Our ethical standards are the bedrock of the Atlantis Fellowship.
The idea of shadowing doctors abroad is often treated with suspicion. The Atlantis Project is committed to ensuring that all participants in its Fellowship are held to the highest ethical standards while shadowing abroad. Atlantis Fellows are not to do anything which they would not be allowed to do in the United States. Their internship is observational. The Atlantis Project adheres to the Association of American Medical Colleges guidelines for pre-health students participating in a clinical experience abroad (see the AAMC guidelines here).
"Developing" vs. "Developed" Healthcare
As opposed to other medical abroad experiences which bring students exclusively to “developing” nations, the Atlantis Project generally operates in hospitals in developed nations. In locations like Spain and Portugal, the ethical standards and regulations in healthcare are similar, though not identical, to those of the United States.
Positive Impact in Host Community
In addition to being concerned with the ethics of Fellows’ activities in the hospitals, the Atlantis Project is committed to creating positive benefit for its host sites. From its foundation, the dual goal of providing valuable internship experiences and creating positive impact for the locations has been at the heart of the Atlantis Project. The Founder and Director of the Atlantis Project, João Toste, is a native of the Azores Islands and originally envisioned the Fellowship as a way of benefiting both his fellow students and his homeland.
To this end, the Atlantis Project offers English instruction in most sites to hospital staff and locals, which is itself a significant benefit considering the number of hours of instruction and the number of English-language students served. However, the even more significant benefit is the connections built between the United States and the Fellowship locations, both by raising American awareness of these destinations (which then benefit from increased tourism and economic development through US investment) and by opening doors of exchange between these hospitals and American universities and medical schools. Our Fellowships only run in the hospitals through agreements with both the hospitals and the governments of the regions, who agree that the respective locations benefit from the presence of the Atlantis Project.