Surgical Trip FAQs

What will CSI’s return to travel look like?
CSI resumed surgical team travel with a trip to Hermosillo, Mexico in February 2022. We continue discussions with our partner sites about how we can keep patients, families, local medical staff and CSI volunteers safe. We monitor key safety indicators such as travel and quarantine restrictions, partner readiness, access to testing and vaccines, added PPE and new safety protocols. 

To mitigate risk, we’ve reduced the typical CSI surgical team size as well as the total number of cases we undertake during each trip. These smaller teams are composed of volunteers with strong site-specific experience. Team members are vaccinated against COVID-19 and flexible in filling multiple team roles (such as medical records and logistics). To avoid large screening days that would encourage the congregation of larger groups of people, we are working with partners in a consultation role, relying on them to screen and schedule patients before our arrival.

We hope to return to a more traditional surgical team model when it makes sense for our volunteers and our partners. CSI volunteers scheduled for canceled trips over the past two years will be given priority once we resume a more “business as usual” schedule and model of operation. Ultimately, it is our hope that these new trip models will allow for added travel opportunities and greater impact to those we serve.

What are the dates of the trips?
CSI resumed surgical team travel in February 2022. The trips scheduled to date include:
Mexico: February 19 – 23, 2022 and September 24 – 28, 2022
Ethiopia: May 13 – 21, 2022 and October 12 – 23, 2022
Tanzania: November 10 – 19, 2022
Liberia: January 12 – 20, 2023

How does CSI recruit volunteers? 
Our top priority is the health, safety and well-being of our volunteers, in-country partners and patients. When making the decision to recruit volunteers for a trip, we want to have a high degree of confidence that a trip will proceed. We know volunteers take significant time away from work and family responsibilities to travel with us, and we understand that trip cancellations can be disruptive.

While we pilot smaller team models, we will staff teams with CSI volunteers who have strong site-specific experience. Our recruiters for each area will contact volunteers who meet this criteria.

How can I stay involved with CSI outside of surgical team travel?
CSI is committed to supporting our country partners even when we can’t travel. We are also working hard to strengthen our trip planning and execution to improve our processes. With that in mind, there are several ways you can help. If you are interested, please contact us at

  • CSI is creating discipline-specific work groups to focus on things like volunteer recruitment and training, trip packing and supplies, and partner in-person and online education. Join a CSI work group to help improve the delivery of our mission.
  • CSI is building our library of in-person and online educational resources and speakers. Share your input and expertise. Do you have lectures and/or other education and training ideas? Be a part of the team that is developing training and collaboration best-practices by discipline.  
  • We want to provide supply-chain support to our partners even when we’re not traveling. Help us sort medical supplies, source specific requests for equipment and prepare shipments.

Help CSI as we develop new ways of engaging our volunteers and donors. Email Jen Nagorski at if you’d like to help.

What are the expenses trip volunteers are responsible for before and during a trip?
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, CSI is proud to be able to underwrite the vast majority of trip expenses for trip volunteers. The expenses trip volunteers are responsible for include:

Pre-trip expenses:

  • $500 team fee is due at or before the team meeting.
  • Beginning in 2022, the team fee is no longer considered a tax deductible donation as team members receive goods/services in exchange for the fee.

Expenses on the trip:

  • Dinner each night. Approximately $10-15 per meal.
  • Rest day activity. The cost can range from $50 to $100 depending on the activity and the number of team members participating.
  • Spending money for souvenirs.

What does my team fee cover?
The total cost per team member to travel with CSI varies by trip, but generally ranges between $2,500-$4,500. Your $500 team fee covers a small portion of the expenses we incur for your flight, ground transportation, VISA application fees, lodging and two meals per day (breakfast and lunch). Please note that there is a fee to deviate from the standard itinerary selected for a given trip. Talk to the CSI office to get more information before proceeding with any travel plans.

Will I need a COVID-19 vaccination to travel?
When traveling with CSI, volunteers need to see a travel clinic to be advised on immunizations and medications needed for the trip. CSI does require team members to be fully vaccinated. This includes a “booster” dose. See the CSI COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies document for further detail. 

Do team members help with pre-trip and post-trip responsibilities?
Each trip has pre- and post-trip responsibilities. These duties are listed in the job descriptions and will be communicated to team members. Here are a few:

  • Packing supplies and equipment
  • Preparing medical charts
  • Screening day planning
  • Patient records
  • Evaluations/survey