Medical Reserve Corps
The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a national network of more than 200,000 volunteers, organized locally to improve the health and safety of their communities. MRC volunteers step up to keep their family, friends, and neighbors safe and healthy. Currently there are 798 units across the nation. To find more information about the MRC Program nationwide visit aspr.hhs.gov/MRC.
Upper Cumberland Medical Reserve Corps
In 2002, the Upper Cumberland Region’s Health Department began recruiting volunteers to assist during a public health emergency. The Upper Cumberland’s volunteers joined the MRC in 2007 and became the Upper Cumberland TN Regional MRC unit.
The unit organizes and utilizes volunteers with all types of skills and/or credentials. It helps to build a successful network of medical and non-medical volunteers to support the public health workforce during a public health emergency. The unit serves the 14 counties in the Upper Cumberland region which consists of Cannon, Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, Van Buren, Warren, and White counties.
The volunteers’ role in the unit will be to practice their profession or skill as either an individual called up at the time of a disaster, or as part of a response team. For example, medical volunteers may assist with giving out medications or immunizations. Support volunteers may assist with directing patients, registration, or filling out forms.
All volunteers receive training on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Incident Command, Introduction to Mental Health Preparedness, and Point of Dispensing Operations classes. Volunteers are also invited to participate in emergency drills and/or exercises.
One of our top priorities is to plan for our vaccination/medication point of dispensing sites. All 14 counties in the region have at least one site identified. These sites are where individuals will go to receive vaccine or medicines during a public health emergency.
Over the years, this plan has grown and now takes an all-hazard approach that includes planning for pandemic influenza, natural disasters including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, and radiological disasters. Our public health staff and our Medical Reserve Corps volunteers may work at point of dispensing sites or at shelters after disaster ex. flood, tornado, ice storm.
The Tennessee Volunteer Mobilizer is an online system that serves as the registration and management tool able to quickly identify and assist in the coordination of volunteers in an emergency. To register as a Medical Reserve Corps volunteer, visit the Tennessee Volunteer Mobilizer website at https://tnmrc.org.