History and Role of the Medical Reserve Corps

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History of the Medical Reserve Corps

Uniting Communities – Preparing the Nation

In his 2002 State of the Union Message, President Bush called on all Americans to make a lifetime commitment of at least 4,000 hours – the equivalent of two years of their lives – to serve their communities, the nation, and the world.  President Bush announced the creation of USA Freedom Corps to help Americans answer his call to service and to foster a culture of service, citizenship, and responsibility.

The Citizen Corps is the component of USA Freedom Corps that creates local opportunities for individuals to volunteer to help their communities prepare for and respond to emergencies.

The Medical Reserve Corps is the component of the Citizen Corps that will bring together local health professionals, community volunteers to provide support services, and others with relevant skills.

History of UGA MRC

The UGA MRC was first conceptualized in the Spring of 2012.  It was believed that a campus MRC unit could augment UGA’s current response and resiliency capabilities along with the surrounding county. Because UGA has multiple medical professional colleges, the College of Pharmacy, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the new Georgia Regents University/UGA Medical Partnership, from which trained professionals could be recruited, UGA was identified to house the unit.

Stakeholder meetings were held in June 2012 with multiple organizations within UGA and Clarke County in order to develop an advisory board and outline the unit’s mission and guiding principles. These efforts culminated with the establishment of the UGA MRC on July 23, 2013.

The Role of the UGA MRC

In an emergency, the UGA MRC will provide support and assistance to the organization(s) in Clarke County and on UGA campus that request assistance. UGA MRC volunteers will be assigned their duty, given just in time training, and told when and where to report via Georgia Responds web-based volunteer registry system.

Major emergencies can overwhelm the capabilities of first responders, particularly during the first 12 to 72 hours. UGA MRC volunteers can provide a vital capacity during this critical period. In a nutshell, communities often need medically trained individuals and others to increase their response capabilities.

The UGA MRC functions by organizing and utilizing volunteers who want to donate their time and expertise to prepare for and respond to emergencies and promote healthy living throughout the year. UGA MRC augments existing emergency and public health resources. The responsibilities of UGA MRC volunteers vary, depending on the nature of the needs in Clarke County and on UGA’s campus. UGA MRC volunteers can assist during emergencies, with public initiatives, and with ongoing community health outreach and education efforts.