Health professionals with an interest in volunteering to help local communities are hot commodities. If you are interested in volunteering your time, energy and unique skill set, there are a number of organizations, both governmental and non-profit, who are always looking for skilled professionals. While we encourage you to register through your state ESAR-VHP program, we also want to make you aware of other volunteer opportunities that would allow you to give back to your community. You can also assess the differences between the various programs and decide which organization would be best for you.
National Disaster Medical System (NDMS)
NDMS assists state and local authorities in dealing with the medical impacts of major peacetime disasters and provides support to the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs medical systems in caring for casualties evacuated back to the U.S. from overseas conflicts. NMDS is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
NDMS uses individuals with specific expertise and experience within a wide range of professions. Individuals with a background in the medical and public health services, emergency management, or forensic sciences, etc. could fill vacant positions on the various response teams within NDMS.
NDMS is comprised of various response teams, including Disaster Medical Assistant Team (DMAT), Disaster Nurse Response Team (NNRT), National Pharmacy Response Team (NPRT), Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Teams (DMORT), and National Veterinary Response Team (NVRT).
Each response team has a set number of authorized positions within their team. Also, each team has required types of specialists needed to fill these vacant positions for their team. Additionally, each response team position ahs pre-requisite training requirements that must be met before individuals can apply. If accepted, individuals become intermittent part-time Federal employees upon deployment on a mission.
For more information about NDMS, visit publichealthemergency.hhs.gov/ndms/.
Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)
The MRC is community-based and works to locally organize and utilize volunteers who want to contribute their time and expertise to promote healthy living throughout the year and to prepare for and respond to emergencies. MRC volunteers supplement existing emergency and public health resources. The Medical Reserve Corps is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
MRC volunteers include medical and public health professionals such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, and epidemiologists. Many community members—interpreters, chaplains, office workers, legal advisors, and others—can fill other key support positions as well
To learn more about the MRC, visit https://mrc.hhs.gov.
Citizen Corps asks everyone, not just health professionals, to embrace the personal responsibility to be prepared; to get training in first aid and emergency skills; and to volunteer to support local emergency responders, disaster relief, and community safety efforts. Citizen Corps is coordinated nationally by the Department of Homeland Security.
For more information about Citizen Corps, visit www.citizencorps.gov.
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is one of several community organizations that work together to respond to disasters. Red Cross volunteers provide relief to victims and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. The main role of the Red Cross is to provide shelter and refuge during disasters, not deploy medical and other health-related professionals.
For more information on the Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org.