About Us – Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)

About Us – the Arlington County MRC

A little about us – in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, thousands of Americans asked, “What can I do to help?”

Public health professionals were among those who wanted to volunteer their services, but many were not able to find a way to do so.  While these professionals had applicable skills sets, they could not be deployed. This was because they were not identified, credentialed or trained in advance. So, the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) was created to build a group of people who can assist existing local public health in the event of a true public health emergency or disaster.

Helicopter in foreground with smoke billowing from large building in the background

About Us – federal partners

MRC is a partner program with Citizen Corps, a national network of volunteers dedicated to ensuring hometown security. MRC units vary widely, depending on the needs of each, and the decisions made by the community’s leadership and its citizens. But, all programs and activities share the common goal of engaging volunteers. This so that they may help their communities prevent, prepare for and respond to public health emergencies and critical public health needs. Today there are almost 1,000 MRC units in all 50 states, and approximately 200,000 volunteers.

The Arlington County Medical Reserve Corps (ACMRC) was granted start-up funds from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) in October 2003. Its mission is to assist the Arlington County Public Health Division (ACPHD) during public health emergencies and disasters. Nationally, MRC is now under the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). Today, the Arlington County Medical Reserve Corps (ACMRC) has over 400 members, and is a strong team comprised of dedicated community members (with or without medical backgrounds) who contribute their skills, expertise and time to support the County’s public health needs.

About Us – regional & local partners

Person receiving medical treatment

The ACMRC supports its mission through the following activities:

  • Working with County agencies on emergency preparedness and response activities
  • Conducting outreach education in the community to promote healthy living habits and public health emergency preparedness
  • Strengthening volunteers’ ability to respond to public health emergencies through specific training programs
  • Identifying opportunities within the ACPHD for ACMRC members to participate in local public health initiatives
  • Maintaining volunteer communication through social networking, newsletters, email, and alerts
  • Recruiting and managing volunteers
  • Partnering with other MRC units in the National Capital Region (NCR), as well as other Citizen Corps groups

Within the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are 31 MRC units, including the Arlington County Medical Reserve Corps (ACMRC).  Visit the Virginia MRC and VAMRC Facebook.

At the national level, the MRC is run by the Division of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps (DCVMRC). The DCVMRC functions as a clearinghouse for information and best practices. It helps communities establish, implement, and maintain MRC units nationwide. The DCVMRC hosts a website, and coordinates with local, state, regional, and national organizations and agencies. This is to help communities achieve their local visions for public health emergency preparedness. For more information about the MRC program, please visit the DCVMRC site.