Major Agencies

T he establishment of more than 100 voluntary health agencies since the beginning of this century has been a major factor in the growth of health services to the American public. These agencies, whose activities are made possible by donations of time and money from the public, occasionally augmented by government grants for special projects, have the following objectives: spreading information about various diseases to the professional and lay public; sponsoring research; promoting legislation; and operating referral services on the community level to patients in need of diagnosis, treatment, and financial aid.

Some of these agencies, such as the American Diabetes Association, the Arthritis Foundation, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and United Cerebal Palsy, focus on a particular disease; others deal with problems arising from related disorders, such as the National Mental Health Association, the American Heart Association, the National Kidney Foundation, and the National Easter Seal Society.

To coordinate the activities of these many groups, to promote better health facilities, and to establish standards for the organization and conduct of these agencies, the National Health Council was founded in 1920. Its membership includes business and industrial, nonprofit, and professional organizations, as well as the 46 voluntary health agencies described below, which command a total budget of almost $4.3 billion and involve the services of almost 12 million volunteers.

All of these organizations function on the national, state, and community level. Information and literature may be obtained through local chapters or by writing to the national office of the organization. Volunteers may offer their services in a variety of ways: as office workers, fund raisers, speakers, and community coordinators.

On the following pages, voluntary health agencies are discussed under the subjects with which they are concerned; the subjects are arranged alphabetically. Following these agencies is a brief discussion of other voluntary health agencies. Because of limitations of space, however, many worthwhile organizations have had to be omitted.

Drug Abuse

Cocaine Anonymous World

Services Office (CAWSO)


P.O. Box 2000

Los Angeles, California 90049-8000 (310) 559-5833

National Parent Resource Institute for Drug Eradication (PRIDE)

3610 Dekalb Technology Parkway Suite 105

Atlanta, Georgia 30340 (770) 458-9900

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