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Health, medical professionals invited to join volunteer registry

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Monday, April 09, 2012
CONTACT:  Bill Chalcraft, (605) 773-3361 


Health, medical professionals invited to join volunteer registry


PIERRE, S.D. – The Health Department encourages doctors, nurses, EMTs and other health providers to mark National Volunteer Week, April 15-21, by registering with the Statewide Emergency Registry of Volunteers in South Dakota (SERV SD).


“Disasters from Hurricane Katrina to the Joplin tornado have demonstrated that the nation’s health and medical professionals are willing to volunteer and provide vital services to stricken communities,” said Bill Chalcraft, public health preparedness and response administrator for the department. “SERV SD lets us identify those professionals in advance, verify their credentials, and provide them with disaster training so they’re ready to go in the event of a public health emergency.”


The registry is maintained by the department and can be activated when a healthcare organization, county, other state, or federal agency requests volunteers. Chalcraft noted that registered volunteers choose whether to participate in any response and are not obligated to deploy. Currently, 784 volunteer healthcare professionals and more than 400 health care students are registered with SERV SD.


In addition to serving as a statewide volunteer registry, SERV SD is also being used by various community organizations such as the Pennington County Medical Reserve Corps, the Emergency Communications Group of the Dakota Amateur Radio Network, and community point of dispensing organizations to manage their membership.


Funding support for SERV SD comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which mandates that states create local systems for the advanced registration of medical and health care volunteers.


Learn more about SERV SD and register at http://serv.sd.gov.


Identifying and training a volunteer public health workforce is one part of the department’s Health 2020 objective to enhance the state’s capacity to effectively coordinate the response to current and emerging public health threats.