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Montgomery, Laura M.  "Short-Term Medical Missions: Enhancing or Eroding Health?"  Missiology.  v. 21 no. 3. (July '93) pp. 333-341.


Case study of two medical mission trips (one to Central America, one to Mexico) concludes short-term medical missions cause negligible improvement and may even damage public health. 

Major critiques: teams uninformed about local culture, underlying causes of poverty and poor health; short-term volunteers not suitable promoters of preventative measures; short-term missions band-aids instead of real solutions, make patients dependant on outsiders; insufficient or nonexistent follow-up to short-term trips. 

"These potential or real disadvantages and short-comings of short-term medical missions have little if anything to do with local health conditions or delivery systems, but everything to do with worldview and cultural assumptions about health, poverty, and assistance that inform their design and implementation." --p. 338

"Some advocates for short-term missions often justify them in terms of the inspiration or the awareness they provide for participants.  Indeed, a few do commit to lifelong service as a result of their participation.  Christians should carefully examine this type of means-ends reasoning.  Is a model for servanthood which essentially is oriented to the needs of the server rather than to the served the biblical model of servanthood?  Is a mode of service which is informed by ethnocentricity an appropriate one with which to socialize potential missionaries?" --p. 339