News & Publications

HJPCV News

May 2, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) and Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) introduced the bipartisan Sam Farr Peace Corps Enhancement Act (H.R. 2259) to improve the health, safety and well-being of current and returned Peace Corps volunteers.

Please write your Congressperson to support this bill. It only take a second to go HERE and send a pre-written email directly to your Representative. 

 

Winter 2017

 

 

 

Sheppard Pratt Health System, Emerging from a Traumatic Past

This is a story about a remarkable RPCV, Nancy Flanigan, who served in the 1960s. She was repeatedly raped, became pregnant and the infant died. She received no help for decades. She is finally coming forward with her story and healing. But thus far no help is forthcoming from either the PC or the US Department of Labor.

 

 

 

March 2016

Peace Corps Advocacy Day

Sue and Dave Castle meet with Senator Boxer (D) CA to discuss healthcare reform

September 2016


Sue Castle does a storyslam about the death of her son, Nick. 

 

May 2016

The Peace Corps Reform Series on Podcasts (Poshcorps)

Four stories about Peace Corps Volunteers and staff members who work to improve the U.S. Peace Corps.

RPCV Alan Toth interviews RPCVs and posts a series of 4 podcasts discussing issues involving reform. Listen to all of the podcasts HERE

Episode 1 download Dysfuntion: This story investigates the complex, frustrating, dysfunctional health care system available to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

Episode 2 download Advocate: This story investigates Peace Corps' mismanaged implementation of the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act.

Episode 3 download Mefloquine: This story investigates Peace Corps' use of the anti-malarial drug Mefloquine.

Episode 4 download Institution: This story investigates a fundamental flaw in Peace Corps policy which prevents the agency from embracing reform.

Extra: Full interview with RPCV Chuck Ludlum. Chuck Ludlam and Paula Hirschoff served as Peace Corps volunteers in the Sixties, and they served again as volunteers in Senegal from 2005 to 2007. They found that Peace Corps had not matured as much as it should have over the years. They are among the very few volunteers who have successfully advocated for Peace Corps reform.

 

March 23, 2016

Senator Poe presents the medical negligence of the case of Nick Castle on the floor of congress. 

 

March 15, 2015

Letter from Dr. Remington Nevin to PC Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet requesting reform on the use of the malarial prophylaxis, mefloquine/Lariam. His letter was never answered by the PC. 

 

December 24, 2015

Washington Post

Medical Care for Peace Corps Volunteers Delayed

 

December 14, 2015

CBS This Morning Reports on Returned Peace Corps Volunteers' Health

 

September 10, 2014

Carrie Hessler-Radelet (Director Peace Corps), Nancy Tongue (Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers) and Chris Lu, (Deputy Secretary of Labor) met together with the US Department of Labor in DC. Health Justice presented a proposal for reform to Labor. 

Above: Gary S. Steinberg, Director Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Deputy Secretary of Labor Christopher Lu, Nancy E. Tongue, Carrie Hessler-Radelet. 

 

December 16, 2014

Above: Nancy Tongue and Patrick McClannahan (RPCVs) met with Congressional staffers on Capitol Hill (left) and with the NPCA staff (right). 

Above: Maryann Minutillo, Nancy Tongue, Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Patrick McClannahan in the Peace Corps Office.

Peace Corps News

October 2, 2013

Peace Corps Statement to Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers

Following up on Carrie’s behalf, I’m happy to update you on how things are progressing. Carrie is diligently preparing for her confirmation hearing, and we are hopeful it will be scheduled soon. As you probably remember from the fact sheet we shared a few months back, we have taken several steps in the last few years to improve health services and support for both current and returned volunteers, and we continue to build on these steps. Below are some of the ways we are doing that.   
   

  • Peace Corps has hired new staff:

    • Billing specialist to focus on Post Service/FECA billing issues (Mr. Sanjay Duggal)

    • Nurse advocate and FECA case manager (Beth Brooks, RN)

  • Nurse advocate and billing specialist will receive specialized training at  the Department of Labor tohelp in troubleshooting RPCVs’ FECA billing issues  

  • Peace Corps is working to implement the recommendations of Susan Southwell, nurse consultant, on how Peace Corps can improve the Post Service Unit.

  • Peace Corps leadership has met with leadership from the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers' Compensation Programs earlier this year, with plans for further engagement at the leadership level to strengthen cooperation. 

  • The Department of Labor has expanded the conditions that can be directly paid by Peace Corps without a FECA claim and increased the amount that can be paid for these conditions.

  • Peace Corps’ Post Service Unit is collaborating with State Department staff to share ideas on how we can best address re-adjustment issues for returning Peace Corps volunteers, as both Peace Corps and the State Department work in similar international environments.

  • PeaceCorps launched the Department of Labor’s ECOMP program so RPCVs can file claims and forms electronically and track their status, resulting in a more rapid and transparent process.

  • Peace Corps’ Post Service Unit will soon be updating its guidance to RPCVs to include ECOMP instructions.

  • Peace Corps is investing in improvements to phone systems in the Post Service Unit and Office of Health Services so callers can more easily and more quickly reach staff. 

We greatly appreciate your commitment to ensuring current and returned Peace Corps volunteers receive the highest standard of care, and I assure you that we share that commitment. The health, safety and security of our volunteers are our highest priorities.

Please encourage all returned volunteers with concerns to contact the PeaceCorps Post Service Unit at psu@peacecorps.gov.

We can best serve those looking for assistance by hearing from them directly and addressing their case individually, one-on-one.

