The mission of the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is to improve the health and safety of communities across the country by organizing and utilizing public health, medical and other volunteers.
The MRC was founded after President Bush's 2002 State of the Union Address, in which he asked all Americans to volunteer in support of their country. It is a partner program with Citizen Corps, a national network of volunteers dedicated to ensuring hometown security. Citizen Corps, along with AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and the Peace Corps are part of the President's USA Freedom Corps, which promotes volunteerism and service nationwide.
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 goal is to improve health literacy, and in support of this, he 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).
The Office of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps (OCVMRC) is headquartered in the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General. It functions as a clearinghouse for information and best practices to help communities establish, implement, and maintain MRC units nationwide. The OCVMRC sponsors an annual leadership conference, hosts a Web site, and coordinates with local, state, regional, and national organizations and agencies to help communities achieve their local visions for public health and emergency preparedness.