Medical Reserve Corps
The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Program coordinates the skills
of practicing and retired physicians, nurses and other health professionals
as well as other citizens interested in health issues, who are eager
to volunteer to address their community's ongoing public health
needs and to help their community during large-scale emergency situations.
Local community leaders will develop their own Medical Reserve Corps
Units and identify the duties of the MRC volunteers according to
specific community needs. For example, MRC volunteers may deliver
necessary public health services during a crisis, assist emergency
response teams with patients, and provide care directly to those
with less serious injuries and other health-related issues.
MRC volunteers may also serve a vital role by assisting their communities
with ongoing public health needs (e.g., immunizations, screenings,
health and nutrition education, and volunteering in community health
centers and local hospitals). Once established, how the local MRC
Unit is utilized will be decided locally. The MRC unit will make
decisions, with local officials, including the local Citizen Corps
Council, on when the community Medical Reserve Corps is activated
during a local emergency.
Learn more by visiting the Medical
Reserve Corps homepage.
The mission of the MRC is to engage volunteers to strengthen public
health, emergency response and community resiliency.
- 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.
When the southeast was battered by hurricanes in 2004, MRC volunteers
in the affected areas and beyond helped communities by filling
in at local hospitals, assisting their neighbors at local shelters,
and providing first aid to those injured by the storms. During
this 2-month period, more than 30 MRC units worked as part of
the relief efforts, including those whose volunteers were called
in from across the country to assist the American Red Cross (ARC)
and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
During the 2005 Hurricane Season, MRC members provided support
for ARC health services, mental health and shelter operations. MRC
members also supported the HHS response and recovery efforts by
staffing special needs shelters, Community Health Centers and health
clinics, and assisting health assessment teams in the Gulf Coast
region. More than 1,500 MRC members were willing to deploy outside
their local jurisdiction on optional missions to the disaster-affected
areas with their state agencies, the ARC, and HHS. Of these, almost
200 volunteers from 25 MRC units were activated by HHS, and more
than 400 volunteers from more than 80 local MRC units were activateded
to support ARC disaster operations in Gulf Coast areas.
To find a Medical Reserve Corps Unit in your area, click here.