Medical Reserve Corps

Massachusetts Medical Reserve Corps Newsletter for Unit Leaders Fall 2012

posted Dec 31, 2012, 9:06 AM by Mary Kersell





 MA Responds Update



Upcoming Trainings


The next MA Responds administrator training will be held on Wednesday January, 9. If you (or someone from your unit) would like to attend this training, please contact Liza Martin, Massachusetts Medical Society, at .  Space is limited.  



MA Responds and Social Media


MA Responds launched a social media campaign in September with standardized messages sent throughout the month. Each week the social media team sent one MA Responds Facebook post and one Tweet. The campaign focused on the following themes: 

Week 1: Be Informed: How to recognize an emergency and what to do

Week 2: Make a Plan: Preparedness plans for family, children, pets

Week 3: Build a Preparedness Kit: How to and what to include in readiness kit

Week 4: Get Involved: Various ways people can get involved or volunteer


The social media campaign will continue to employ these practices on an ongoing basis.  


Join MA Responds


MA Responds recently expanded with the additions of the Wachusett MRC and Bridgewater Area MRC units.  Currently, 39 Massachusetts MRC units participate in MA Responds.  If your unit is not yet a member, please contact Regan Checchio, at Regina Villa Associates for more information.


Please visit the MRC state website to download a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Once the MOU has been signed and returned to DPH, your unit can join a group of units integrating into the system. A copy of the MA Responds Policy and Procedures manual is also available on the MRC state website. For more information about MA Responds, please contact Lindsay Tallon.




Disaster Behavioral Health Training Series



The Massachusetts Department of Public Health Emergency Preparedness Bureau is pleased to announce the dates for the 2012-2013 Disaster Behavioral Health Training Series. DPH in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, is supporting the Boston Medical Center - Center for Multi-Cultural Mental Health to provide Psychological Resilience Basic, Advanced, and Train the Trainer courses at locations throughout the Commonwealth. The training curriculum focuses on building psychological resilience for individuals responding to a disaster as well as how to provide Psychological First Aid to anyone impacted by a disaster. The trainings were developed during 2011-2012, are based on the most current research, and include several interactive components to practice the course material. These trainings are relevant to a wide variety of professional and volunteer healthcare, mental health, public health, and public safety personnel. The program was developed with MRCs specifically in mind with the belief that the Psychological First Aid skills taught during the trainings would be invaluable to MRC members in the variety of roles they fill. Additionally, the Train the Trainer option provides MRC units with the opportunity to to become a self-sustaining unit in regards to ongoing behavioral health training for new members.  Continuing education credits will be available for several professional licenses. Training dates can be found below. Additional information and online registration  can be accessed through the training series' website.


Psychological Resilience - Basic

  • January 29 & 30, 2013 (Tuesday and Wednesday)     Worcester - location to be confirmed
  • February 12 & 13, 2013 (Tuesday and Wednesday)           New Bedford - location to be confirmed
  • March 12 & 13, 2013 (Tuesday and Wednesday)   Northampton - location to be confirmed

Psychological Resilience - Advanced

  • June 6, 2013 (Thursday) Boston - location to be confirmed
  • June 7, 2013 (Friday) Worcester - location to be confirmed

Psychological Resilience - Train the Trainer

  • April 23 & 24, 2013 (Tuesday and Wednesday)     Northampton - location to be confirmed




Hurricane Sandy in Massachusetts

Summary Report


In the wake of Hurricane Sandy unit leaders were asked to report on emergency response efforts in their regions. Overwhelmingly leaders described being well prepared for the storm. Nearly all units had volunteers on standby to activate if necessary. Many leaders harkened to lessons learned from the tornado in 2011 and reported being better prepared to handle Sandy's effects. At least nine units reported deploying volunteers into shelters. The longest duration that any shelter was kept open was 48 hours. A unit leader from North Shore/Cape Ann proudly testified that the shelter that opened in Lynn "was so well run and executed we are using it as a benchmark and as a presentation tool for the rest of our coalition." Several areas in Cape Cod, Chelmsford, Needham, New Bedford and Monson, among other towns lost power and set up warming and charging stations that were staffed by MRCs. In Needham a showering station was established at a local YMCA for which "residents were very grateful." With most in state emergency responses effectively in place, Holyoke unit leader Kevin Elliot managed to travel to Rockaway New York to lend a hand.  




Volunteer Spotlight


Lorraine Horn 


Lorraine Horn


When Greater River Valley Unit Leader Dave Nichols was asked for a volunteer spotlight nomination,  his response was prompt and unequivocal. "Lorraine Horn is an RN who is extremely conscientious and giving of her time and talents."   A retired ICU/CCU (intensive care unit/critical care unit) nurse, Ms. Horn continues to work to ensure that the public health and safety of her immediate town and of the greater Massachusetts community are maintained. 


Ms. Horn first learned about the Medical Reserve Corps through her participation in trainings led by the Reading Department of Public Health (DPH) and through the Massachusetts System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professional (MSAR). In 2007, she received a recruitment letter from the newly constituted Greater River Valley MRC (which at the time included her hometown of Reading).   Ms. Horn recalled, "I wanted to contribute. I retired from hospital nursing and this was a new good fit."  In 2009, Ms. Horn underwent a CORI check, was credentialed and became an officially badged MRC volunteer.


