MA Responds Update
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 firstname.lastname@example.org . Space is
Responds and Social Media
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:
Be Informed: How to recognize an emergency and what to do
Make a Plan: Preparedness plans for family, children, pets
Build a Preparedness Kit: How to and what to include in readiness kit
Get Involved: Various ways people can get involved or volunteer
The social media
campaign will continue to employ these practices on an ongoing basis.
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.
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
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.
Resilience - Basic
- January 29 & 30, 2013
(Tuesday and Wednesday) Worcester - location to
- 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
Resilience - Advanced
- June 6, 2013 (Thursday) Boston -
location to be confirmed
- June 7, 2013 (Friday) Worcester -
location to be confirmed
Resilience - Train
- April 23 & 24, 2013 (Tuesday and
Wednesday) Northampton - location to be
Sandy in Massachusetts
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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!"
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
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.
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.
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
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
to Region 4A
whose tireless efforts on behalf of the community were the subject of a
recent feature article in the Boston Globe!
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
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.
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.
The Guide to Recognition of MRC Volunteers provides an overview to both informal and formal
approaches to recognizing volunteers for their contributions and
All three of these guides are
available in PDF format in the Toolkit: http://www.medicalreservecorps.gov/PromisingPracticesToolkit.asp?mode=ResourceDetails&ResID=244&RefID=Category&Category=25
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: http://hlpronline.com/2010/06/vinter_preparedness
( also attached) . If you have any
questions or comments about the article, you can email Serena at email@example.com.
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.