Once Carrie’s confirmation process wraps up, we look forward to talking further about our efforts and our progress. Thank you for your continued support!

Shira Kramer, 
Peace Corps Press
Secretary

 

August 9, 2013

By Barry G. Simon, M.D., Peace Corps Medical Director, Office of Medical Services

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated its warning label on the anti-malarial drug mefloquine hydrochloride, and there has been a surge in news coverage lately about the side effects of medications used to prevent malaria.

The Peace Corps takes these warnings very seriously and has taken proactive steps to ensure that Volunteers have all of the information they need to make an informed decision about the anti-malaria medication that is right for them, in collaboration with their Peace Corps Medical Officer.

Before beginning any kind of anti-malaria regimen, every Volunteer has an individual, one-on-one consultation with their Medical Officer to discuss the pros and cons of each medication and all possible risks and side effects. Volunteers can revisit their choice of medication at any time during their service, and while mefloquine continues to be an FDA-approved medication for malaria prevention, Volunteers who wish to request a change in medication can do so simply by talking with their Peace Corps Medical Officer. This policy is in place at every Peace Corps post worldwide, and the Peace Corps is working hard to make sure each and every Volunteer is familiar with the options available to them.

The Peace Corps uses a multi-pronged approach to combat malaria among Volunteers, which includes training on prevention, provision of insecticide-treated bed nets, screening for windows in all Volunteers’ homes, and a choice of one of four types of medication, each of which has proven extremely effective in suppressing malaria. With the proper use of bed nets, protective clothing, insect repellents and anti-malarial medication, the chances of developing active malaria are significantly reduced.

The Peace Corps’ Office of Health Services continually updates its policy on malaria suppressive medications based on the best medical information available and is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor any further developments. Currently serving Volunteers who have questions about their health care can contact the Peace Corps’ Quality Improvement Unit at qualitynurse@peacecorps.gov. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers with concerns about their health care can contact the Peace Corps’ Post Service Unit at psu@peacecorps.gov

HJPCV RPCV Health Survey

We conducted a health survey in 2013 with the help of NPCA's access to members. And we received about 7,500 results! Thank you all for your time and input into this important endeavor. It helped inform us about issues that need to be addressed and we were able to share this with the Peace Corps. 

Read the analysis written by one of our co-founders.

Master's Degree Thesis

Health and Safety Incidents Among Peace Corps Volunteers and the Peace Corps' Response (2013)
Masters Degree Thesis for Masters of Public Health by Christina Dicks (RPCV Costa Rica)

Every year thousands of Americans leave the country to begin service with the Peace Corps. Hundreds of Peace Corps Volunteers will return every year because of health conditions that could not be treated in the host country. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers with lasting health conditions face challenges in obtaining service related benefits that have not previously been studied. In the last several years, Peace Corps’ treatment of Volunteers’ health and safety concerns in their country of service has come to public attention with several highly publicized examples, yet no research has been undertaken to better explain these issues.

Relevant Publications - Articles/Blogs/Info

Featured

The New York Times: July 26, 2014
Trail of Medical Missteps in a Peace Corps Death The death of Nick Castle, a 23-year-old volunteer in China, raises serious questions about Peace Corps medical care.

Washington Post, Dec. 24, 2015
Medical Care for Peace Corps Volunteers Delayed

 

CBS This Morning: Dec 14, 2015
Ex-Volunteers Accuse Peace Corps of Neglect
Produced by Megan Towey

 

San Francisco Gate Forum: Aug 1, 2014
Response to Trail of Medical Missteps in a Peace Corps Death
Comments by Sue Castle, mother of deceased PCV, and others

 

The New York Times: Dec. 2, 2014
Letters to the Editor
Comments about the Report Faults Care of Peace Corps Volunteer”in New York Times.

 

The New York Times: July 28, 2014
Letters to the Editor Comments about the Trail of Medical Missteps in a Peace Corps Death in a Peace Corps Death by Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Nancy Tongue, and another RPCV

 

Peace Corps Worldwide: February 5, 2014
Blog by John Coyne
The Founding of Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers
by Nancy Tongue

 

Peace Corps Connect/National Peace Corps Association: December, 2013
Forward Momentum on Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers
Discussion of meetings with NPCA and meetings on Capitol Hill

 

Blog by Allison Walkley: March 13, 2013
The Suffering of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Illustrating the story of RPCV Meghan Wolf

 

Worldview Magazine: Spring 2013
A magazine published by the National Peace Corps Association
Commentary featuring Felicia Kenney and the Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers survey

 

New York Times: July 20, 2013
FDA Strengthens Warnings on Larium, Anti-Malarial Drug
New black warning on medication commonly prescribed to Peace Corps Volunteers

 

Newsworks for the Philly region: September 12, 2012
Warnings About Psychological Side Effects of Malaria Drug Larium Grow Louder
RPCV Patrick McClanahan speaks about his health

 

Fair Warning: December 12, 2012
Some Volunteers Face Injury Overseas, Indifference at Home
Sick and injured Peace Corps Volunteers discuss health issues and problems getting care upon return to the US
Dallas News: December, 2012

 

Mother Jones: December 13, 2012
Joining the Peace Corps? Don't Get Sick, Whatever You Do
Several RPCVs discuss their struggle to get health care

 

Letter to Senator Judd Gregg: August 30, 2007
Letter outlining a request for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study and dedicated ombudsman/advocate for volunteers 
In 2007, a formal group of us wrote to US Senators asking for help but we received little response. This is a letter we sent to Senator Judd Gregg