December 17, 2004

Medical Reserve Corps to aid in emergencies

Featured Image

From left, Barbara A. Petersen, director of the Nurse-Midwifery Program celebrates pinning Nurse-Midwifery student Soheyl Asadsangabi, with Mavis Schorn and Margaret McGill, who are both assistant professors in the program.
photo by Heather Hall

Medical Reserve Corps to aid in emergencies

The Vanderbilt School of Nursing and the Department of Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt, in conjunction with the Nashville-Davidson County Health Department and the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management, are building a local Medical Reserve Corps of trained health care professionals who could respond to a mass casualty or other emergency in the community.

The Medical Reserve Corps was established after the events on Sept. 11, 2001, as a way for health professionals to volunteer to be a part of a locally based group of disaster responders. “The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing received federal funding to begin work on building a Medical Reserve Corps program in Middle Tennessee, in part because of the School's creation of a National Center for Emergency Preparedness,” said Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., professor and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and founder and director of the International Nursing Coalition for Mass Casualty Education.

Seth Wright, M.D., associate professor of Emergency Medicine and director of the Middle Tennessee Medical Reserve Corps (MTMRC), said there is a need for a wide variety of health care providers and support personnel on a volunteer basis. “We're looking for nurses, physicians, pharmacists, dentists, respiratory therapists, mental health specialists, Emergency Medical Technicians, and other health care and public health professionals,” said Wright.

Carmen Rich, R.N., director of recruiting for the MTMRC, and a nurse in both the pediatric and adult emergency departments at VUMC, recognizes the resource potential the area.

“We are particularly interested in recruiting health care workers who may be licensed but not working full time or are retired or people who wish to learn how to become involved in building a plan to help our community in a disaster situation," said Rich.

The MTMRC will offer health care assistance in the event of an emergency situation in Nashville or surrounding communities. Volunteers may be called upon to staff vaccination clinics, provide educational support, and assist other health care providers in Middle Tennessee if resources become overwhelmed.

The MTMRC will educate and credential volunteers to be a part of the local community response team. The required time commitment for most members will be minimal. To find out more about volunteering for the Middle Tennessee Medical Reserve Corps log on to: