The American Red Cross Was Founded in 1881 by Clara Barton

Running Head: American Red Cross American Red Cross Melissa Chaney Public and Community Health HCS/457 Professor Nancy Donegan August 2, 2010 American Red Cross The American Red Cross was founded in 1881 by Clara Barton in Washington D. C. The American Red Cross states that their mission is “The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers, guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, will provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies” (American Red Cross, 2010).

All funding for the American Red Cross is provided by charitable donations from the American public, participation in the United Way and Combined Federal Campaigns, and reimbursements and grants from local, state and federal government agencies for specific projects. “The American Red Cross has been the nation’s premier emergency response organization” (American Red Cross). The American Red Cross provides humanitarian services that include disaster relief, biomedical services, health and safety training, community services, and Armed forces Emergency Services. The Red Cross is supported by more than 1,200,000 Americans who serve as volunteers annually and about 30,000 employees support the work of the volunteers throughout the United States, with United States Armed Forces, and as international delegates around the world” (American Red Cross). The American Red Cross provides disaster services that begin long before disaster strikes. The volunteers for the Red Cross help communities prevent and prepare for disasters through comprehensive educational programs. “The American Red cross responds every tear to more han 63,000 disasters, including house fires, chemical spills, tornados, floods, and hurricanes” (American Red Cross). Relief workers help family’s recovery from tragedy by providing food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and counseling. In 1987, the American Red Cross and Centers for Disease Control developed a natural-disaster morbidity and mortality surveillance system. This surveillance system was unique in two ways, it collected information on the circumstances of deaths and injuries for disaster-affected populations, and it collected information on injuries and illnesses sustained by American Red Cross disaster field staff.

The Red Cross is the primary supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. “The organization collects over 6 million units of blood from approximately 41/2 million donors each year” (American Red Cross). A nationwide network of tissue centers supplies about twenty percent of tissue used for transplants in the United States, such as heart valves, skin, ligaments, tendons, bones, and blood vessels. The American Red Cross also conducts research to improve the safety of the nation’s blood supply and develop potentially lifesaving medical products.

The Red Cross provides health and safety training as part of its mission of emergency prevention and preparedness. Experts in medical and safety fields design the training programs to teach people the skills necessary to respond to an emergency. For example the Red Cross offers instruction in first aid, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). The Red Cross also provides training in lifeguarding and water safety, HIV/AIDS prevention, and other health and safety issues.

The Red Cross chapters across the United States provide humanitarian services to help people within communities lead safer, healthier, more self-reliant lives. Services include food pantries, meals on wheels, homeless shelters, schools clubs, and nursing home volunteers. The Red Cross provides Armed Forces Emergency Services (AFES) to help keep people in touch with family members serving in the United States military. The Red Cross locates military men and women and delivers information during times of personal crisis, such as a death or serious illness, in the family.

The organization also arranges emergency financial assistance to help military personnel meet family emergencies. The AFES staff accompanies military forces on missions to provide essential services as well as recreational activities to troops in the field. The AFES also offers counseling and Assistance to veterans and furnishes trained volunteers to work in military medical facilities and veteran hospitals. The American Red Cross maintains relations with national societies in their work.

The Red Cross provides emergency relief, food, and sanitarian programs and basic healthcare to disaster victims in other countries. The Red Cross also offers training in international humanitarian law and helps reunite family’s separated by war, disasters, and other emergencies. The backbone of the activities of the American Red Cross is provided by the volunteers and employed staff. “Over 1,100 Red Cross chapters provide services to communities in every part of the country. Members of Red Cross chapters elect a volunteer board of directors to oversee chapter programs and services.

Volunteers also serve on advisory boards for Red Cross blood collection regions and AFES stations. Volunteers and employees work in partnership at all levels of the Red Cross. They manage local operations and serve on state service councils, on regional and area committees, and at Red Cross national headquarters. The American Red Cross headquarters are in Washington, D. C. A 50 member board of governors, made up of volunteers, oversees the organization and develops national policies.

The president of the United States appoints the chairman of the board of governors and seven other board members. Representatives of chapters and blood collection regions elect 30 additional members at the organization’s annual national convention. The board itself elects 12 additional members at large. The chairman nominates, and the board approves, the president and the chief executive officer of the American Red Cross. Currently Gail J. McGovern is President and CEO, and Bonnie McElveen-Hunter is Chairman of the Board of Governors.

The Red Cross began as an armed forces organization and their families. The American Red Cross grew during World War I. The Red Cross met the welfare needs of rapidly expanding military forces. Red Cross field directors and other workers served troops in the United States and overseas. In 1917, home service was set up in many communities to provide a link between military personnel and their families. The Red cross also organized and equipped 58 military base hospitals, 54 of which went overseas” (American Red Cross). After the war, the Red Cross added millions f veterans and helped relieve war-caused suffering in many lands. During the 1920’s, the Red Cross established 2,400 public health nursing services throughout the United States. References American Red Cross, Museum-Explore Our History; The Federal Charter of the American Red Cross; Retrieved July 27, 2010. American Red Cross. 100 significant dates in American Red Cross History. Retrieved from http://americanredcross. com/meuseum/history/100dates. asp American Red Cross. (2010). American Red Cross. Retrieved from http://kmc. redcross. org/index_ARC. html [pic]