists, optometrists, and ophthalmic nurses, Global Impact Fellows see first-hand the global health concepts they studied in Global Impact Training. Some of these important topics include:

  • What are the complexities and realities of global health that must be understood by anyone participating in a healthcare delivery program in a resource-poor setting?
  • What barriers to care affect the patients you meet, and how can patient education help eliminate those barriers?
  • Why will you encounter patients who will refuse free cataract surgery? What are their barriers to care?
  • Why must healthcare be delivered by local healthcare professionals?
  • Why are visiting non-eye care professionals prohibited from attempting to diagnose patients?
  • Why are follow-up care and continuity of care important?
  • What protocol should be used when working with a translator?
  • Why does Unite For Sight receive and analyze all preoperative and postoperative visual acuity data for surgical patient metrics?
  • What is your role as a volunteer, and how does Unite For Sight work?
  • What are guidelines for observing and assisting doctors in the field and at the clinic?
  • What are the traits of a successful international volunteer?
  • What is the difference between social entrepreneurship and charity, and why does Unite For Sight support local entrepreneurial talent in developing countries?

Through this online training, you will gain an understanding about strategies in global health and the complexities and realities of healthcare delivery. After completing the online course work and participating in the immersive global health experience abroad, you will receive a Certificate in Global Health & Program Delivery. We encourage you to thereafter apply your global health delivery knowledge and skills to become a leader in global health, and we hope that you will also remain closely involved with Unite For Sight through our opportunities for alumni.

Alumni Reflections

"I felt that the entire program, from pre-application information all the way through to the arrival back in the U.S., was extremely well organized. Prior to departure I felt well prepared for what I would encounter, thanks to the modules and preparatory reading. I have heard stories from classmates about other volunteer programs they participated in, and their experience was completely different. I feel like I could explain what I did and what the organization stands for, whereas they had a lot of missing links of information. I appreciated that everything was clearly spelled out, from deadlines to information about how the organization got started, to how to keep it running. I feel very well educated and well versed in global health care delivery, with a desire to learn even more!"

Alumni Reflections

"What I liked best about the Unite for Sight Program is the level of preparedness the Global Impact Training gives to a volunteer prior to departure. Upon completion of the various modules, I felt ready to handle whatever situation I would face in a mature and responsible manner. I felt that the modules were extremely enlightening and delved into issues I had never previously considered. Furthermore, I love Unite for Sight's grassroots philosophy which I was able to see firsthand during my time in Patna. It's great to see that there are sustainable programs allowing for global health to reach high quality levels. I would advise future Global Impact Fellows to read the preparation modules thoroughly. It is surprising how well the Global Impact Training prepares you to handle the complexities of international health and maximize your experience."

Alumni Reflections

"I felt the global impact training was incredibly complete and was surprised by how much of the information stuck with me during the trip-- there were many an afternoon when something would take place and myself and the other volunteers would unanimously exclaim 'module 2.'"

Alumni Reflections

"I think future Global Impact Fellows should seriously study the training modules so that they have a firm understanding of the international details before they leave. There is a wealth of information in those modules, and if taken seriously they provide the volunteer with all of the intellectual knowledge necessary to prepare. That knowledge is the foundation for the experience a volunteer will have on site."

Alumni Reflections

"My overall experience was excellent because not only did I gain a cultural experience and meet wonderful people and make friendships, but I also have also gained an academic and hands on experience into the field my interest. The modules, preparations, training, fundraising and eyeglass collection have brought me so much close to my family, friends, and community...I am certain that I will contribute some of my time and skill to community development in developing countries in the future...I learned so much about the role of NGOs through reading the modules and the importance of having an effective and organized organization in order to have a positive impact rather than a negative one."

Alumni Reflections

"The level of training provided for the volunteers is extensive and thorough, instilling the confidence necessary to travel to a foreign country to provide assistance. I was most impressed by the intense effort to establish and operate an NGO that was sustainable and completely focused on best practices. Prior to the UFS training, I was not fully aware of the amount of damage that poorly run programs could cause, even when aiming to accomplish noble goals. The Global Impact Training articles and discussion, such as Dufflebag Medicine, allowed me to reflect upon the positive and negative practices in volunteering and their impacts on the community and the future effectiveness of other programs. Admittedly, these points were constantly in the back of my mind as I executed my duties in Ghana."