Ethiopia Outreach

Ethiopia Outreach consists of a group of first and second-year medical students and physicians from the University of Texas San Antonio that travels to rural Ethiopia for 3-4 weeks each summer to provide free medical service to underprivileged populations. Ethiopia Outreach has partnered with Common River, a non-governmental organization based in Aleta Wondo, Ethiopia. Common River’s goal is “to create balanced, productive, and self-sustaining communities for others to witness and replicate.” At the same time, our program works to train physicians who are not only competent but also compassionate, patient-driven, globally-minded and responsive to the health care needs of our society.

Each year, Ethiopia Outreach brings direct patient care to some of the world’s most impoverished families. We view our mission primarily as one of empowerment: empowering the clinics with the means to be successful via supplies and education, empowering the villagers of Aleta Wondo with the confidence to use these clinics as a resource and empowering other medical providers in the area with the opportunity to serve the people of Aleta Wondo. In order to do this each summer, members of the Ethiopia Outreach team:

  • Work with established government clinics to provide intake clinics for the villagers of Aleta Wondo
  • Provide medical supplies and medicine to these clinics
  • Screen approximately 1,000 Ethiopians, most of whom are children

In recent years, teams have integrated aspects of public health research and education into their time in Aleta Wondo in the hopes of stimulating a better informed and healthier populace. With the guidance of faculty and staff from the Center, surveys assessing baseline care and infectious disease prevention are now an established aspect of each year’s trip. Recent topics explored include access to maternal care and, in 2011, access to clean water and basic sanitation.

Our team maintains the highest degree of professional and fiscal responsibility; with this kind of outreach, we additionally ensure that our efforts provide real benefit to the communities we serve. For example:

  • Along with our current medical education, our team participates in extensive preparatory sessions with doctors at the Health Science Center that train us on the most common diseases in Ethiopia, cultural traditions and language.
  • Our food and lodging will parallel local norms – we will live in huts and eat local food. Our team is committed to minimizing costs and using most of the funds raised to directly benefit local families.
  • Our team has planned for and participated in various fundraising efforts to raise the funds needed. This includes planned social events for students and faculty, food sales and physical work for local families and businesses.

Please contact student leaders Autumn Chidester at or Kristen McLane at for more information.

Past & Current Faculty Mentors:

Dr. Richard Usatine-Past
Dr. Chrissy Zink-Past
Dr. Alex Foster-Past
Dr. Ruth Berggren
Dr. Tyler Curiel
Dr. Dina Tom
Mr. Jason Rosenfeld, MPH