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Volunteer with us!
Volunteers are the backbone of our organization. We rely on the support of volunteers in our work to empower local researchers to respond to infectious diseases in their communities. In the 10 years since our inception, hundreds of volunteers have helped us make significant progress in building scientific capacity in resource-poor areas of the world.
While we are fortunate to have the support of many dedicated volunteers, we are always looking to add the existing team. Our needs for volunteers include:
- Scientific Advisors
- Scientific Translators
- Scientific Equipment Donors
- Financial Supporters
- Office Volunteers
In addition, we always welcome organizational volunteers or those able to help with fundraising and publicity. Information on how to join is at the bottom of this page.
Scientific advisors should be experts primarily in tropical infectious diseases. Advisors most often serve as grant reviewers or mentors who provide technical advice to public health researchers in developing countries and assist us in finding other scientists who can do the same. Occasionally, we need advisors to serve as workshop instructors or instructors-in-training. We currently have a specific need for experts in dengue fever, leishmaniasis, Chagas, leptospirosis, malaria, HIV, diarrheal diseases and tuberculosis as they affect populations in Latin America, and experts in Hepatitis C in Egypt.
However, if you specialize in a disease outside of our realm of expertise and/or are aware of a region or institution in need of instruction where that disease is a priority, please bring the case to our attention. The greatest obstacle we face to implementing new workshops is limited funding, so please also make us aware of any funding leads for organizing and conducting workshops in your area of expertise.
Scientific translators typically translate grant proposals and other documents between Spanish, English and Portuguese. We also need translators between English and Arabic for our Hepatitis C in Egypt Program.
Scientific Equipment Donors
In the United States, millions of dollars of used but perfectly functional scientific equipment goes to waste each year in private and university laboratories. In contrast, we receive more requests than we can fill from laboratories in Latin America for:
- New plastic consumables (eppendorf, conicals, centrifuge tubes, tips)
- PCR equipment and reagents
- Real time PCR
- Electrophoresis equipment
- Power supplies
- pH meters
- Photodocumentation equipment
- Pipettors and other supplies needed in a molecular biology laboratory
We are currently in need of volunteers who can help us procure donations of equipment and supplies and ship them to laboratories with specific needs in Latin America.
Even more than volunteers, we rely on financial donations from people like you who recognize the impact supporting local researchers in resource-poor countries has on infectious disease problems. If your area of expertise lies outside of our scope of work and you would like to contribute, please consider making a tax-deductible donation online or by going to by sending a check to our office in San Francisco. We also appreciate any funding leads that you may be able to provide.
SSI needs San Francisco Bay Area volunteers willing to come to our office twice a year to help prepare fundraising and publicity mailings. The mailings typically happen in May and November. Please let us know about your interest and we will contact you about your availability when your help is needed.
Your commitment can be as involved as your time and interest allows, but here are some guidelines:
- Grant reviewers typically spend four to six hours per year reviewing grants and composing feedback.
- Workshop instructors and instructors-in-training typically provide their own transportation and accommodations and may spend one to two weeks in a developing country teaching on dengue, leishmaniasis, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV or Hepatitis C.
- Providing technical advice to researchers happens on an as-needed basis and may require anywhere from a few minutes to few hours.
- Translators should be able to commit several hours at a time a few times a year to the translation of grant proposals, manuscripts and other technical documents.
- Office volunteers should be prepared to come into the office for four to ten hours once or twice a year.
To join our wonderful team of volunteers, please download our Volunteer Survey (PDF), which will give us a better idea of your areas of expertise and how you'd like to help. Presently, we are in great need of translators from Spanish to English, grant reviewers, and donations of used laboratory equipment and supplies. Then send the survey to us by e-mail attachment, fax or mail. We will follow up with you as soon as we can to further explore how we will best be able to work together. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please let us know. We look forward to partnering with you in this important work!