Justin Sipiora, MD

Tell us a little about yourself. What is your background and where are you from?

I am originally from New York and attended medical school at Rutgers in New Jersey. I completed my residency in internal medicine in Chicago in 2023.

How did you hear about Global Care Force?

When the Russians attacked Ukraine in February 2022, I was shocked by the cruelty inflicted on the Ukrainian people by Russian soldiers, but deeply moved and inspired by the resilience and courage of the Ukrainian people. My family donated money to various organizations aiding Ukraine, but I felt called to try to use my medical training to do something more. After an exhaustive internet search (and visiting the Ukrainian consulate in Chicago), I determined that Global Care Force was the best way for me to travel to Ukraine to provide medical aid.

You volunteered in Ukraine in December and are returning in March. What motivates you to go and what did you do at the clinics?

The everyday heroism of the Ukrainian people motivates me to go. From the Ukrainians on the Global Care Force team to the patients we served, they all inspired me. It goes without saying that they are tough (they have to be in order to endure the invasion), but also incredibly kind and welcoming. I felt guilty a lot. Everyone I met in Ukraine thanked me for coming, but really, I should be thanking them for standing up as a beacon of liberty and courage.

In terms of the clinics, from a provider’s perspective it was really amazing. I showed up at a predetermined location each day to see patients and practice medicine.It’s medicine in its purest form because you get to just be a healer instead of grappling with the hospital-insurance corporate complex that makes being a doctor in the United States such an unsatisfying endeavor at times. We treated a lot of chronic conditions—diabetes, hypertension, and arthritis, as well as acute conditions like infections. The hardest thing to treat was acute mental health issues brought on by the trauma of war. We do have some medications to help with PTSD and anxiety, but for a mother whose nightmares and anxiety are because the Russians bombed her village and her son is serving at the front, those medications can only help so much. However, Global Care Force provides a great service by giving patients a 30+ day supply of free medications. Many people in the villages rely on Global Care Force as their primary care team and the local pharmacy since we come back every month or so and bring our own medication supply.

Tell us about the experience, and what are some of the things you will remember the most?

Without a doubt, the time I shared with the Ukrainian Global Care Force team and our patients is what I will remember the most. I learned so much from each team member—from our leader Svetlana, to all of our translators, drivers, and pharmacists. Their commitment to bettering their country is inspiring, and I greatly admire the compassion and empathy they show their fellow citizens we cared for. Bearing witness to how the Ukrainian people are enduring the war and talking to them about their thoughts and feelings was incredibly powerful. First, the sense of comradery amongst the people is palpable. I wish more Americans could see and appreciate how these folks have come together under dire conditions to support one another. Second, I was impressed by the way people think critically about things we take for granted in the U.S. Our first day in Kyiv, one of our translators took us on a tour of the city and taught us about Ukraine’s struggle for freedom since Soviet times. She clearly spent hours thinking about what it means to be a citizen of a liberal democracy. It was eye opening to see how Ukrainians are fighting for essential liberties and truly appreciating them in a way that reminds me of how our founding fathers thought and lived. Finally, the generosity of Ukrainians towards each other and us was quite moving. Even in villages previously under Russian occupation and where resources were stretched thin, folks would bring us gifts to thank us for coming.

Any stories you can share, whether a patient (first name only or no names) Ukraine staff member or another volunteer that impacted you?

I found each Ukrainian staff member incredibly impressive and inspiring, especially our team leader, Svetlana. She came out of retirement to lead the missions and now travels around Ukraine and Poland to ensure the GCF missions are fulfilled. She truly walks the walk, and her efforts are nothing short of heroic. Also the two young men and one woman who are full time graduate students in the health sciences who served as translators (while being full time students!). I couldn’t imagine doing that as a medical student, yet these three do it regularly. Their sense of service before self was a tremendous example for me.

Although you were not on the front lines, you served in villages previously occupied by Russian troops. What was that like?

It was heartbreaking. We saw schools, homes, and apartment buildings damaged or destroyed by Russian artillery/air strikes. Equally distressing, the Russians left countless mines throughout the towns and countryside. We heard about a farmer returning to his land after the Russians were driven out only to be maimed by a landmine left on his property. We witnessed villagers unable to repair power lines because of landmines throughout the area, forcing them to endure freezing cold conditions without electricity. The stories that patients told about their lives under Russian occupation were gut wrenching. No one should ever have to endure what they have.

The purpose of Global Care Force is to inspire transformative life experiences through volunteering. Would you agree?

Absolutely. This was a very powerful and humbling experience for me. I learned so much from all of the people that I met and spent time with. The experience has motivated me to be a more active advocate for the Ukrainian cause here in the United States, and to pursue more opportunities to serve patients who cannot access the traditional hospital system.

If someone is considering volunteering with Global Care Force, what would you tell them?

Go for it! It is a chance to experience everything that is good about the medical field, while also getting to learn from the inspiring and brave people of Ukraine.

Anything else about your experience with GCF you would like to share?

I truly admire the people of Ukraine and their collective bravery. I hope more Americans will appreciate this and recognize the Ukrainian people are very much worthy of whatever support and aid we can send them. Bluntly, I believe we have a moral imperative to support them, and without more military aid, more innocent Ukrainians will die (the Russians regularly target civilians with missiles and drones, and our military aid literally saves lives). I hope that even a few people after reading this will call their political representatives and/or the Speaker of the House and encourage them to pass Congressional funding for Ukraine immediately.

Interested in Volunteering in Ukraine?

If you are ready to transform your life through volunteer service, sign up and get started.


You can make a difference in the world by serving others. The first step, let us know how to
connect with you.


Other Ways to Support Ukraine

Not everyone can volunteer, but you can support other volunteers in Ukraine. Click on the button below to give a one time or monthly gift and follow Global Care Force Facebook and Instagram.