The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) program, is part of Citizen Corps. MRC was proposed by President George W. Bush during his 2002 State of the Union Address in response to the overwhelming number of medical professionals and others who sought to volunteer their services following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Notwithstanding their desire to help, many volunteers were unable to do so because they had not been identified, credentialed, or trained in advance. With a Medical Reserve Corps program in place, local emergency response agencies and hospitals have access to an organized group of willing volunteers during emergencies or for other community needs.
Role of MRC
Local Boards of Health have been working on Public Health Comprehensive Emergency Management Plans (PH-CEMP) that include Infectious Disease Emergencies, Emergency Dispensing Sites (EDS), and Pandemic Flu Planning. Additionally, local hospitals have been drafting plans for Influenza Specialty Care Units (ISCU). MRC volunteers play key roles in these and other surge event planning.
Without an extensive group of certified and trained volunteers, local communities and hospitals have no practical way of providing medical surge and outreach during large scale public health emergencies. MRC volunteers also have assisted Local Boards of Health with initiatives such as flu clinics, identifying Special Populations and promoting healthy habits.