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Health-Related Volunteer Activities


This Policy expands on Emory University’s volunteer policy 1.4 (, specifically in relation to health-related volunteer activities (“Volunteer Activity”) performed by School of Medicine residents and fellows (“Trainees”). Trainees and supervising physicians must comply with this Office of Graduate Medical Education (“GME”) Volunteer Policy (“Policy”), which includes completing the Volunteer Agreement – Request for Approval (Download Here). This Policy does not address non health-related volunteer activities by Trainees. It is the professional responsibility of Trainees to be appropriately rested and available for their clinical duties. 

All Volunteer Activities, including those scheduled during a Trainee’s vacation, must have pre-approval according to the terms of this Policy. Volunteering should not impact Trainees’ ability to perform any of their assigned program activities.

Duty Hours: Volunteer hours for any approved Volunteer Activity conducted in a Trainee’s capacity as a physician, while the Trainee is not on vacation, will count toward duty hours and must not conflict with scheduled duty hours. Volunteering should not impact Trainees’ ability to perform any of their assigned program activities. Approved Volunteer Activities s conducted while a Trainee is on will not be counted toward duty hours.

In no case shall a Trainee enter into a contract related to any Volunteer Activity on behalf of Emory University.


There are professional Volunteer Activities outside the scope of the GME training program that can provide great value to Trainee education when such activities involve the provision of health education, medical care, or other health-related services that address the health needs of communities, and in particular, underserved communities. Emory University School of Medicine supports these opportunities in the spirit of altruism.

This Policy establishes guidelines regarding the approval of health-related volunteer activities involving Trainees, while encouraging a spirit of service. This Policy promotes the safety of the beneficiaries of the volunteer services and minimizes the risk of liability for the Trainees and the University. These activities are distinguished from moonlighting opportunities ( and from off-site rotations ( that fall within the scope of Trainee’s GME training.

Volunteer Activities Requiring Approval

Volunteer Activities involving the participation of Trainees in providing medical care, health education, or other health-related services require pre-approval from the Program Director and the GME Office. Examples of these activities include, but are not limited to:

Volunteer Activity Approval and Liability Coverage Considerations

All Trainees seeking approval to participate in Volunteer Activities must submit their request for approval at least 6 weeks prior to participating in the activity, and may not participate until written approval from the GME Office has been obtained.


For approval consideration of both Emory and non-Emory Volunteer Activities, the Trainee requesting approval, and the Volunteer Activity, must meet all following requirements:

  1. the Trainee must:
    1. provide to the GME Office, a completed Volunteer Agreement – Request for Approval (download);
    2. be in good academic and professional standing;
    3. provide to the GME Office for review, any paperwork and/or contract that the Trainee will complete in relation to the Trainee’s participation in the Volunteer Activity; and
    4. secure commitment from a qualified supervising physician to provide the appropriate level of supervision as required in the Supervision section below.
  1. the Volunteer Activity must:
    1. be of a nature that is consistent with the scope of the Trainee’s experience and competence; 
    2. include a plan for handling medical records, if appropriate to the nature of the Voluntary Activity; and
    3. not conflict with Emory’s missions, principles, or policies.

Liability coverage is required for a Trainee to participate in a Volunteer Activity. Once a Trainee’s participation in an Emory or Non-Emory Volunteer Activity is approved, Emory’s liability coverage will cover them for this Activity. Note that if the volunteer organization offers liability coverage to its volunteers, this insurance will be primary over Emory’s insurance.

If the GME Office disapproves a Trainee’s participation in a Volunteer Activity for failure to meet the approval requirments delineated above, or for other reason deemed justifiable by Emory that is not delineated above, then the Trainee may not participate in the Volunteer Activity.


Appropriate supervision may be conducted directly, indirectly, or with remote oversight depending on the Trainee’s program year level, competency, type of license, and the scope of the Volunteer Activity duties.

Supervision Definitions

Licensure Definitions

Supervisor Requirements

In accordance with ACGME Common Program Requirements (VI.D.1.), Trainees participating in approved Volunteer Activities must have appropriate supervision by a full licensed, supervising physician that meets the following criteria: