Enhancing Public Health Preparedness: Exercises, Exemplary Practices, and Lessons Learned, Phase III

Task E: Approaches for Developing a Volunteer Program to Respond to Public Health Emergencies

by Karen A. Ricci, Edward W. Chan, Anita Chandra, Kristin J. Leuschner, Molly Shea, Danielle M. Varda, Jeffrey Wasserman

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This working paper provides hands-on strategies and approaches that can beused by public health agencies and other community organizations to establish or expand a volunteer program for building workforce surge capacity in the event of a public health emergency. The authors examine how various organizations — local and state public health authorities; Medical Reserve Corps units; national disaster relief organizations; local, state, and national volunteer organizations; and faith-based organizations — are attempting to resolve common challenges in recruiting, affiliating, managing and retaining volunteers, especially health professionals. They conclude that creative approaches are needed to address such challenges as quickly garnering sufficient staff while minimizing costs. To improve coordination, a single staff person should have primary responsibility for the program. Finally, the authors emphasize the importance of embarking on a series of program evaluations of the approaches described in the paper and development of a set of evidence-based practices.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    The Program Planning Phase

  • Chapter Three

    The Recruitment Phase

  • Chapter Four

    The Affiliation Phase

  • Chapter Five

    The Retention and Maintenance Phase

  • Chapter Six

    Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Protocol for Health Department Interviews

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