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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Saturday, May 4, 2002

SECRETARY CALLS ON HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS TO GIVE TIME Secretary Thompson challenges clinicians to double number of volunteers -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Cleveland, Ohio -- HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today challenged American health care professionals to double the number of clinicians who volunteer their time, expertise and services in their communities over the next two years. Studies show that at least 375,000 physicians, dentists, pharmacists and registered nurses volunteer their time in free clinics, community health centers and other organized efforts. "Our health care professionals are the best in the world and are extremely generous with their time," Secretary Thompson said. "By doubling the number of clinicians who volunteer in their communities, we could do so much to help those Americans who need help the most." Additionally, Secretary Thompson called on all Americans to answer President Bush's call to service by volunteering their time at hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other health care facilities. Secretary Thompson visited the Cleveland Clinic today as part of President Bush's declaration of the 29th annual National Volunteer Week, which recognizes and celebrates the efforts of volunteers in communities around the country. President Bush has made volunteerism a centerpiece of his domestic agenda through the USA Freedom Corps. Launched on Jan. 29 as part of President Bush's State of the Union address, the Freedom Corps is an effort to foster a culture of responsibility, citizenship and service. The Freedom Corps begins with President Bush's two-year call to service - his challenge to all Americans to devote 4,000 hours, or roughly two years of their lives, to service to their communities, our nation and the world. "Americans of all ages are answering the call to serve by volunteering," Secretary Thompson said. "While National Volunteer Week offers us an opportunity to recognize the outstanding efforts of people across the country, we must remember the need for volunteers year round." Additional information on National Volunteer Week can be found at the Points of Light Foundation Web site at http://www.pointsoflight.org/programs/programs_nvwintroa.htm. Information regarding the USA Freedom Corps initiative can be found at its Web site at http://www.usafreedomcorps.gov. More information on clinician volunteerism can be found at the Volunteers in Health Care Web site at http://www.volunteersinhealthcare.org.