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Volunteering for The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute is a rewarding opportunity, giving you the chance to make a difference in the lives of our patients and their families. Since 1935, cancer patients in metropolitan Detroit have benefited from the care of thousands of our devoted volunteers.

We rely heavily on our caring volunteers throughout the community in many important capacities to further our work of eradicating cancer while improving the lives of those diagnosed with the disease.

If you are interested in volunteering please complete the online application.

Volunteer Positions

The following are descriptions of a the Karmanos Cancer Institute volunteer opportunities. On-the-job training is provided for all positions. Most positions require volunteers during normal business working hours. In some circumstances, evening and weekend hours can be arranged. Our volunteers include high school students, professionals, service club members, homemakers, medical students and retirees

Since volunteer opportunities change and evolve continuously, this list describes more traditional placements. Volunteers who have special interests, expertise or experience are often placed in other roles.

Clerical Support
  • Location: Varied. To include many main campus departments, Farmington Hills and New Center One locations.
  • Shifts: Varied, flexible in times and days dependent on need.
  • Summary: Able to provide flexible day to day support with filing, data entry, mailings, answering phones and assembly projects. Good organizational skills. Computer skills a plus.
Community Education
  • Location: Detroit and the tri-county area
  • Shifts: Varied
  • Summary: Volunteers may assist with providing cancer screening and prevention information at community education events. Need excellent communication skills, the ability to engage the public in learning more about Karmanos and cancer information.  Able to drive to community locations, set up and break down of displays. Ability to lift 20lbs.

Fundraising/Third Party

  • Location: Detroit and the tri-county area
  • Shifts: Varied
  • Summary: Our Third Party Events (Friends Raising Funds) program is made up of dedicated individuals and organizations who raise funds and awareness for the Karmanos Cancer Institute throughout the year. These supporters accomplish this by hosting their own fundraising events such as golf outings, walks, or galas.

Through these exciting partnerships, essential funds are raised to support cancer research, patient care and prevention, education and cancer screening programs. The Karmanos Development Department provides these individuals or organizations with support. This support includes: providing educational material, assistance with marketing, and volunteers or speakers to address the guests attending the event.

Volunteer Responsibilities: Third Party Event volunteers are needed at many of the Friends Raising Funds events throughout the year. These events can be anything from a zumbathon to a knitting expo to a formal dinner and anything in between. Volunteer responsibilities at these types of events include: participant check-in, raffle ticket sales, water distribution, auction monitors, etc. Volunteers are always provided with event details, a day-of contact, and all of the materials they need to complete their task.

Hospitality/Friendly Visitor
  • Location: Outpatient Clinics-main campus (Infusion, Hostess Cart, Information desk) & Weisberg-Farmington Hills
  • Shifts: Monday through Friday, varied
  • Summary: Exceptional customer skills are needed for this position. This volunteer position provides caring support to patients and families in the outpatient areas to ensure an excellent patient experience. Provides directional assistance and way finding.   Also assists with providing refreshments and engaging visitors in friendly conversation in patient treatment areas.   
  • Location: Karmanos Inpatient Units
  • Shifts: 7 days per week. Three shifts:  8:00 a.m.-12:00p.m., 12:00 p.m.--4:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
  • Summary: Provides companionship and comfort assisting in creating an environment more responsive to an individual patient’s needs. Assists patient’s with meals and delivers fresh ice water as permitted. Maintains patient/visitor hospitality areas. Provides staff support as directed.
  • Location: Main Campus that includes: Wertz, Gershenson Radiation Oncology,  Pharmacy, Dresner Family Clinic
  • Shifts: Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
  • Summary: Greet all new patients; serve as escort to their first visit. Provides the first time patient with a tour and information regarding facility, resources and amenities. Escorts and/or provides wheelchair transportation to returning patients for appointment destinations. Anticipates the needs of patients and their families and strives to exceed their expectations.
Other Patient Support Services
  • Location: Main Campus, Inpatient and Outpatient areas
  • Volunteer Shifts: Monday-Friday,  times varied
Pet Therapy
  • Summary: These special volunteers and their handlers provide both psychological and physiological benefits in the patient experience. It facilitates a less clinical and more comfortable environment for patients and visitors. These friendly visitors encourage communication and change routine clinical environments into a warmer friendly one.    Appropriate immunizations, animal obedience and control a must.
  • Summary: Provides musical entertainment in outpatient waiting areas and inpatient floors.
Educational Resource Center
  • Location: Main Campus - Wertz Clinic
  • Shifts: Monday through Friday. 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
  • Summary:  Assists in providing patients/visitors with cancer related information.  Provides educational program updates in clinical and waiting areas. Provides support to nursing staff with patient educational program set-up, check in and organization of presentation materials. Stocking and organization of materials for community education events.
Emergency Room
  • Location: Harper Hospital Emergency Room
  • Shifts: Varied
  • Summary: The role of this volunteer is patient advocate and liaison for Karmanos cancer patients.  Compassionate listening, excellent verbal skills and the ability to focus on a low stress visit in a busy medical center emergency room. May provide blankets, support and snacks as permitted.
Weisberg/Hospitality Friendly Visitor
  • Location: Farmington Hills
  • Shifts: 8:00-12:00 pm or 12:00-4:00 pm
  • Minimum age: 25
  • Summary: Volunteers in the outpatient clinics are needed to provide a warm and welcoming presence to patients and their families. Circulate in the waiting areas and open clinic rooms. Engage in friendly conversation with patients as deemed appropriate. Maintain nourishment center and assist with visitor refreshments. Basic clerical support to include: filing, data entry, mailings, answering phones and assembly projects. Complete other tasks as assigned by on site supervisor. Good communication skills are essential. Individuals must be friendly, personable and willing to seek assistance from staff when needed. The volunteer must demonstrate a readiness to assist others and be flexible in providing support to meet the needs of the patients, visitors and staff. They must possess the ability to maintain healthy relationships including the boundaries associated with a volunteer role. A self-starter who can work in a team-centered environment, as well as independently with minimal direction and supervision is a must.

Additional Volunteer Information

All of our volunteers are required to review the following information to ensure your safety and security, as well as for the protection of our patients.

Once you review the information from each of these modules, please download the confirmation form below, complete the form and return it to the Volunteer Office.

Please click on the categories to view the NetLearning modules:

Compliance Program and Code of Conduct (.ppt*)

Customer Service (.ppt*)

Environment of Care (.ppt*)

Harassment (.ppt*)

HIPAA (.ppt*)

Infection Prevention for all KCI/KCC Staff (.ppt*)

Infection Prevention for Patient Care Services  (.ppt*)

Injury Prevention and Body Mechanics (.ppt*)

Respecting Patient Rights (.ppt*)

Workplace Violence (.ppt*)


For any questions you may have regarding volunteering for the Karmanos Cancer Institute please contact 313-576-9289, or email


© 2014 Karmanos Cancer Institute Pencil
The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center is accredited by The Joint Commission.
If members of the public have any quality-of-care or safety concerns, they may notify The Joint Commission at 630-792-5800.