Medical Reserve Corps Approves 500th Unit
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
Thursday, Nov. 9, 2006
|Contact: Grace Middleton|
The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), a national network of locally based medical, public health, and other volunteers who help to strengthen the public health system of their communities, has reached a milestone. With the recent registration and approval of the Summit County, Utah, Medical Reserve Corps in Park City, the MRC now has 500 units. There are units all 50 States, Washington, D.C., Guam, Palau, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
"Local communities are benefiting from stronger public health systems and better emergency preparedness because of the work of the volunteers who serve the Medical Reserve Corps," said Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt. "The establishment of the 500th MRC unit is a landmark accomplishment and I am proud that the residents of Utah, my home state, are contributing to this achievement."
The Medical Reserve Corps program, housed in the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General in the Department of Health and Human Services, began as a demonstration project with 42 community-based units in July 2002. Since then, in addition to 500 MRC units, the Corps has almost 100,000 volunteers to provide medical and public health support. The Medical Reserve Corps continues to expand its strength and reach each day as local, state and national officials and response partners recognize the program and its large pool of volunteers as an asset.
"Summit County is proud to be the latest addition to the group of Utah and National Medical Reserve Corps units," said Katie Mullaly, emergency response coordinator for the Summit County Health Department. "This is an important program that will not only provide the needed medical personnel resources during an emergency, but will also bring the medical and emergency preparedness communities together in Summit County. We look forward to working with other local units and the national MRC program to improve the preparedness of all communities."
Last December, while developing the White House's Pandemic Implementation Plan, the MRC program was charged by the Homeland Security Council to grow by 20 percent - to 420 community-based teams - by the end of 2006. That measure was surpassed in mid-April. The MRC has now increased its numbers by an additional 80 units (43 percent growth so far this year).
"Medical Reserve Corps volunteers prepare for and respond to emergencies, but they also can support local public health initiatives, which is exactly where we need skills and energy," said Acting U.S. Surgeon General RADM Kenneth Moritsugu. Our communities need to be better prepared for a variety of situations. Now, with 500 MRC units, more towns, cities, and counties across the nation are better prepared to meet their challenges."
If a disaster strikes a community, trained MRC units and volunteers will respond when called. By working with preparedness, response, health, and other partners on an ongoing basis, MRC units are a part of the local infrastructure. Volunteers are prescreened and identified, with medical credentials verified to ensure their immediate availability to provide aid.
The MRC is a partner program with Citizen Corps, which is dedicated to hometown security. Citizen Corps, along with the national service programs such as AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Learn and Serve, and the Peace Corps, works with the USA Freedom Corps, an office of the White House charged with building a culture of service, citizenship, and responsibility in America.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Last revised: January 4, 2007