Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps
What is MRC?
Following the terrorists attacks on September 11, many medical and healthcare professionals wanted to volunteer to help. However, there was no system in place to efficiently identify them, check credentials and training, and assign them to the "right place at the right time."
Anthrax attacks on the east coast made even more evident the need to identify and organize health professionals to help with mass drug distribution and immunization efforts for thousands of people.
Under the umbrella of the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the White House's USA Freedom Corps, the Medical Reserve Corps was created in 2002.
The MRC program's main objective is establishing a system to identify, train, and organize medical and public health professionals, as well as lay volunteers to supplement and support on-going emergency response systems and personnel.
The OKMRC is Oklahoma's only medical and public health volunteer program. OSDH contracts annually with EMSA to administer the OKMRC/ESAR-VHP program, and it is the responsibility of the administrating agency to meet program requirements. The OKMRC is a statewide system comprised of specialty teams, and county units operating under the authority of local county health departments. Unit coordinators collaborate with the OKMRC program office to ensure program consistency, operational continuity and develop a network of support. (See Appendix 1, OKMRC Program Organizational Chart.)
All MRC organizations share the common goals of:
- Creating teams of volunteer medical, public health, and lay professionals to help during emergencies and disasters.
- Offering education and prevention to improve the public health of neighborhoods and communities.
For example, in the Northeast region, the Tulsa MRC's planning is directed by a team including Tulsa Citizens Corps and the Emergency Medical Services Authority, organized under the office of the Mayor. Municipalities sponsor the MRCs in Lawton and Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma MRC NursesUnit is sponsored by the Oklahoma Nurses Association.
The OKMRC does not deploy medical equipment, supplies or pharmaceuticals. Organizations requesting assistance from the OKMRC must provide the supplies necessary for volunteers to effectively and safely accomplish their duties.