Himalayan Health Exchange is a health care service program established by Himalayan Spirit Expeditions Inc., with the missions to provide medical and dental care to the underserved people living in remote regions of the Indian Himalayas and to uplift two orphanages located in the North Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Each trip provides a unique cultural experience and an adventure while working to help the needy.
We began organizing "health expeditions" in 1996. Founder Ravi Singh, a native of Himachal Pradesh now living in the U.S., organized two trips that year. With the help of U.S.-based health care professionals, his desire was to bring care to those in need within his home state. Himalayan Health Exchange now covers four regions of the Himalayas and one on the west coast of India. On each trip, approximately 1,200 patients receive care.
A team of health care professionals and other volunteers sets up "health camps" in local schools, monasteries or clinics. Working side by side with local health care providers, we administer general medical and dental care, and provide free medicines to patients. Depending on the make up of the team and the needs of the patients, certain specialties may be utilized. Each time a team is formed, we learn of each members' skills (i.e. their specialties) and discuss with local health officials their needs to determine how to contribute the best possible care to the local patient population. We always maintain a professional respect for the local health care delivery system as well as any religious or cultural customs associated with illness and health.
Our health camps are not all work, however. Ample time is included for exploring the surrounding region. A typical camp day comprises six hours of clinical work. Depending on the group's wishes, we may tour or hike for the remainder of the day. We return for a relaxing evening to enjoy a meal and conversation before retiring for the night.
Participation is open to physicians of all specialties along with residents, dentists, medical, dental and nursing students of all levels seeking an international health experience. Since its inception, Himalayan Health Exchange has provided a hands-on clinical experience to over 2,500 medical, dental and nursing students and residents from the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. A team roster typically consists of physicians, residents, dentist, RNs and several medical, dental and nursing students.
- To gain international health exposure
- To learn, develop and apply practical skills in non-traditional settings
- To develop sensitivity to different health care delivery systems by working alongside local health care providers
- To introduce participants to cultures and lifestyles in remote rural areas
- To develop awareness by analyzing social, economic and health need
The focus is service and education. All our expeditions provide primary and preventive health care to the local population and a supervised hands-on clinical experience and adventure to participants. All teams travel to remote Himalayan villages and settlements and set up walk-in style, mobile, outpatient clinics. Work is performed in local clinics, monasteries, village-community halls or tents. 5-6 stations are established, each with a team of an attending and 3-4 medical or nursing students and a translator. Specialties may be utilized depending on the local needs and residents and students' interests and areas of study. Overall supervision is provided by US board-certified physician/s and the team dentist. Trip curriculums are designed to enhance participants learning experience. Every evening on clinic days, a 45-minute to an hour long case study session is scheduled on every expedition. We always maintain a professional respect for the local health care delivery system as well as any religious or cultural customs associated with illness and health.
2017 Expedition Schedule
For more information on Himalayan Health Exchange's 2017 schedule, please click HERE
|January 21 - February 1
|February 1 - February 25
|| Outer Himalayas
|April 1 - April 28
|June 5 - June 25
|June 22 - July 12
|July 10 - July 31
|| Medical-Anthropology Expedition (Spiti and Dharamsala)
|August 1 - August 27
|October 1 - October 26
|| Tibetian Settlements
Due to the nature of these camps, we are able to accommodate only small teams of doctors, residents, dentists, nurses, and medical students. In addition to excellence in delivery of care, important qualities in participants are:
- Ability to work as a team member
- Flexibility and an open mind
- Willingness to live with what's provided in remote areas, at times improvised
- Resourcefulness and the ability to make the most of the situation at hand
- A sense of humor
If you wish to apply, please provide us with documentation of your work or student status along with a completed application, medical history form and deposit. Please read the terms and conditions mentioned in the application. Students don't need previous clinical experience. Students looking for support for expenses should consider approaching their dean's office, college and medical alumni associations, community and business organizations (Lions and Rotary Clubs), religious groups and similar resources.
Jefferson Student Reports/Journals - Himalayan Health Exchange