Several program participants are listing “secure a volunteer opportunity” as one of their goals in their Professional Development Action Plans (PDAP). Given the economy and budget cuts impacting public health organizations and county health departments, volunteering is a great way to help the organizations and agencies achieve success when they are short on staff. It’s also a perfect opportunity to cultivate your own professional skills.
Many different volunteer opportunities exist within your community. Hospitals, community health organizations and non-profits are a great place to start looking (check with their human resources department to learn about any opportunities). Also, check out Idealist.org, a website that “connects people, organizations, and resources to help build a world where all people can live free and dignified lives.”
Public health organizations at your local or state county health departments typically have resources to help professionals find volunteer work. For instance, the Florida Department of Health lists information about their volunteer programs HERE. This site will help you find the name and contact information of the person with whom you’ll need to contact for your specific region. Also, keep in mind that each county health department has its own protocols on their volunteer programs (and some are more active than others).
You can also find public health volunteer opportunities within other nationally recognized organizations (some of which have local chapters) such as, American Red Cross or Medical Reserve Corps. And, of course, there are a few global volunteer agencies that need international volunteers. Check out this site for more on national and global opportunities.
If any OMP participant has questions or other suggestions, post them in the comments sections under this post (online) or email the program coordinator OMP@health.usf.edu.