MD Anderson offers many on-site volunteer opportunities at our main campus, located in the Texas Medical Center, and Houston-area locations.
On-site volunteer program perks
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. With more than 1,000 on-site volunteers working with us, we recognize your exceptional service by extending a few perks.
- Parking - As a volunteer, you are offered free self-parking during your shifts.
- Education - Visit the Research Medical Library and The Learning Centers and attend classes offered through myCancerConnection.
- Vaccination - Free flu shots for adults, 18 years and older, offered on-site.
- Cafeteria Discount - Show your volunteer ID badge to receive a 10% discount at cafes within MD Anderson.
- Annual Volunteer Recognition - Attend the annual recognition celebration and receive a service pin for hours volunteered.
We ask volunteers to commit a minimum of six months to our program. With three time slots available, it’s easy to find a time that fits your schedule. Each shift offers direct and limited patient contact.
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 8 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Volunteers commit to a three-hour bi weekly reoccurring assignment, available from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
College volunteers will complete 36 hours of service within a three-month period. Volunteering will follow a semester based schedule.
Volunteers with at least six months of experience as a volunteer at the main campus are eligible to volunteer at MD Anderson Houston-area campuses which are located in League City, The Woodlands, Katy and Sugar Land. Volunteers assist staff, welcome patients and provide support and encouragement during patients' visits.
Application process for adult and college volunteers
Step 1: First complete the Volunteer Interest Questionnaire. This form takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete and will help determine if volunteering is right for you.
Step 2: Complete the online application. Once submitted, if there is a position that matches your interests, skills and schedule, a Volunteer Services and Merchandising staff member will contact you.
Step 3: A staff member will contact you and complete a phone interview. At that time you'll also schedule to attend the Volunteer Preview Orientation, which is an overview of our volunteer program that is approximately two hours followed by a tour of MD Anderson showcasing various volunteer positions.
Step 4: Attend a Volunteer Preview Orientation. At the end of the tour you'll schedule your in-person interview with a recruiter from the Volunteer Services and Merchandising department. Also, you'll receive a Health Questionnaire, with vaccination requirements, that must be completed by your interview.
Step 5: After scheduling your interview, a background check is submitted.
Step 6: Complete your in-person interview and turn in your Health Questionnaire.
Step 7: After the background check is cleared and vaccination records are submitted, volunteers will receive an assignment confirmation email with first-day training instructions.
The first step in the volunteer application process is to complete our Volunteer Interest Questionnaire.
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.