March 10, 2006

Medical Reserve Corps mounts student recruitment initiative

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Medical Reserve Corps mounts student recruitment initiative

The Middle Tennessee Medical Reserve Corps (MTMRC) recently debuted its Student Corps with an educational session aimed at attracting student-volunteers from Vanderbilt University's Schools of Nursing and Medicine, Belmont University, Fisk University, Lipscomb University, Meharry Medical College, Middle Tennessee State University and Tennessee State University.

Housed in the National Center for Emergency Preparedness (NCEP) within VUSN, the MTMRC is committed to becoming an effective medical response component for public health and emergency preparedness for the Middle Tennessee region.

The newly formed Student Corps is envisioned as an important part of that effort, officials said.

“People are coming together from all departments, college and universities to make this happen and to be better prepared in time of need,” said Stephen Guillot, director, NCEP.

Wanting to help was a theme echoed by many of the students who attended the meeting.

“We are trying to get together so that when something bad happens, we're ready,” said Paul Butts, a first-year student at Meharry Medical College and a Student Corps leader.

“I'm here because if and when something happens, I don't like having a helpless feeling,” said Garrick Clouden, a third-year student at Meharry Medical College. “I want to be of some use. I want to help in some way.”

Also on hand was Phillip Carmona, R.N., a paramedic who works closely with the VUMC Burn Center as well as with the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. He taught the group the basics of mass triage, drawing on his experience with the U.S. Army's Special Forces to discuss the triage staffing, decision making and the ongoing process of crisis management.

MTMRC Student Corps members will undergo additional training during the next two months in preparation for the Emergency Preparedness Challenge, a limited, full-scale field exercise coordinated by officials with Metro Nashville and the Greater Homeland Security District 5 (Davidson, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson counties), scheduled for April 7-8.

There are more than 2,000 volunteers enrolled in MTMRC, and the organization is always looking for a wide variety of volunteers from health care, logistics, social work, even veterinary backgrounds who can be called on in time of need. For more information or to volunteer, visit