The NYS Justice Center's Surrogate Decision-Making Committee Needs You!

Benefits of Being an SDMC Volunteer Panel Member:

  • You will make timely and responsive medical decisions for individuals who lack the ability to do it themselves
  • The required training is free and available online
  • The time commitment is flexible (as little at 3-5 hours per month) and you can choose to accept to participate or decline when asked
  • Travel for SDMC panel hearings, which are held in every county across the state, is reimbursable
  • This interesting and rewarding experience makes a big difference in someone else’s life
  • You will meet other professional and caring volunteers who share your desire to help people in need

Already an SDMC Volunteer?

If you’re already an SDMC volunteer panel member and would like to update your contact information and availability, please complete the following form. A PDF version of the Member Handbook is also available below.

Want to Become an SDMC Volunteer? Here's What You Need to Know:

A four-person panel reviews each individual case and takes testimony regarding the individual’s capacity, the availability of a surrogate decision-maker, and the need for treatment. Volunteer panel members from the following categories work together to make the decision:

  • NYS licensed health care professional (e.g., physician, nurse, licensed social worker)
  • NYS licensed attorney
  • Family member of individual with developmental disabilities or former patient served by SDMC
  • Advocate for persons with disabilities (e.g., persons with demonstrated interest in the care and treatment of individuals with behavioral health or developmental disabilities)

Step 1: Getting Started

To help you decide whether becoming an SDMC volunteer panel member is right for you, please watch this short video on what being a volunteer entails and view our frequently asked questions document on becoming an SDMC volunteer.

We hope you found those materials helpful in gaining an understanding of what it means to be an SDMC volunteer panel member. Please complete our Volunteer Panel Member Application and begin the training in Step 2 to get started. The SDMC Volunteer Training Coordinator will contact you to answer any questions and welcome you to the program.

    Step 2: Mandatory Volunteer Training Modules

    Below are the seven (7) required training modules to assist you in developing the background and knowledge of the SDMC hearing process and your roles as a volunteer panel member. Please view them in order. It is recommended that you complete them within one week for the most productive and comprehensive learning experience.


    Step 3: Guidance Documents

    Listed below are guidance documents and reference materials that will enhance and support you in your understanding of some of the duties and responsibilities you will have when serving as a panel member.

    Step 4: Completing the Post Training Packet

    New volunteers must download and complete the entire Post-Training Packet as the final step to becoming a Volunteer Panel Member for SDMC. The Packet contains the following:

    • The SDMC New Volunteer Panel Information Form/Attestation
    • The Public Officer Oath/Affirmation, which must be signed in two places before a Notary Public. SDMC Volunteers must comply with the NYS Public Officers Law §78 Certificate; signing indicates an acknowledgement of receipt/reading of the Public Officers Law sections 73, 73-a, 74, 75, 76, 77, and 78.

    When complete, please submit the full Post Training Packet to SDMC.

    To contact the SDMC Volunteer Training Coordinator for additional information or questions, please call 518-549-0328 or send an email.