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Welcome to our newest member – Medics Abroad

Mar 15, 2019

Interview with Dr. Adanna Steinacker – Founder & CEO, Medics Abroad

Tell us your story. How did Medics Abroad get started?
During my time as a medical student, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and experience Medicine in a different part of the world. I packed my bags and travelled to a village in Kenya. On arrival, I didn’t know anyone. Within weeks I was able to take part in life-changing medical and surgical procedures, most of the time in extremely uncomfortable settings in the operating room.

Navigating my way through the different clinical and cultural settings was a huge learning curve for me. I appreciated the opportunity, I was grateful for my growth and I returned with more hands-on experience than I had gotten all through my years in medical school. I learnt that getting out of your comfort zone is exactly how you build your expertise and confidence as a doctor.

Although I had a career-altering experience in Kenya, planning the logistics of my entire trip was a pain. Combining the added value of getting out of your comfort zone as a medic with the logistics of planning the entire experience influenced my entrepreneurship journey with Medics Abroad.

What makes Medics Abroad different from your competitors?
There are several aspects that make Medics Abroad unique.

First, the management team at Medics Abroad are all doctors who went through the experience of medical school and clinical placements abroad, and who are very knowledgeable about the medical curriculum. That also means that, secondly, we understand the pain points as well as the objectives every medic should achieve on a placement abroad. We take this into consideration when we meet with potential hospital partners in different countries across Africa, and we have one-on-one discussions with fellow Doctors about the learning objectives of our students.

Our all-inclusive package is tailored to take away the stress and hassle of organising a clinical elective and gives students the opportunity to get excited about the actual experience. It provides a unique combination of an unforgettable professional experience with community immersion and adventure.

What is your favourite success story from your organisation?
Our favourite success story is securing our first university collaboration with the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) in Bahrain.

We had decided to launch a pilot programme where we take students to our first elective destination in Africa, Kenya. Our marketing strategy was going to be social media. Within days of putting up the campaign on our platform, we were contacted by RCSI Bahrain who were interested in partnering with us. The trip to Kenya was a huge success.

The process made us realise that working with universities as a channel is much more influential at reaching students than trying to do it on social media. This helped us develop another aspect of our B2C model.

What can we expect to see from Medics Abroad in the future?
In a nutshell, Medics Abroad will become the booking.com of clinical elective placements.

We will launch a one-stop platform for all medics, automate our booking and payment processes and create a seamless user experience on app and mobile web. Using AI, medics will be able to customise their placement packages.

Our vision is to become the leading and most trusted organisation globally to provide medical electives in Africa.

Which trends do you see in educational and active youth travel?
The main trend I see is the rising influence social media has on the average youth traveller, and one platform that takes the crown for that is Instagram – both picture and video content, but especially video content.

When it comes to the educational aspect of travel whether it is a short term clinical elective placement, au-pairing or student exchange, your average participant wants to see where they’re going, they want to hear from people who have gone there, they want to read testimonials. Mostly people are looking for authenticity, trying to ensure they know exactly what to expect. Organisations need to be aware of the power of digital content creation in relation to the products/services they offer.

A lot more youth are interested in social change, so it’s important for them to not only immerse themselves into the local culture but also to take part in projects that make them feel they are creating positive change, this will inevitably contribute to their experiences but also give them lots of stories to tell when the leave.

How do you work to ensure the health and safety of young travellers involved with Medics Abroad?
The health and safety of all our participants is of utmost importance to us, so we have set mandatory procedures at all stages of the experience.

In the pre-travel stage we issue a health screen and vaccination form as one of the components of pre-travel protocols. Our students/participants have to demonstrate fitness to travel, and they must declare any pre-existing long term or recent illnesses which could hinder their ability to participate in hospital activities and interact with patients. The mandatory vaccination form contains a list of essential shots that must be gotten, according to the requirements of the Health Board, Travel Health & Immigration regulations of their destination country. Each test must be validated, signed and dated by a practising, licensed physician in their country.

Prior to each elective, each student has a one-on-one video call session with a member of the Medics Abroad Team who verbally communicates detailed information about the country, it’s terrain, climate & weather information, what to pack, safety information, emergency contact and rules & regulations. This information is also detailed in an e-document.

As a company, We also ensure that our students stay in a facility that has 24 hour security. Our on-the-ground staff carries out a daily roll calls and headcounts to account for each participant.

What was your motivation to join WYSE Travel Confederation?
WYSE Travel Confederation is one of the few organisations that align perfectly with the objectives of Medics Abroad.

All the benefits available as a WYSE Travel Confederation member is unparalleled and it creates a hub for networking and growth which we are really looking forward to.

Have you attended a WYSE Travel Confederation event? (WYSTC, STAY WYSE, WYSE Exchange Australia, WETM-IAC) If so, what was your experience with the event?
No, I haven’t actually. However, my first WYSE Travel Confederation event, the WETM-IAC is coming up really soon and I’m honoured that I will be giving the keynote at that event.

What is an industry challenge your organisation is facing currently?
One challenge is scalability. Creating the niche of clinical elective placements in Africa is good for us, but over time and with expansion to several African countries, it poses the challenge of whether or not to build a new team on the continent or to partner with an existing local organisation to manage logistics and how to go about it.

Another challenge is scalability for our marketing campaigns. Finding the right marketing channels to reach our target audience in a fast changing online world (which is where most of our target audience spends most of their time) can be challenging.

Member snapshot

Medics Abroad is an international organisation that is dedicated to providing students and qualified healthcare professionals with an all-inclusive opportunity to explore and broaden their horizons through travelling and gaining valuable clinical experience, while participating in extracurricular activities and immersing themselves in the local culture as a means to facilitate intercultural education. We strive to emphasise the importance of a healthy work-life balance in moulding effective healthcare professionals.

Our mission is to support healthcare professionals on their journey towards acquiring the knowledge and experience that is necessary to foster an increasingly diverse clinical working environment, with patients at the forefront of improving the future of healthcare delivery globally.

Membership: WYSE Travel Confederation Associate Member

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