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    Short-term medical missions (STMMs) have the potential to increase local health care capacity in low resource settings. Few studies have examined capacity building within STMMs from the perspective of both donor and host providers. A qualitative study using a transcendental method for research with human subjects examined the experiences of 21 North American 'donor' and Dominican 'host' health care providers who participated in STMMs in the Dominican Republic. Perry and Ojemeni's levels of capacity building for human good provided the theoretical framework, proposing a three-level approach: (1) augmenting local health care delivery capacity (2) assisting local communities to develop their own capacities and (3) transforming barriers to capacity. Findings are grouped into five themes and their subthemes: (1) making a difference (2) education and knowledge transfer, (3) acknowledging barriers, (4) host empowerment and (5) personal and interpersonal development. An overarching paradigm of 'Mete Tèt Nou Ansanm', or 'putting our heads together', emerged from the data, reflecting a dynamic process in which donor and host participants evolved their collaborative partnerships. STMMs have the potential for addressing global health capacity at all three levels. Mission compatibility with the local health system, host empowerment and repeated interactions over time are noteworthy determinants for STMMs sustainability.

    Citation

    Tara V Casimir. Mete Tèt Nou Ansanm (Putting our heads together): Global health capacity building within short-term medical missions. Global public health. 2022 Jul;17(7):1252-1266

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    PMID: 34044746

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