Volunteering Opportunities surrounding Medical Research

by anthony guerriero on March 26, 2013 - 4:14pm

I did my super post on medical research and alternative treatments for ADHD. Through a developed interest on this subject I found a wide range of alternative treatments for different diagnoses and diseases sprouting throughout news stories everywhere on the online web.  I have found 5 organizations around Montreal that help develop medical research.




The McGill University Health Centre is an academic health centre with clinical missions surrounding eight different aspects: pediatric medicine (with the Montreal Children’s Hospital), medicine, surgery, neurosciences, women’s health, mental health, cancer care and Lachine & Camille Lefebvre. They also have missions in research and teaching. A major project the MUHC is working on in 2013 is a $2.355-billion investment in their Redevelopment Project. The Glen Site, the Montreal General Hospital and Lachine Hospital are being either built or modernized. This will enforce their vision on patient-centered care and integrate research and teaching projects.

A way to volunteer for the centre would be by partaking in clinical trials. These are defined as “carefully controlled experiments [that] test new medical treatments and techniques using volunteers”. They essentially test the safety and effectiveness of new medical treatments, find new methods of diagnosing specific diseases or disorders and attempt to improve the quality of life for people with certain medical conditions. Clinical trials at the MUHC are categorized in 4 phases, the first phase being one that only involved a few dozen people to test the safety of new medical procedures or drugs. The last phase is used for gathering long-term information. The severity of the tests tends to increase with phase. Clinical trials are very important because they can lead to finding new discoveries that a very great number of people can benefit from. Volunteering in a clinical trial comes with a set of established rules which define who can participate in the trial. This is a critical and essential step to filtering out volunteers because tests must be very precise and are determined by specific medical or health condition, age, gender etc. If you want to volunteer in a clinical trial ask your family doctor if you are legible for any trials being run by the hospital. There are many risks that come with volunteering for clinical trials because the outcomes are, for the most part, not predictable. The MUHC offers 400 different clinical trials so far with approximately 160 new trials every year.

The Royal Victoria Hospital, a hospital part of the MUHC, offers general medical care as well as innovative care for patients.  Volunteering at the hospital helps support the staff’s workload. Through volunteering, you will help relieve the loneliness, boredom and frustration that some patients may be experiencing.  Also, by supporting staff, you will enable them to provide a higher quality of care to the patients. To volunteer at The Royal Victoria Hospital, you must go pick up a form in an office (E 3. 10) or get it mailed to you by calling their phone number 514-934-1934 ext. 34300. This application form is not available online. This application must include 2 references from non-friends or non-family and a small paragraph explaining why you want to volunteer. A police background check is also part of the application. The hospital will then ask you to come in for an interview. There is then a general orientation process that you need to attend. Lastly, specific training is required. For more detail click this link.


I called The Royal Victoria Hospital’s Department of Volunteering to get some insight on these complicated steps. The lady on the phone with me was very polite. She told me that these interviews and applications are necessary to correctly match the volunteer with a specific task they would be fit for. The orientations and trainings are designed to help volunteers with hospital behavior such as how to approach patients. They are also designed to teach volunteers about the safety precautions that must be followed in order to prevent the spread of disease or infections. I asked the lady about what type of people they would reject. She told me that they only reject people if they are not bilingual for communication purposes and also if their schedules conflict with certain hospital hours.

Any volunteer can apply at any time. There is a program for CEGEP and high school students called the Step Program that allows them to volunteer in the summer. The deadline for the Step Program application for 2013 is on Friday, March 29th2013.



The Alzheimer Society of Montreal


The Alzheimer Society of Montreal is an organization that is committed to “alleviating the social and personal consequences of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, as well as promoting research into their causes and cure”. An advanced training for health care professionals will be taking place on Friday May 24th, 2013 at the Atwater Club between 8am and 5pm run by renowned dementia expert Teepa Snow. Prices for the event are 50$ for professionals and 25$ for students. For more information call 514 369-0800.

The volunteering opportunity allows the Society to better serve people who are touched by Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Volunteers are needed at activity centres where they can provide the people with stimulating activities. They are also needed at events and awareness conferences where information is distributed to various organizations. To become a volunteer, a form must be submitted to info@alzheimermontreal.ca or by mail at Alzheimer Society of Montreal, 5165 Sherbrooke St. West, Suite 410, Montreal, Quebec H4A 1T6. They also ask to send a short letter of motive and a CV. The society will then contact you to schedule an interview.

I sent an email to The Alzheimer Society of Montreal and they replied to me the next day. This is our conversation.



My name is Anthony Guerriero and I am a student at Champlain College St-Lambert. I had a couple of questions regarding the application on becoming a volunteer for the Alzheimer Society.

I would like a detailed explanation as to why there are so many procedures on becoming a volunteer. I would also like to know why each step is necessary. I would like a detailed explanation for each step's necessity (completing the form, sending a CV, sending a short letter of motive and passing an interview). What type of people are you looking for? What type of people do you reject if everyone's primary motive to volunteering is helping out and bettering the Alzheimer Society?

Thank you for your time!



Good day Anthony,


I thank you for your questions regarding our recruitment process for the Alzheimer Society of Montreal.


Every person living with the Alzheimer's Disease is vulnerable and therefore whomever is team up with them as to go through a scrutinized process. One additionnal step which is only discuss at the interview is a police check.