By taking advantage of all the free trainings and CEUs, Ms. Horn was able to expand her expertise from hospital-based nursing to on-call Emergency Preparedness nursing. During H1N1 in 2009-2010, she attended a full day Vaccinator Training program sponsored by the MA DPH. Licensed to administer vaccinations to children and seniors, she immediately began volunteering her services in the Reading, Andover and North Andover schools and senior centers.  In addition to teaching preventative techniques to avoid the spread of germs, Ms. Horn recollected, "it was such an incredible feeling to be part of a massive effort to vaccinate so much of the state's population."  With pride, Ms. Horn recalled that the Greater River Valley MRC  was recognized with a certificate of appreciation for its vaccination efforts from the Office of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps (OCVMRC) and the Office of the US Surgeon General.  Because of volunteers like Ms. Horn, just over half of the Massachusetts population (well over the national average) were vaccinated.


Ms. Horn's investment in the MRC program extends beyond Greater River Valley to the towns represented by North Shore - Cape Ann MRC.  Soon after introducing herself to a Rockport Town Nurse, Ms. Horn found herself volunteering at a Rockport Community Family Flu Clinic.  Volunteering for both MRC units has provided Ms. Horn with a breadth of opportunities to be involved and, "to be an active member of my community, able to watch some of the same kids year after year coming to get their shots at the school clinic."


Recent challenges for Ms. Horn include sheltering. Last October, she volunteered at a senior shelter in North Andover when electrical outages hit the area. After this experience, she participated in a series of sheltering seminars put on by the Greater River Valley MRC in collaboration with the American Red Cross of Eastern MA. 


Reflecting on her years of volunteering, Ms. Horn is gratified that communities "trust my capabilities because I am a credentialed MRC volunteer. I have made lots of acquaintances with four community health departments. I love to volunteer in different communities!"






Congratulations to the Western Massachusetts MRC for its commitment to preparedness!  During Emergency Preparedness month, Kathleen Conley Norbut registered her unit to take the "Pledge to Prepare."  Together with emergency preparedness groups throughout the nation, the Western MA members helped to create the largest emergency preparedness online collaboration community ever with over 21,800 members.  More than 1,535 events were hosted targeting over 1.5 million participants durring the month of September.   


More events and opportunities to be involved will present themselves, so stay tuned!





MRC Training Resources


Has your MRC unit recently held a great training?  If so, we want you to share your experience.  Any time unit leaders organize a successful training, unit leaders can contact Rachel Hammerman with the training name, instructor, training cost (including travel), CEU credits and any other pertinent info.  RVA will maintain a spreadsheet containing this information to share with other MRC unit leaders.



In This Issue

MA Responds

Disaster Behavioral Health Training Series

Hurricane Sandy Summary Report

Volunteer Spotlight: Lorraine Horn

Department of Congratulations!

MRC Training Resource

Order Free Promotional Materials!



Visit the MA MRC Website


The state MRC website has many resources for unit leaders including templates for press releases, badging, and information about liability protections.  Please visit the Unit Leaders portion of the website to learn more about the resources available.

You can also find the most recent Volunteer Spotlights under the media section of the website.  If you wish to nominate one of your volunteers for the spotlight, please email Rachel Hammerman





Promotional Materials Available 


Massachusetts MRC brochures are still available.  If you would like materials mailed to you, please email Rachel Hammerman


If you are in need of MA Responds marketing materials (brochures, pens, posters), please contact Johnna Coggin   





Public Awareness



In an effort to raise awareness, the NACHO MRC Work Group requests that unit leaders participate in a ten minute online survey to assess how best to create a useful branding toolkit. To add your input please click on the survey here.

Surveys must be completed by December 14. 


In addition, NACCHO posted two "MRC commercial" videos on Youtube!


Please enjoy and share the one minute and five minute feature videos!




to Region 4A whose tireless efforts on behalf of the community were the subject of a recent feature article in the Boston Globe!



New Western Mass Medical Reserve Corps Recruiting Billboards

posted Jun 13, 2011, 5:14 AM by Mary Kersell   [ updated Jul 19, 2011, 12:09 AM ]

Three New Technical Assistance Documents to Help MRCs Recruit, Retain and Recognize Volunteers

posted Dec 6, 2010, 10:22 AM by Mary Kersell   [ updated Feb 2, 2011, 8:45 AM ]

 The Office of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps has announcee the publication of three new Technical Assistance Guidance Documents for use by MRC unit leaders. 

 These three documents are designed to assist MRC unit leaders with building and maintaining relationships with volunteers.  

  1.  The Guide to Volunteer Recruiting provides approaches to finding and engaging volunteers in the work of your Medical Reserve Corps units by identifying your audience, crafting your message, and finding the appropriate media outlets.   

  2.  The Guide to Retention of MRC Volunteers is designed to assist with keeping volunteers engaged even when the MRC unit is not activated in emergency response.   The focus of this document is on creating a positive volunteer experience,  engaging volunteers based upon their primary motivators, and creating additional opportunities for volunteering throughout the year.

  3.  The Guide to Recognition of MRC Volunteers provides an overview to both informal and formal approaches to recognizing volunteers for their contributions and accomplishments.

 All three of these guides are available in PDF format in the Toolkit:


Public Health Preparedness in a Reforming Health System

posted Jul 22, 2010, 8:59 AM by Mary Kersell   [ updated Feb 2, 2011, 8:57 AM ]

CAPT Rob Tosatto, Director, Office of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps  recommends this article from the recent special issue of the Harvard Law & Policy Review on Public Health and Biosecurity by Serena Vinter and colleagues from the Trust for America’s Health: ( also attached) . If you have any questions or comments about the article, you can email Serena at  

The ideas included in this article are very much in line with the mission and focus of the MRC, as MRC units are uniquely positioned to assist with the "day-to-day" public health activities and initiatives that help to build public health resiliency and reduce vulnerability. Please remember that the efforts you undertake now to avoid and reduce the consequences of disaster are much more cost effective and sustainable than response and recovery efforts. 

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