Common River offers medical students & professionals an African rural, grassroots experience to face developing world health issues, as well as, contribute to alleviating the health needs of resource-poor communities.  We have a platform to accommodate medical volunteers.

We have an established relationship with the University of Texas School of Medicine/San Antonio since 2008. The Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics, directed by Dr. Ruth Berggren, has sent 8 first year medical students accompanied by a medical professor to our program in rural Ethiopia for the past 5 years. Prior to their 3-4 week summer practicum in the field, students organize fund-raisers to help pay for their costs. They also collect donated medicines in the US, and hand-carry them in their luggage to Ethiopia.

Once in Ethiopia, the students have an opportunity to visit various hospitals in the capital city of Addis Ababa, such as Black Lion, Alert, and Hamlin Fistula Hospital, as well as in the Regional capital city of Awassa. They meet legendary Dr. Rick Hodes, who has worked in Ethiopia for 26 years providing care to the spinal cases. Exposure to urban health needs and witnessing the highest level of care in the country is beneficial before heading to the rural areas.

Community Preventive Care:

  • Conduct a community health survey: women’s reproductive health, malaria, HIV, water and sanitation, etc. house-to-house visits greatly informs their clinical work.
  • See details in PUBLIC HEALTH

Clinical Care:

  • Set up a mobile clinic at Common River’s school: screen students, female literacy students, faculty and staff and their families.
  • Provide free clinics at the local government center, open to the public. The medical doctor assesses every case and determines the correct diagnosis and prescription.

Hospital Visits:

  • Visit hospitals in Addis Ababa and Awassa: shadowing physicians

Please visit the UT School of Medicine website:

Please visit Ethiopia Outreach:

Here are blogs created by students:

Here are the student evaluations:  UT Student Evaluations of 2011

You can contact Dr. Ruth Berggren directly to learn about the Ethiopia Outreach program at Univ. of Texas Medical School’s Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at:

Read Abraham’s story at The Story of Abraham

For more information about how to be a medical volunteer for Common River, contact us today.