Highland News Leader

Volunteers sought for Medical Reserve Corps

Madison County Health Department is recruiting volunteers.

The health department will host Medical Reserve Corps volunteer orientation training March 27. Volunteers require no medical experience.

“When an emergency happens, Madison County Health Department Medical Reserve Corps is there to help respond to the needs of the community,” public health emergency management coordinator Michele Milton said. “Being prepared for a public health emergency is fundamental in preventing an emergency situation from becoming worse.”

Madison County Health Department is dedicated to protecting the health of its citizens during a public health emergency. However, the department recognizes emergencies are often too large for staff to handle alone. The Medical Reserve Corps is part of a national program developed to help local communities organize for a disaster that could impact the public’s health.

Public health emergencies are occurrences that may pose a significant threat to a population, such as a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or infectious disease outbreak. Madison County Health Department works to prepare for these emergencies, especially in the area of infectious disease.

During such a disaster, trained volunteers will be essential in aiding the health department in the distribution of antibiotics and vaccines to the population at risk.

“Our Medical Reserve Corps volunteers serve a vital role by assisting us to reach the community during large-scale emergency situations,” Milton said. “Individuals do not have to have medical background.”

Milton said preparedness is a shared responsibility, and it takes a whole community, adding that non-medical positions are available and are just as important, even during a public health emergency.

“Our goal is to trained volunteers function effectively in order to maximize community health during a public health emergency,” she said. “Volunteer orientation is the first step towards meeting this goal.”

Madison County Health Department encourages the community to be better prepared and invite community members to join in the effort. A terrific opportunity to get involved in preparedness in Madison County is to become a volunteer with the Medical Reserve Corps.

How to volunteer

The health department is seeking people 18 years of age and older with a variety of backgrounds and interests to join the Medical Reserve Corps.

Madison County Health Department will be holding a Medical Reserve Corps volunteer orientation training session on March 27 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Madison County Health Department, 101 E. Edwardsville Road in Wood River.

Volunteers will learn about the Madison County MRC, public health emergency response, incident command system, strategic national stockpile, points of dispensing and family preparedness.

Seating is limited for the event, and the registration deadline is March 20. Advanced registration is required to attend the training. To attend, contact Cathy Paone, Madison County Medical Reserve Corps volunteer coordinator at 618-296-6096 or cmpaone@co.madison.il.us.

Madison County Medical Reserve Corps is now part of the Gateway Volunteer Network (GVN) in the bi-state area (Missouri and Illinois). It is a collaborative effort to bring people volunteering for public health emergencies together into one group.

To learn more visit madisonchd.org; Facebook at MadisonCHD and Gateway Volunteer Network; Twitter @MadisonCHD; or YouTube at MadCoHealth.