Volunteer Header

Volunteer Information

We can’t offer our necessary services and do what we do without volunteers. Volunteers must be at least 19 years of age.

See the Medical Direct Care section for volunteer criteria.

Medical clinics are held on the 2nd and 4th Monday mornings, 2nd and 4th Thursday evenings and 1st and 3rd Saturday mornings.

The business office is open Monday through Friday, 9 to 2 pm. Medical care is only available during clinic sessions.

Medical Direct Care

MEDICAL DIRECT CARE VOLUNTEERS

Volunteers must have a current license or certification that is recognized by the state of Michigan OR be enrolled in medical school. We are waiting for an opinion on students enrolled in RN, PA and NP programs.

We are always looking for physicians, registered nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, pharmacist techs and lab techs. We are also looking for LMSWs, professional counselors and psychologists. The commitment is 3 - 3 1/2 hours per session. We prefer that individuals volunteer with us once a month. Volunteer times are at your convenience.

Non Medical Volunteers

CLINIC NON-MEDICAL VOLUNTEERS

Volunteers can work at the appointment desk, assist our patients with insurance information and enrollment, prescription cost assistance and prepare the clinic for the next session. We can always use extra hands to help develop, publicize and assist with fundraisers; write grants and many other important tasks. We also need volunteers who are competent in Word and Excel for data input one day a week. These opportunities do not require a medical license or certification.

If you are interested, e-mail Ann at aheler@FernCare.org.

If interested in applying to become a member of the clinic's Board of Directors, contact Rudy Serra, Board President, rudy.serra@ferncare.org and click on the Board application below for a quick overview of Board responsibilities.

Board Member Responsibilities

Board Member Application

Insurance Protection

The FTCA Medical Malpractice program (Free Clinic FTCA Program) provides immunity for medical malpractice claims to those health care practitioners and non medical volunteers (administrative staff, board of directors, volunteers in non-medical capacities) that provide medical or other services on a volunteer basis in or on behalf of a free clinic. The requirements state that the practitioner or staff must be sponsored by an approved free clinic and deemed as a federal employee of the PHS. At FernCare Free Clinic, the only volunteers or staff we cover are those that agree to volunteer once a month for a year. If this is not possible, you are still covered by the Volunteer Protection Act and Michigan’s Good Samaritan Law.

At a federal level, this offers protections for any physicians or practitioners volunteering at all nonprofit health facilities. Unlike the FTCA, the VPA does not provide that the practitioners are dismissed from the lawsuit and the federal government become the defendant. Rather, the VPA exempts practitioners from liability in the event of a lawsuit, if the practitioner proves the VPA conditions were met. VPA also makes it very difficult for a claimant to obtain punitive damages or obtain non-economic losses against a volunteer.

MCL 333.16277. Michigan law limits liability for health care practitioners who render non-emergency care on a voluntary basis (i.e. don’t receive compensation). They are not liable in a civil action for damages for acts or omissions in providing such care, unless the acts or omissions results from gross negligence or willful and wanton misconduct or were intended to injure the patient. This limitation on liability extends to dentists, physicians, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and physician’s assistants.

Non emergency health care  specifically covers (1) "a health facility organized and operated for the sole purpose of delivering non emergency health care without receiving compensation".

We also carry a general liability policy for all staff.

Volunteers who have submitted applications and have been contacted by a member of the Clinic Team ONLY can click here for the 2019 Calendar or click here for the 2020 Calendar to schedule the day or days you can volunteer

Clinic Schedule

2019/2020 Clinic Schedule

The 2019/2020 Clinic Schedule Saturdays are 9 am to noon, Thursday evenings are 6:00 – 8:30 pm, Mondays 9:30 – 1:00 pm, usually. Ferndale stages a number of city wide events that make parking and travel complicated. See the schedule below for the 2019/2020 clinic dates.

2019/2020 Clinic Schedule
Month Days
November 2019 11, 16, 18, 21
December 2019 7, 9, 12, 16, 21
January 2020 4, 9, 13, 18, 23, 27
February 2020 1, 10, 13, 22, 24, 27
March 2020 7, 9, 12, 21, 23, 26
April 2020 4, 9, 13, 18, 23, 27
May 2020 2, 11, 14, 16, 18, 28
June 2020 6, 8, 11, 20, 22, 25
July 2020 9, 13, 18, 23, 27
August 2020 1, 10, 13, 22, 24, 27
September 2020 5, 10, 14, 19, 24, 28
October 2020 3, 8, 12, 17, 22, 26
November 2020 7, 9, 12, 19, 21, 23
December 2020 5, 10, 14, 17, 19, 28

Volunteer Application

Fill out the Volunteer application (SEE below) and e-mail it with a copy of your license and photo ID to the clinic. SEE addresses below.

All volunteers are subject to Medical Director and Clinic Manager approval.

Physicians, Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, enrolled medical students, CNAs, Medical Assistants, EMTs

E-mail your information and application to Cathy McGowan, MD at drcmmcgowan@gmail.com and RNs, CNAa, MAs, EMTs to Pamalar Burnette, RN at pburnette@ferncare.org

Pharmacists, pharmacist technicians, pharmacy students

E-mail your applications and a copy of your license/certification to crainey@ferncare.org. Christine is our Pharmacy Manager and can answer any questions. She also does all the pharmacy scheduling.

Lab technicians and phlebotomists

E-mail your applications and a copy of your license/certification to slux@ferncare.org. Susan is our Lab Manager and can answer any question. She does lab scheduling.

Social workers, counselors and psychologists

Please e-mail your application to Ann Heler at aheler@ferncare.org.

Office Assistance

For Office Assistance, Appointment Desk, Health Insurance Enrollment Counselors, electronic medical record scribes and social media specialists email your applications to Ann Heler at aheler@ferncare.org.

Want to volunteer where you
can make a difference?