Medical Reserve Corps
“Local first responders will be quickly overwhelmed in a public health emergency. Skilled volunteers will be crucial to the success of our local community response.”
-Boyd C. Hoddinott, MD, MPH
After the events of September 11, 2001, it became clear that our greatest concerns could become reality and that we will likely face significant challenges in this new millennium. As we cope with this realization, we find ourselves asking, will we be ready when the next disaster arises? What can I do to help my family, my friends, and my community when that day comes?
The Medical Reserve Corps
MRC units are community-based and are a way to locally organize and utilize volunteers - medical professionals and non-medical people - who want to donate their time and expertise to promote healthy living throughout the year and to prepare for and respond to emergencies. MRC volunteers supplement existing local emergency and public health resources.
Strengthening the Public Health Infrastructure and Improving Emergency Preparedness
- Increase disease and injury prevention
- Eliminate health disparities
- Improve public health preparedness
- Promoted Health Literacy
The Medical Reserve Corps is one way to help build our local public health infrastructure. This program allows our community to pre-identify, pre-credential, and pre-train a supplemental workforce in advance of when we need them. As a small, local public health agency, in a community with one local hospital, we could never employ the number of nurses, sanitarians, and educators needed to respond to a situation that may affect the entire county of more than 46,000 citizens. A volunteer workforce allows us to plan ahead and be ready should the need arise.
MRC volunteers include medical and public health professionals such as physicians, nurses, EMTs, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, and epidemiologists. Other community members, such as interpreters, chaplains, teachers and school staff, office workers, and legal advisers, can fill other vital support positions.
- During a public health emergency, you may be asked to help staff an emergency vaccination clinic or pharmaceutical distribution site.
- During times of non-emergency, volunteers will receive free emergency preparedness education and training and have the chance to serve as public health ambassadors.
- Some activities might include assisting with flu clinics, providing education sessions on special topics, and promoting immunization campaigns.
- Example, LCHD offered a Flu Clinic last year at Indian Lake High School and the previous year at Benjamin Logan High School. These were county-wide exercises of our mass vaccination clinic plan. We had several MRC volunteers help us at these 2 events so that we could test our plans and improve them. And, volunteers got a real-world picture of why we need their expertise and how they would be able to help in a real scenario.
- Licensed medical professionals and others with medical experience: Nurses, doctors, pharmacists, EMTs, veterinarians, dentists, nursing assistants, and others
- Mental health professionals: Counselors, social workers, therapists, psychiatrists, clergy, and others
- People with special skills: Computer specialists, translators, health educators, epidemiologists, biologists, chemists, and others
- Volunteers to provide basic support services
- Working in their profession
- Inactive in their profession
- Persons at least 18 years old