The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) was founded by the federal government shortly after 9/11. The national system brings together people who have skills related to health care as well as citizen volunteers. They serve as a team during times of emergency or need in their own community. MRC units are trained and prepared to respond to emergencies and they provide education, outreach and various health services throughout the year. They function as part of their local emergency preparedness teams. MRC units supplement existing emergency and public health resources and agencies such as Red Cross, local public health, fire, police, and ambulance services. The result is a collaborative effort that is prepared for large scale public health crises. Each MRC conducts its role in the way that best suits the unique challenges for its area. In addition members can also choose to support communities in need in another area of the state or country, as many did during hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The Medical Reserve Corps program office 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 across the nation. The MRC Program Office 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. For more information about the MRC program, please visit the national website at www.medicalreservecorps.gov.
Currently, there are approximately forty MRC units in Massachusetts. For a complete listing of MRC units, please click here.
MA Responds is an online registration system for health volunteers. This system is a partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), local Medical Reserve Corps units, and other volunteer organizations in Massachusetts. Registering with MA Responds will allow
you to volunteer for a variety of public health events.
Ways to Volunteer
There are four options to choose from when signing up as a volunteer.
- Join the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).
- Become a state-unaffiliated volunteer.
Volunteers include neighbors and citizens who are interested in helping out in the event of a statewide public health emergency but
are not members of a local MRC unit. Please note: You may register as both an MRC member and state-unaffiliated volunteer.
- Become a Disaster Behavioral Health Responder, a part of the Mass Support Network.
- Become a SMART volunteer working as part of the State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team (SMART ).
New volunteer opportunities continue to become available. To learn more go to www.maresponds.org