Public Health

COVID-19 volunteer guide for health care professionals

Updated April 21, 2020

This American Medical Association (AMA) guide includes information for physicians and health care professionals who want to support communities severely impacted by COVID-19. It tells how and where to volunteer—and things to consider before registering.

For state agencies and institutions, the guide includes information on third-party organizations that can identify and match volunteers accordingly as well as resources for credentialing in an emergency.

Featured updates: COVID-19

Track the evolving situation with the AMA's library of the most up-to-date resources from JAMA, CDC and WHO.

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Volunteer activities and assistance

States that are requesting volunteers and have set up registration sites include:

Other organizations are offering opportunities to volunteer or can assist a state in identifying and obtaining the volunteer resources they need. More resources will be included as they become available.

The MAVEN Project

The MAVEN Project is a nonprofit organization specializing in connecting volunteer physicians to underserved clinics and frontline providers via telehealth to enhance local care capacity. The MAVEN Project is aggregating physician volunteers for deployment in areas of greatest need—including at the state level—to support COVID-19 response efforts.

Volunteers in Medicine

Ninety-one Volunteers in Medicine free clinics in 30 states are working diligently to provide care, in-person and via telemedicine, to more than 100,00 patients during the Covid-19 crisis. These nonprofit clinics are modeled after the original Volunteers in Medicine Clinic in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, which was founded by the namesake of AMA's annual Jack B. McConnell, MD Award for Excellence in Volunteerism. For more information about Volunteers in Medicine and to locate a clinic near you, visit Volunteers in Medicine.

Guide for retired physicians

The AMA has curated a selection of resources to provide guidance to senior and retired physicians who may wish to return to work or are called upon to do so during the COVID-19 outbreak. This resource includes guidance on licensing, providing assistance that does not involve direct patient care, re-entering practice, managing professional liability and consideration of retirement status.

Guide for learners

Medical students who are considering volunteer roles should review the guiding principles developed by the AMA Council on Medical Education. These guiding principles were created to support and protect learners responding to COVID-19. 

Other resources

Licensure

Many states have temporarily relaxed licensure requirements related to physicians who are licensed in another state, retired or clinically inactive. This includes waiving licensure requirements or offering a temporary expedited license for out-of-state or retired physicians. Many, but not all, of these measures apply to physicians providing telemedicine across state lines.

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) is tracking executive orders related to licensure and providing details on licensing inactive or retired physicians who wish to become active during the pandemic. Please contact your state board of medicine or department of health for up-to-the minute information.

Resources for medical staff

The National Association for Medical Staff Services (NAMSS) is monitoring the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and is committed to serving the medical services profession. The NAMSS guide for medical staff professionals includes topics such as the emergency system for advanced registration of volunteer health professionals, blanket waivers and more.

Organizations providing gratis access to data to verify credentials for physician volunteers

The AMA is extending access to its Physician Profile service to all state medical licensing boards and eligible state and federal agencies verifying physician credentials in response to COVID-19. If you are a medical licensing board, learn how to set up your account (PDF). If you are a state or federal agency, contact the AMA at [email protected].

Physicians may also access their AMA credentials wallet and request to have their Physician Profile sent directly to a state medical licensing board at the AMA Profiles Hub.

The FSMB sent a letter to United States Vice President Michael R. Pence (PDF) on its intentions to make licensure and disciplinary information available in response to COVID-19.

U.S. physician and student workforce

As state leaders call for additional health care personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to have an up-to-date view of the student and physician workforce landscape.  Leveraging the AMA Physician Masterfile and other authoritative data sources, we have created a snapshot of the national workforce picture. 

Download physician and student workforce statistics (PDF)

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Disclaimer: The information and guidance provided in this document is believed to be current and accurate at the time of posting. This information is not intended to be, and should not be construed to be or relied upon as, legal or medical advice. References and links to third parties do not constitute an endorsement, sponsorship or warranty by the AMA, and the AMA hereby disclaims all express and implied warranties of any kind.