Wildcat region Medical Reserve Corps opens volunteer positions

Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 12:31 PM CST
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - Those who wish to volunteer in times of disaster in the Wildcat region have been given a chance to join the Medical Reserve Corps.

Officials with Riley County say that in 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the Health Department a $75,000 grant to reestablish a local Medical Reserve Corps of volunteers. They said the MRC will serve the region which includes Riley, Geary and Pottawatomie counties.

When volunteers join, RCHD said they receive a background check and emergency response training so they can help serve the community during disasters. The Corps prepares for and responds to natural disasters like wildfires, floods and tornadoes, as well as other emergencies that affect public health like disease outbreaks.

“Having a ready team of trained and vetted medical volunteers can be a game changer during a disaster,” said Skylar German, Riley County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. “The national MRC program started after 9/11 when doctors and nurses wanted to help but didn’t have a mechanism that allowed them to step in and lend a hand. Reviving the local volunteer program means our community won’t have to wait for help if they need it.”

Officials noted that volunteers include medical and public health professionals as well as other community members that may or may not have healthcare backgrounds and want to improve health and safety. Volunteers also contribute to community preparedness, engage in outreach activities and help community vaccination clinics.

RCHD indicated that MRC activities include:

  • Emergency preparedness and response training exercises
  • Emergency shelter operations and medical care
  • Disaster medical and behavioral health support
  • Community vaccination clinics
  • Veterinary care during disasters

“The specific roles and activities performed during and after a disaster will depend upon each volunteer’s background, interests, and skills, as well as the needs of the MRC unit and the community,” said German.

RCHD said current, retired and student medical professionals and veterinary specialists are needed the most. There is no minimum requirement for time commitment, however, every volunteer will be required to complete a basic level of training and will be given the chance to join outreach and education events throughout the year.

“This is a great way for students interested in pursuing a medical or veterinary career to add skills to their resume while giving back to the community. If anyone wants to learn more about the program or would like help signing up, please reach out to us. We’d be happy to talk with you,” said Pauline Gatica, volunteer coordinator.

To join the MRC, officials said interested parties should call German at 785-776-4779. An online interest form can also be filled out HERE.