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Why was the MRC created?
The MRC program was created after President Bush’s 2002 State of the Union Address, in which he asked all Americans to volunteer in support of their country. The MRC is comprised of organized medical and public health professionals who serve as volunteers to respond to natural disasters and emergencies. These volunteers assist communities nationwide during emergencies and for ongoing efforts in public health.
The need for trained supplemental medical and public health personnel to assist with emergency operations was highlighted after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Many medical and public health professionals sought to support emergency relief efforts, but there was no organized approach to channel their efforts. The MRC program provides the structure necessary to deploy medical and public health personnel in response to an emergency, as it identifies specific, trained, credentialed personnel available and ready to respond to emergencies.
What does the name Medical Reserve Corps mean to our community?
Each community is different, and these differences may require alternative approaches to natural disasters and emergencies. The terms “medical” and “reserve” indicate that trained personnel are available to respond to emergencies requiring support to the community’s health and medical resources. “Corps” refers to an organized body of individuals with a similar function, in keeping with the example of Citizen Corps. Despite differences among communities, all communities can benefit from the MRC and can understand the MRC similarly. The “medical” in Medical Reserve Corps does not limit MRC units to medical professionals. Individuals without medical training can fill essential supporting roles.
- MRC units are community-based and function as a way to locally organize and utilize volunteers who want to donate their time and expertise to prepare for and respond to emergencies and promote healthy living throughout the year. MRC volunteers supplement existing emergency and public health resources
- MRC volunteers include medical and public health professionals such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, and epidemiologists. Many community members—interpreters, chaplains, office workers, legal advisors, and others—can fill key support positions.
- MRC units are provided specific areas to target that strengthen the public health infrastructure of their communities by the U.S. Surgeon General. These are outlined priorities for the health of individuals, and the nation as a whole, which also serve as a guide to the MRC. The overarching goal is to improve health literacy, and in support of this, she wants us to work towards increasing disease prevention, eliminating health disparities, and improving public health preparedness.
- MRC volunteers can choose to support communities in need nationwide.