This September marks the fourteenth annual National Preparedness Month, created to raise public awareness about the importance of preparedness and encourage Americans to plan for emergencies. Each year during the month of September, more than 3,000 national, state, and local organizations commemorate National Preparedness Month by promoting guidance and resources that help communities effectively prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters and other catastrophic events. Ultimately, National Preparedness Month helps to ensure every resident in our nation has the skills they need to protect themselves and their families during an emergency. Continue reading
The following is an excerpt from the summer 2017 issue of NACCHO Exchange. The issue features in-depth articles about the work of Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) units across the country. In this condensed article, NACCHO explores the history and significance of the MRC program in an interview with program leaders Captain Rob Tosatto and Commander Skip Payne. Read the full article and download the issue in the NACCHO Bookstore at http://eweb.naccho.org/prd/?na766pdf.
By Brennan J. Leddy, M.A.Ed (Ctr), Communications Specialist, Medical Reserve Corps Program, Partner Readiness and Emergency Programs Division, Office of Emergency Management, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The Medical Reserve Corps is a national network of volunteers, organized locally to improve the health and safety of their communities. This year, the MRC celebrates its 15-year anniversary! Continue reading
By LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO
September marks National Preparedness Month, a golden opportunity for local health department (LHD) and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Unit leaders, staff, and volunteers to highlight the importance of public health preparedness. Whether it is a natural disaster, like the current flooding in New Orleans, or a sudden disease outbreak, like the Zika virus, raising awareness about preparedness, its various components, and the role of LHDs, MRC Units, other agencies, and community members is crucial to ensuring the health and safety of our nation. LHDs and MRC Units—typically leading the charge in the wake of a public health emergency—stand to particularly benefit in two big ways by celebrating Preparedness Month. First, they can pique community interest in emergency planning and response activities in September, and ultimately inspire residents to be vigilant and engaged in preparedness efforts throughout the year.
The following post was originally published on NACCHO’s Preparedness Brief blog. For more preparedness news and information, visit http://www.nacchopreparedness.org.
Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) partnerships with state and local officials provide key support to public health and emergency response services. The need for these partnerships to expand and strengthen is likely to increase as communities face ongoing budgetary declines and increasing demands on resources. Understanding the characteristics of these partnerships will help to identify where and how assistance can be provided to initiate and support MRC units and can also have the potential to influence policy and strategic decision-making from the local to federal level. Continue reading
How can you take your community’s talents and use them to make children healthy and active? Monmouth County, NJ, found a way by engaging a variety of health and educational professionals to pilot a “School Health Council” project called, “Action for Fitness in Monmouth County.” In 2010, Monmouth County piloted a School Health Council to promote healthy eating and exercise among schoolchildren and educate students and families about nutrition and fitness. The School Health Council was comprised of local health officials, a school administrator, school nurses, teachers, parents and members of the local Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) unit, the Monmouth County Health Department MRC.
The MRC is a national network of over 200,000 volunteers organized into almost 1,000 local units across the country. While many volunteers have a medical background, a significant number of volunteers are non-medical people who are interested in making their communities a better place by educating residents on how to be prepared for a disaster or sharing healthy lifestyle information. MRC units participate in activities based on the needs of their communities; in this instance, five volunteers were happy to share their medical expertise in the implementation of the School Health Council project.
In 2010, the School Health Council project pilot launched at Farmingdale Public School in Farmingdale, NJ, with the goal of increasing fitness, improving nutrition education and decreasing students’ body mass indexes (BMIs). To do so, the School Health Council implemented strategies recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to promote healthy lifestyles in children and parents. These strategies, which could be implemented in any community, included the following:
- Adopting health policies for school parties and celebrations;
- Planting an edible garden at the school where students can garden and eat the vegetables grown;
- Measuring students’ activity levels by giving each a pedometer; and
- Developing in-class and after school fitness activities; and instituting healthy cooking classes
MRC volunteers helped to support these activities in a variety of ways. One MRC volunteer, a chef by profession, hosted a demonstration to teach families how to make healthy and kid-friendly snacks. Other MRC volunteers provided expertise and gave feedback as medical professionals during School Health Council meetings. Non-medical volunteers walked weekly with groups of students to school and coordinated a Family Fitness Olympics.
This post originally ran on the Together Counts blog. Learn more at blog.togethercounts.com.