MD Anderson has taken a number of proactive measures to minimize risks to our patients and staff related to the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Given our vulnerable patient population and recent efforts to limit visitors on campus, we have canceled all volunteer shifts, volunteer orientation classes and the application for volunteering until further notice.
MD Anderson offers many on-site volunteer opportunities at our main campus, located in the Texas Medical Center, and Houston-area locations. Volunteering at MD Anderson is a rewarding experience and truly at the heart of the institution. You’ll work alongside patients, caregivers, faculty and staff to help make a difference in the lives of our cancer patients.
Adult Volunteer Program
Adult volunteers fulfill a weekly commitment for a minimum of six months. With three time slots available, it’s easy to find a time that fits your schedule. Each shift offers direct patient contact. Our volunteers are required to complete two annual volunteer trainings. All volunteers must have a tuberculosis skin test (within the last 12 months) and a flu shot prior to volunteering.
Volunteers commit to a four-hour weekly reoccurring assignment, available from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Volunteers commit to a two-hour weekly reoccurring assignment, available from 5 to 7:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Volunteers commit to a three-hour bi-weekly reoccurring assignment, available from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
College Volunteer Program
The College Volunteer Program is designed to provide students with a rewarding volunteer experience in health care settings. Our goal is to instill a lifetime commitment to volunteerism. Training, communicating effectively, developing good customer service skills, and working alongside patients, caregivers, staff and adult volunteers and gain exposure to health care careers are key components of the program.
College Volunteers are active year-round in their volunteer role. The application and onboarding process follows a semester based schedule. Students who have graduated high school, ages 18 and above, are eligible to apply.
Application details and timeline:
- Application is open annually in October for a limited period. All applications will be reviewed.
- Limited placements are available.
- Pre-screening and interviews occur in November.
- Orientations will be held for selected applicants, only.
- Volunteering begins in January.
- Fulfill a weekly commitment with no more than two excused absences per semester.
- Complete a minimum of 36 hours per semester.
- A minimum of 60 hours (two or more semesters) of volunteering per year is required in order to receive a letter of recommendation.
- Complete two required volunteer trainings.
- All volunteers must have a tuberculosis skin test (within the last 12 months) and a flu shot prior to volunteering.
Volunteering at Houston-area campuses
Limited volunteer opportunities are available at MD Anderson Houston-area campuses which are located in League City, The Woodlands, West Houston and Sugar Land. Volunteers assist staff, welcome patients and provide support and encouragement during patients' visits. Initial volunteer orientation and interview will take place at MD Anderson Texas Medical Center campus.
Application process for adult and college volunteers
Step 1: Complete the Volunteer Application. This form takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete and will help determine if volunteering is right for you. Once submitted, if there is a position that matches your schedule and interests a Volunteer Services and Merchandising staff member will contact you via phone.
Step 2: After the phone screening, if we have a volunteer need that matches your schedule and interests we'll register you for Volunteer Preview Orientation that is approximately three hours.
Step 3: Attend Volunteer Preview Orientation. At the end of the orientation you'll schedule your in-person interview. A packet of required forms, including a health form, will be provided to you that must be completed by your interview.
Step 4: Complete your in-person interview and turn in all forms. At this time a background check will be submitted.
Step 5: After the background check is cleared, applicants receive an assignment confirmation email with first-day training instructions for volunteering.
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-792-JOIN.
Support others by sharing experiences and providing hope to others as a myCancerConnection phone volunteer.
Teen Volunteer Leadership Program
This summer-only program allows high school students to interact with patients, caregivers, staff and volunteers. They also develop leadership skills and get a glimpse into health care careers.
BY Peggy Pellon
Ten years ago, I completed my first shift as an inpatient volunteer at MD Anderson’s Texas Medical Center Campus. For the past six years I’ve been volunteering at MD Anderson in The Woodlands, where I focus on making patients and caregivers more comfortable and helping staff members sort mail, make coffee for patients and pass out hats, pillows and blankets. I also chat with patients and caregivers while they wait for their appointments.
Here are four reasons why I volunteer at MD Anderson every week.
MD Anderson stands out from other hospitals
I became passionate about MD Anderson’s mission after a few close family members and friends were diagnosed with cancer. Since MD Anderson is focused exclusively on cancer, they offer many more cancer-focused experts and resources than other hospitals. MD Anderson doctors see more types of cancers in a day than many doctors will treat in an entire career.
Volunteering here helps me give back to this amazing cancer center and contribute to my local community. People often ask me, “Isn’t MD Anderson the most depressing place to volunteer?” Honestly, that couldn’t be further from the truth. MD Anderson is the reason my family members are living fulfilling, cancer-free lives. It’s a place of hope, where patients and caregivers are very thankful for the care they’re receiving.
I get to share my knowledge with patients
When I was a caregiver, I really valued advice from other people who’d been in my shoes. As a volunteer, I can pay it forward and share my experiences with new patients and other caregivers. I like to encourage them to remain proactive in the treatment process and remind them to use the time they have between appointments to relax. And because MD Anderson has so many resources to address everything from physical and emotional side effects to financial and spiritual support, I try to educate newcomers about all the services available to them.
The sense of fulfillment never ends
I worked as a registered nurse for many years and interacted with patients daily as part of their treatment or hospitalization. Volunteering at MD Anderson gives me the opportunity to talk to patients without worrying about nursing tasks. Both the patients and staff are all so grateful for everything we volunteers do. If I can help patients pass the time or let them know that I care about them by simply passing out coffee, hats, pillows or blankets, then I go home feeling good about my contributions that day.
I get to spread hope
It’s hard to imagine the light at the end of the tunnel when you or a loved one has just been diagnosed with cancer. Having volunteers who are either caregivers or survivors is a great reminder that it’s possible to go on to live a very productive life after cancer. My family is living proof of that, and I love encouraging others to keep fighting so that they, too, can enjoy life after cancer … thanks to all the amazing people at MD Anderson.
Request an appointment at MD Anderson online or by calling 1-877-632-6789.
Due to our response to COVID-19, all blood donations at MD Anderson
Blood Donor Center locations are being held by appointment only.