Daring to love like Jesus, we boldly break barriers to health and restore wholeness in a hurting world.
November 1979 — Seeing the cruelty of the Cambodian Killing Fields on the evening news, Salem businessman Ron Post looked at his own daughter and thought, “What if we lived in Cambodia? Would anyone care about us?” Within two weeks, he mobilized the first volunteer medical team to Thailand to care for displaced and dying Cambodian refugees. Northwest Medical Teams had begun.
“We raised $250,000. 27 medical people in the air in two weeks. It was a miracle.” – Ron Post, Founder
April 1985 — Volunteers deployed to Ethiopia combated one of the worst famines in modern history, bringing with them over $1,000,000 in lifesaving equipment and supplies.
“After Ethiopia, there was no question about whether Northwest Medical Teams would be a permanent mission.” – Ron Post, “Created for Purpose”
September 1985 — When a massive earthquake struck Mexico City, many of the same volunteers who went to Ethiopia brought health and healing to the sick and injured who were digging themselves out of the rubble.
1986 — The first community center is established in a dump outside Mexico City, beginning decades of work alleviating poverty and providing critical medical care in Central America.
1989 — Bringing services to those who needed them most in our region, the Mobile Dental Program was launched. Staffed by volunteers, these clinics on wheels could reach remote areas and serve families without access to dental care.
1991-1992 — While the Kurdish people in northern Iraq were under immense threat by Saddam Hussein’s army, we sent over $30 million dollars in medical supplies and saw 400 patients per day in a severe climate.
1993 — The Yugoslav Wars forced two million people to abandon their homes and life as they knew it. Our volunteers were the one constant as they provided care and comfort to suffering Croatian and Bosnian refugees.
1994 — After the unimaginable slaughter of 800,000 of their country’s men, women and children, we cared for Rwandans traumatized by the Rwandan Civil War.
1997 — In the mid-1990s, we developed programs in Moldova and Romania, caring for children left forgotten in orphanages. We stocked medical supplies, provided corrective surgeries, trained nurses on infant stimulation, and refurbished dilapidated buildings.
“The children often clung to volunteers in groups of five or six. They craved a loving, caring set of hands to hold them.” – Reporter Julie Sullivan, “Return to Romania”
1999 — Acting on faith, we continued to go where we were needed most. Our teams were on the front-line for Kosovar refugees in Albania as families relocated to makeshift refugee camps.
2000 — After it rained for five weeks straight in Mozambique, we quickly responded to displaced Africans who lost their homes in the worst flooding in 50 years.
2001 — As the nation mourned, our volunteers were on the ground in New York City, offering counseling and comfort to shocked survivors and responders of 9/11.
2003 — Believing every person matters, to God and to us, we sent teams to provide medical care to Afghans displaced by war.
2005 — Devastation left by Hurricane Katrina as it slammed into America’s gulf coast created a public health emergency. We responded quickly to deliver critical supplies and hope to survivors of an unforgettable disaster.
February 2007 — Northwest Medical Teams becomes Medical Teams International.
“There are many people who have lost everything, and we want to help them restore their lives.” – Buck Deines, volunteer relief worker
2007 — With grave concerns that cholera, hepatitis, and dengue could result from flooding in Tabasco, we sent a team to southeastern Mexico to serve a country 70 percent underwater.
2008 — In partnership with Providence St. Joseph Health, we began a legacy of work that empowers indigenous families in Guatemala to improve community health through clean water projects, sanitation, nutrition, and mother and child health programs.
2010 — Our staff and volunteers focused on minimizing the risk of disease threatening survivors of the deadly earthquake in Haiti. We sent supplies used by over 150,000 people, and teams of volunteer orthopedic surgeons lovingly cared for people who had lost limbs.
2013 — Civil unrest transformed Syria into a war zone in 2011. We began caring for Syrian refugees displaced by violence in 2013 by strengthening community health care systems in Lebanon and Turkey.
“Medical Teams gave me a new opportunity…My work is important, and it shows others that they are important.” – Shaza, Syrian refugee, Lebanon Community Health Advisor.
2014 — Having established a presence in Liberia in 2003 following the end of the country’s civil war, our staff confronted the devastating outbreak of Ebola in western Africa. Our community health outreach response was recognized globally as essential in preventing the spread of the virus.
2015 — 26 years after operations began, our Mobile Dental Program provided $6.5 million dollars worth of care annually, easing tooth and mouth pain for nearly 20,000 patients per year.
2017 — We mobilized a dozen of our disaster teams to bring health and healing to the influx of Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh – most of them frightened children, fleeing ethnic and military violence in Myanmar.
2019 — Taking a leading role in meeting the needs of South Sudanese people running from violence in 2016, we became a key partner to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and now maintain over 60 health facilities in Uganda. This work expanded to Tanzania as vulnerable populations grew.
“I am always thinking, ‘What more can we do? How can we deliver better health care in better conditions?’” – Racheal Kyalikoba, Uganda Program Manager
Learn more about our 40 year history in this new video:
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