In Massachusetts we’ve come to recognize and appreciate that when emergencies happen, our local communities band together to respond. And these community-level responses are exemplified by the work done by local Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) units.
The Medical Reserve Corps is a national network of local groups of volunteers committed to improving the public health, emergency response, and resiliency of their communities. 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 and fulfill medical and non-medical roles. Members include medical and public health professionals such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, and epidemiologists as well as other community members like interpreters, chaplains, office workers, and legal advisors. MRCs also offer a great opportunity for students and retirees to get involved and support their local communities.
With 46 MRC units in Massachusetts engaged and actively working to support local public health and emergency response efforts, this past year the Commonwealth led the nation in the total number of MRC activities that were reported by states. MRC activities in Massachusetts included holding and participating in trainings, volunteering at emergency shelters, assisting at local community flu clinics, and supporting various initiatives during September’s Emergency Preparedness Month Campaign, Together We’re Ready: Massachusetts Prepared.
The most prolific units that made the top 20 MRC activity list for the nation included the Cape Cod Medical Reserve Corps, City of Springfield Medical Reserve Corps, East Longmeadow Medical Reserve Corps, Worcester Regional Medical Reserve Corps, and North Shore-Cape Ann MRC Unit. Congratulations to all of the Massachusetts MRC units for their continued tireless work and commitment to providing outstanding services to their communities. To learn more about your local MRC units, visit www.mamedicalreservecorps.org. If you’re interested in signing up as a volunteer, please visit www.maresponds.org.
And that’s not the only indication of the strength of Medical Reserve Corps units in Massachusetts. In early December, the National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHSPI) was released. The NHSPI, which is administered by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a measure of how well communities, states, and the nation are prepared for emergencies that have potentially negative health consequences. Not only did the Commonwealth score at the top of the Index, but Massachusetts also received a score of 9.9 out of 10 in the category of Management of Volunteers During Emergencies, which well exceeds the national average of 3.7, demonstrating strength and leadership in the MRCs and other volunteer programs across the state.
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