The Nassau County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) recruits and deploys

volunteer healthcare professionals to respond to emergencies as well as public health initiatives.

PDF FileClick here for the Nassau County Department of Health MRC Application Form

PDF FileClick here for the Nassau County Department of Health MRC Brochure

Medical Reserve Corps

Ann DeSimone, RN, BS, Director

Medical Reserve Corps Coordinator

What is the Medical Reserve Corps?

In response to the outpouring of volunteer support in the days following September 11, 2001, the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), a component of the Citizen Corps, USA Freedom Corps was created by President George W. Bush to foster volunteerism. It is a network of community-based, citizen volunteer Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) units, which have been initiated and established by people and institutions for use in their own communities. Medical Reserve Corps units provide health care professionals and others an organized mechanism through which they can volunteer their time and skills to strengthen their communities by preparing for and responding to large- scale emergencies, such as an influenza epidemic, chemical spill, or act of terrorism. In addition, MRC unit volunteers work to improve the overall health and well being of their communities by engaging in appropriate public health initiatives throughout the year.

Why a MRC?

The first response to any disaster is a local response. Being prepared to handle a large-scale emergency is a challenge for any community. A Medical Reserve Corps assists its community to be truly prepared by enlisting its residents to mobilize quickly to minimize disability, death and emotional trauma resulting from an emergency.

Who is Responsible for the Program?

President Bush tasked the Department of Health and Human Services, under Secretary Tommy Thompson, with developing and implementing the MRC. Secretary Thompson designated the Office of the Surgeon General (OSG) to take lead responsibility within HHS to develop a program to promote and support the development of the Medical Reserve Corps. The Office of the Surgeon General undertook this responsibility in March 2002. The OSG has already established a demonstration project under which grants were awarded to 42 eligible community-based organizations in 27 states. The Nassau County Department of Health is one of these grant recipients.

Who Can Volunteer?

Students in the health professions, practicing, retired or otherwise employed medical professionals such as doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, physicians assistants, veterinarians, and others.

If you have a medical background and have time to devote to a small number of planning meetings, trainings and mock emergencies - we can use you!

What do Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers do?

One key way in which we would use the Medical Reserve Corps would be in the event of a smallpox outbreak. Smallpox Vaccination clinics (also known as "Points of Distribution," or POD's) would be based at sites all around Nassau County. We would need the suitable staff to set up and work in these POD's in an appropriate role that uses their existing skills.

During emergencies, MRC volunteers may also provide an important "surge" capability to perform some functions usually performed by emergency health staff who have been mobilized (such as augment medical and support staff shortages at local medical or emergency facilities).

MRC volunteers are also a good resource for helping a community plan its response to numerous health related situations. They can assist with developing plans for health care during disasters, distribution of pharmaceuticals, and provide numerous tasks to help a community deal with public health issues when there is a shortage of regular health care providers or health care support staff.

What Training Will I Need?

Emergency preparedness and response is a highly coordinated effort and allows us to maximize our capabilities at a time of extreme disorganization and stress.

You may already know how to perform some of the medical and health functions we so desperately need. In most cases, your training as an MRC volunteer will focus primarily on learning our local emergency systems and health procedures, trauma response techniques, use of specialized equipment, and other methods to enhance your effective- ness as a volunteer.

Perhaps the most important part of your training will be learning to work as part of a team. An organized, well-trained MRC unit will be familiar with its community's response plan, will know what materials are available for use, will know its response partners, and will know where its skills can be put to best use and in a coordinated manner.

How Can I Volunteer?

Fill out and submit the attached MRC Response Form, including contact information, information about your expertise and health skills, area of practice, and language fluency.

What Comes Next?

After completing training, we will provide you with a regular update outlining how the MRC is developing, free CME opportunities, and other pertinent information.

In the event of an emergency, Nassau County Department of Health would contact you by phone or send a text message to your cellular phone or pager to let you know where to respond in your community. If necessary, we would vaccinate you, review the training to ensure that you're up-to-date, and assign jobs and schedules.

For more information or to apply (application form at top of page), please contact

Ann DeSimone, RN, BS, Director