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Medical Volunteer

Medical Volunteer Role

The Medical Volunteer’s role is to understand each Participant’s medical history prior to the program and to assess the medical well-being of each individual and the group as a whole. They are an additional layer of safety and risk management at all times. 

The Medical Volunteer plays a supportive role to FD Lead Staff and should contribute to staff and outfitter meetings. In addition to using their medical expertise to support participant safety, Medical Volunteers are expected to support the staff in the kitchen with dishes, and with any other general needs during the week.


Did you hear?

First Descents launched Hero Recharge, a nationwide series of outdoor adventure programs for healthcare workers on the frontlines. Interested in joining us as a medical volunteer at an upcoming Hero Recharge program? Please review our program requirements and restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic and fill out our medical volunteer application to receive more information.


Medical Volunteer Qualifications

Physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurses, Paramedics, EMTs and Mid-Level Providers

FD welcomes any of the above-mentioned medical professionals to apply as a Medical Volunteer. These medical professionals provide the necessary medical expertise and background to ensure a safe program experience. FD provides basic medical supplies, including emergency medical kits at programs. Additional medical supplies can be brought at the Medical Volunteer’s discretion.

*Medical Volunteers are responsible for monitoring the group and acting as a first responder in the event of an emergency situation. Because of this, FD asks all Medical Volunteers to ensure they’re acting within their training and expertise. Good Samaritan laws typically apply. That being said, FD expects its Medical Volunteers to understand the limitations of their license as it pertains to volunteering in a different state. For questions, exceptions, or further information, please contact Paul Kelly at [email protected].

The Volunteer and Staff Team

At each weeklong program, First Descents will have:

  •  10-15 participants
  • 2 First Descents Lead Staff
  • 1 Medical Volunteer
  • 1 Volunteer Photographer
  • 2-3 General Support Volunteers

All volunteers are expected to show up for the week ready support the Lead Staff in facilitating the most safe and impactful experience possible to participants. Volunteering requires long hours, LOTS of dishes, hard work, and does not guarantee participation in any of the activities. 

Volunteer Medical Reviewers

FD uses an online, pre-program screening process to best-fit applicants with a specific program. We are always looking for qualified medical professionals to support this process. If interested, please review the Medical Reviewer Volunteer Description and apply!

Larry O. Smith, MD, FACEP
Medical Director, First Descents

General Support Volunteer

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