Additionnal to the form we ask for the CV in order to discover more from the it. A form is very short and sometime you will not mentionned everything from you. We will look at your extracurricular activities, what you've doen as volunteer, experience with musical instrument, special knowldege on special software, special experience which you may not see relevant for been a volunteer at the ASM but we would see a match!  Letter of motivation, is only to understand why you are knocking at our door. A short paragraph is enough. "My granpa was with the disease he past-away a year ago and I want to give back to the ASM who was helping him and granma".  During the interview we will question you about your mourning period after the death of your grand father, to see if you are detached enough and could be facing someone like your grandpa and helping him.   On the application form you may mark down your availability of Wednesday night only... we may have nothing to offer on Wednesday night. But through your cv we may discover that you are great on the computer and we may have a volunteer job you could do from your homeoffice and it would be greatly appreciate from us.


We never reject a potential volunteer. We have a job for everyone :)  For example, if you have been under restriction in the past because of violence, you will not be teamed up with a person living with Alzheimer to protect them. But you may be able to do office work for us.


Your questions are legit and it would be easier to answer tehm by phone. Please do not hesitate to contact me at 514 369-0800 ext.226.  My english is not perfect and I am scare here in writing to not properly answer you.


I am looking forward to speak to you and to welcome you as he volunteer for the Alzheimer Society of Montreal.





From this email response it is easy to see that the Society welcomes volunteers with open arms.


Aids Community Care Montreal


Aids Community Care Montreal is an organization “committed to building a community where all people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS receive the support they need”. The organization is currently working on 3 projects. The first is called ATOMc and the concept is to promote HIV and STI testing among guys who have sex with other guys. In short, guys give each other cue cards to obtain points every time they encourage someone to go get tested. With these points, they can win prizes.

The next project is called KONTAK that provides guys with sex-related supplies at specific distribution points in Montreal. The last project is called the Teacher’s Toolkit. The project started when sexual education courses in Quebec were removed from the high school education system. It provides high school teachers with the tools they need to teach the subject in an appropriate manner.

To volunteer, applicants must fill out a form and return it by email to volunteer@accmontreal.org. The organization claims that the process is very time consuming and intensive. They say that the application takes many weeks. They claim that this is necessary because it “ensure[s] that [they] can continue to provide high quality support services and education and prevention”. They also want volunteers to know that they are “important” to the organization and that their “time is appreciated”. This is a link to all the contact information. http://accmontreal.org/volunteer-centre/volunteer-centre-3/

I emailed the ACCM to ask them a couple of questions about the process of becoming a volunteer. I am still waiting for a reply.




My name is Anthony Guerriero and I am a student at Champlain College St-Lambert. I had a couple of questions regarding the application on becoming a volunteer for the ACCM. This is the link where I found my information on the organization's volunteering opportunities. http://accmontreal.org/volunteer-centre/volunteer-centre-3/


I would like a detailed explanation as to why there are so many procedures on becoming a volunteer. I would also like to know why each step is necessary. It would be nice if you can also explain to me why processing an application can take weeks. What type of tasks will volunteers be doing that require entire processes of screening and training? Why are these training essential?  I understand that you need to direct people who want to volunteer in an according fashion but I fail to see why this procedure is so complicated being that an activist’s primary goal is to help out your organization. Please clarify this for me. This ambiguity makes it difficult for me to want to volunteer with your organization. In my opinion organizations like yours should try to recruit as many volunteers as possible to better the life of people with AIDS/HIV. Please explain to me why you are selective with people who want to offer their help. What type of people do you reject? (This last question is the most important). 

Thank you for your time and help! 




The Little Angles Radiation Oncology Charity Society


The Little Angles Radiation Oncology Charity Society is a society that “focuses on support for Radiation Oncology clinics, research, and includes numerous diverse programs that enhance the medical, social and cultural growth of the cancer victim's family and friends values of life, serves the needs of the growing cancer population”. Their website is very difficult to navigate through because it is mostly made up of sponsor ads. In fact, their latest website update was in 2008.The only main event I found was a “virtual walk” where an avatar name Angeli walks around Canada’s provinces. You must give a $3.50 donation to proceed with this “project”. The virtual walk is one of the only links found on their “community events” page along with 5 more links you can donate to. They claim to be fully “volunteered based” but I did not find any contact information where I can ask to volunteer, nor did I see any cancer research involvement. I am well aware that this society is charity based but I found it in a list of volunteering opportunities provided by McGill University. I was quite disappointed to see that no real volunteering opportunity was on the website. It was mainly all donation related. The only contact information available was donation related. I don’t see how this organization is volunteer based as they claim to be if they do not have any volunteering applications on their website.



Douglas Mental Health University Institute


The Douglas Mental Health University Institute is dedicated to offering cutting-edge care and services as well as sharing advanced knowledge about mental health with its patients and surroundings. They do this by integrating people living with mental health problems into the care process and through teaching. They also have a team of distinguished researchers that invest $18.5M a year. They have events almost twice every week most of which are informative speeches on aboriginal mental health, boarding meetings, child psychiatry gran rounds, conferences, cross-training, general public activities and other forms of training. Volunteering for the institute is important because it improves patient’s quality of life. They support the institute by “sharing their time, friendship, personal qualities and strengths”. Becoming a volunteer is made simple. You must fill out an online form that shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to fill out. The only question they ask you is why you would like to volunteer. They do this because they want to match volunteers with patients or group patients. There is an interview following the application but it is just to better categorize you on what you can do and how you can help out the institute. All the volunteering information I found on the website was very well explained. The contact information for volunteering at the DMHUI is in this link.http://www.douglas.qc.ca/section/volunteering-85