James Orbinski

"Humanitarianism is not a tool to end war or create peace. It is a citizen's response to political failure."


Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is a worldwide movement. We are guided and run by our staff, past and present. Collectively, they make sure that MSF stays true to its mission and principles.

Our donors are a vital part of the movement—your generosity and support helps fund everything we do, with the majority of our income coming from individual donations. This allows us to stay independent, neutral, and impartial—and to access those in greatest need quickly.

We have helped millions of people since MSF was established in 1971. The movement has grown and we now work in over 60 countries around the world, with teams ready for any new emergency.

MSF Associations

Our staff 'own' and manage MSF through the MSF Associations. There are 24 Associations around the world. Most have an office that fundraises and recruits staff, like MSF-USA.

Each association is attached to one of the five operational centers (OC). These are the offices which decide when, where, and what medical care is needed. These centers are based in:

  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Paris, France
  • Amsterdam, Holland
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Geneva, Switzerland

The OCs can act independently but all layers of MSF interconnect and work together in various ways, and are formally bound as one movement by a shared name, a shared commitment to the MSF Charter, and shared membership of MSF International.

MSF Sections

MSF-USA, like the other 15 MSF offices across the globe, works with these OCs to recruit staff and raise the money needed to provide care where it is needed most. They also provide specialist technical support and speak out about on behalf of the people we are helping.

These offices are in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, the UK, and the US. MSF also has branch offices in Argentina, the Czech Republic, India, Ireland, Mexico, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates.

MSF has four other main offices:

  • The International Office in Geneva
  • UN Liaison Office in Geneva
  • UN Liaison Office in New York City
  • An office in the United Arab Emirates

Three specialized public-health centers—called Epicentre, Aedes, and HealthNet—work with MSF to help expand expertise in specialist medical issues.

Other units, including supply centers and medical units, also support our activities on the frontline.

Other MSF Projects

MSF Access Campaign

In the field, MSF doctors are constantly frustrated by the lack of adequate medical tools.

In response, we set up the MSF Access Campaign in 1999 to push for access to, and the development of, life-saving and life prolonging medicines, diagnostic tests, and vaccines for patients in our programs and beyond.

We set this project up with the prize money from the Nobel Peace Prize, which MSF was awarded in 1999.

MSF Field Research

MSF is well-known for its humanitarian medical work, but it has also produced important research based on its field experience with vulnerable populations.

Our Field Research website archives MSF's scientific articles and makes them available free, with full text, and in an easily searchable format.


For 30 years, MSF has directly witnessed the human cost of the lack of drugs for neglected diseases and has raised its voice against this inequity.

In 2003, seven organizations from around the world joined forces to establish the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi).

International Office

The International office in Geneva is the focal point for the other MSF offices and is where important joint decisions are made.

Our International President is Dr. Joanne Liu. Her time with MSF started in 1996, when she worked with Malian refugees in Mauritania.

She is an associate professor at the Université de Montréal and has also taught at Fudan University in Shanghai. In 2013, Dr. Liu received the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s Teasdale-Corti Humanitarian Award.

Be part of MSF

Our supporters, donors, and fundraisers are a vital part of the MSF movement.

Find out how you can support MSF's lifesaving work.

Learn more