department banner

SOAR Program

SOAR - Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery.

Designed by the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, this hospital-based program is intended to make it easier for volunteers to provide peer support to patients and their families. Peer support assists in adapting to a burn injury through sharing similar experiences.

Many people who successfully recover from a burn injury find purpose and meaning by helping others make the transition from burn victim to burn survivor. Those who recover successfully have learned a lot through trial and error and hope to make the road easier for others. The SOAR training program empowers volunteers with information and skills needed to provide appropriate forms of support.

After volunteers have applied to the program and been screened and trained, the program matches them with patients who have been identified as wanting to speak to another burn survivor.

To request a SOAR visit for you or your child, please submit a copy of our Patient / Caregiver Referral Form to our SOAR Coordinator. You can either fax it to 734-232-3833 or mail it to:

SOAR Coordinator
University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center
1500 E. Medical Center Dr. UH 1C435
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5033

If you have experienced a burn injury and are interested in helping other burn survivors, please contact our SOAR Coordinators:
Kristy Brown: kribro@med.umich.edu
Becky Noel: rkasprza@med.umich.ed
Michelle Kelm: hillier@med.umich.edu


Every day will get better

At 12 years old, Tracy suffered second and third degree burns on over 70 percent of her body in a devastating car accident.

Today, nearly 30 years later, Tracy spends her free time volunteering to help others. As a SOAR Volunteer, Tracy says, "I always knew I wanted to help at a burn center, and when I found out about the SOAR program, I knew this was my chance. Everybody's journey is different, but attitude can really make a difference. The majority of patients I've visited have been teenage girls and their parents. I typically get a surprised reaction when I introduce myself as a burn survivor, followed by questions which I'm glad to answer. The parents especially are encouraged by how I look, my career, my marriage, my overall ability to live a "normal" life. I hope that I give these burn survivors and their parents a sense of what life can be like down the road."

-SOAR Volunteer Tracy