International Medical Corps
Founded in 1984 by Dr. Robert Simon, International Medical Corps is a global, non-secular, not for profit, humanitarian organization based out of Santa Monica, California. A signatory of the Code of Conduct of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, IMC operates according to the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and operational independence. In accordance with the principle of humanity, IMC has pledged to address human suffering wherever it may be found, to protect the life, health and respect of humans beings; neutrality means that the organization does not take side or take part in political, racial, religious or ideological conflict. The concept of impartiality guides the International Medical Corps to distribute aid on the basis of need alone, prioritizing the most urgent cases with a disregard for nationality, race, gender, religious belief, class or political viewpoint. Their operational independence allows the IMC to work completely independently from the political, economic, military or any other object that donors may have, making the IMC a dunantist organization. The mission of the International Medical Corp “is to improve the quality of life through health interventions and related activities that build local capacity in underserved communities worldwide.” IMC operates with the intention of rehabilitating “devastated health care systems [to help] bring them back to self-reliance.”
In 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and during the occupation all but 200 of the countries 1,500 doctors were executed, imprisoned or exiled. All relief and humanitarian organizations were sent out of Afghanistan. This meant that those who were ill or injured had nowhere to turn for even their most basic medical needs. After reading about the situation of the Afghan people, Dr. Robert Simon, a physician at the UCLA Medical Center began making trips to Afghanistan in an effort to help those in need but soon realized that the need of the Afghan people was much more than one man could deal with alone. As a result he began calling aid organizations in an attempt to persuade them to assist in Afghanistan3. However these organizations claimed that their mandates would not allow them to pursue operations within the country. In September of 1984 Simon founded the International Medical Corps along with volunteer doctors and nurses with the purpose of taking a unique approach to humanitarianism action. In 1986 Nancy Aoseey can on board as president and CEO and has been in that position ever since.3
Dr. Simon felt that the problem in Afghanistan was, at its core, coming from the way Afghanistan had constructed its medical system. International Medical Corps set up a full time training center for Afghanistan in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province. Trainees were recruited from the most remote and underserved regions of Afghanistan and put through a nine month training program after which...