Touching Hands is in need of hand surgeons, anesthesiologists, operating and recovery room nurses, and hand therapists. Each member of our medical team is essential to completing a mission!

GO! Go on a mission. Experience it for yourself. Your eyes will be opened, your heart will be opened, and you will remember why you became a surgeon!

Steven M. Koehler, MD

Medical Teams

Each mission team ranges from 4 to 10 individuals. We keep the teams small so as not to overwhelm our hosts and the local medical facilities.  Touching Hands is currently not accepting volunteers outside of hand surgeons, hand therapists, nurses and anesthesiologists. There are limited opportunities available for residents and fellows. Each team is assembled by the team leader and includes a range of experience.


Mission Details

Our medical mission trips are usually one week long, sometimes two weeks. At this time, we do not offer long-term volunteer placements. Where you can volunteer depends on our trip schedule for that year. You will indicate your preferred mission(s) in your application.

In most cases Touching Hands will cover all transportation and accommodation costs, although team members are responsible for some of their own meals during the trip.  Additional voluntary contributions to help defray trip expenses are certainly welcomed.


Volunteer FAQs

Are you participating in an upcoming international mission? Download our Volunteer Guide for information on travel requirements, a packing checklist, transporting supplies, food and lodging, financials and safety.

How soon can I expect to go on an international mission after I’ve applied?
Touching Hands is fortunate to have a long list of hand surgeon and hand therapist volunteers. If you are a hand surgeon or hand therapist, we will try our best to assign you to a mission during the year that you applied or the following year.

Touching Hands is short on nurse and anesthesiologist applications. Once you apply, depending on your availability, there’s a good chance that you will participate in an upcoming mission.

How can I participate as a resident or fellow?
Touching Hands is currently not accepting applications for residents or fellows due to limited funding. Some residents and fellows are able to participate with his/her attending if the attending can secure non-Touching Hands funding for the trainee. If you’re interested in this route, contact our Outreach Coordinator, Anne, at apappas@assh.org

What does it mean for a Touching Hands mission to be “in partnership with” another organization?
As a young organization, Touching Hands sometimes partners with other outreach organizations to utilize their local / in-country relationships and expertise that we do not yet have. This means that all of our partnerships look very different – some of our partners need 2-3 hand specialists as part of a larger orthopaedics team, some are hoping we will support an entire team of 8-10, and some need logistical / financial / supply support (but no personnel). Please look carefully at the mission details and email apappas@assh.org if you have any questions about our partnerships.

What does a typical day look like during a mission?
While on a mission, your schedule will be full. Your first day will likely be a clinical day, and the rest of your trip will include full OR days. You will have some time in the evenings to bond with your team and explore the city if it is safe.

Will I have all the supplies I need during the mission?
Touching Hands will ship a variety of supplies to your mission site prior to the mission. In addition, the hospital where the mission is taking place will have other supplies and tools. However, you will most likely not have all the supplies/tools that you are used to having at home, so you should be ready and willing to adapt and provide care under unique circumstances.

How can I follow up with my patients?
During the mission, your team leader will make every effort to document your patient’s care and prepare the local hospital staff for the patient’s follow-up. In addition, the next Touching Hands team will see your patient for a follow-up visit if possible.


Additional Questions

Please contact Anne Pappas at apappas@assh.org with questions about volunteering for Touching Hands.