Oregon Health Authority needs more volunteers to support COVID-19 response and long-term resilience
SALEM, Ore.—The Oregon Health Authority is amplifying efforts to recruit health care professionals to join the State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Oregon (SERV-OR) as Governor Kate Brown advances plans for safely reopening Oregon.
Since March, SERV-OR has added more than 800 new volunteers, strengthening OHA’s ability to contain COVID-19 cases and building the capacity of the volunteer program to respond to future emergencies.
“When our health care system was preparing for the worst of this, volunteer health care workers answered the call,” said Governor Brown. “I want to commend all our health care professionals and volunteers for their incredible work protecting the lives, safety, and wellness of Oregonians during this crisis.”
Health care professionals can register to volunteer with SERV-OR at SERV-OR.org.
“Oregon’s health care workers are our most valuable asset in the fight against COVID-19,” said OHA Director Patrick Allen. “Their skills and energy are saving lives every day, in every part of the state. SERV-OR provides another opportunity to give back and support response efforts while connecting volunteers to high-quality training.”
Duties of SERV-OR volunteers are as varied as they are vital, from supporting medical casualty triage and behavioral health services to staffing medical shelters and information hotlines. OHA is planning for volunteers to be a critical part of the state’s COVID-19 recovery effort by supporting contact tracing, testing, community wellness campaigns, as well as studies of long-term community effects and mass vaccination programs. Those signing up in the coming days will have the opportunity to train and deploy quickly.
In addition to disease outbreaks, SERV-OR volunteers are ready to respond in case of other emergencies and national disasters such as flooding, wildfire, and earthquakes.
As volunteers, medical professionals who are registered with SERV-OR gain access to valuable training programs and learning opportunities, including continuing education credits, workforce training, and emergency response training. SERV-OR volunteers are also invited to participate in functional and full-scale training exercises throughout the year. Exercises may range from the public health response to flu season, new and existing disease outbreaks, and emergency preparedness initiatives to natural and man-made disaster response to hazards such as the Cascadia subduction zone earthquake and tsunami, wildfires, flooding, terrorism, and other types of emergencies.
“It’s great to know I’m part of a team that is ready to make a huge difference in a disaster. But it takes all of us doing our part.” said Perri Wells, Safety & Security Supervisor at Harney District Hospital and a SERV-OR volunteer. “The training I have received through SERV-OR helps me at my day job and has changed how I look at emergency preparedness.”
“In rural counties like ours, it’s easy for people to get isolated and hard to get access to resources,” said Samantha Buckley, Assistant Emergency Manager for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. “We also have small health departments, so during public health emergencies, having extra folks who understand the medical system to lean on is really beneficial.”
SERV-OR is Oregon’s roster of licensed physicians, nurses, pharmacists, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), behavioral health providers, respiratory therapists and other medical professionals who have registered to volunteer in response to local, state, or federal emergencies.
For more information about Oregon’s response to COVID-19, please visit https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19