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Awards and Recognition

A Letter from the Office of the Surgeon General:

December 22, 2011

Dear MRC Leaders, Volunteers and Colleagues,

The year-end holidays are always a good time to reflect and focus on gratitude and giving. All of you give of yourselves every day, and your efforts at the local, state, regional and national levels make this program a true success. Your efforts are recognized and appreciated…as you can see in the attached letter from Dr. Regina Benjamin, our Surgeon General. I strongly encourage you to share this letter from her with your MRC volunteers.

MRC volunteers are involved in an extraordinary number and variety of activities every day to support and promote the health and safety of their communities. This past year, MRC leaders reported over 9,300 activities as part of their unit profiles! The initiatives supported, promoted and hosted by MRC units this year have positively affected countless lives. Through the actions of MRC leaders, volunteers, and partner organizations, public health in this country was strengthened, local vulnerabilities were reduced and communities grew more resilient.

I am truly thankful for all that you do! I am also very proud of, and honored to represent, the MRC. I wish you safe and happy holidays, and the best for the New Year.

Robert J. Tosatto, RPh, MPH, MBA
Director, Division of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps
Office of the Surgeon General
Room 18C-14, Parklawn Building
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857

A Letter from the Assistant Secretary of Health and the U.S. Surgeon General:

The Medical Reserve Corps – Helping a Nation Heal

September 11, 2011

To the men and women of the Medical Reserve Corps:

As medical professionals, we know that healing can take time.  As America and the world prepare to mark the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our country, we remember September 11, 2001, with many emotions: sadness for the families of the more than 3,000 people who lost their lives that day and admiration for the heroes who provided aid and comfort to the victims.

As Assistant Secretary for Health and as U.S. Surgeon General, we reflect with pride that members of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps served as some of the most important responders to the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City. Furthermore, the USPHS helped to ensure the health and safety of rescue workers and the general public during the anthrax incidents in the weeks that followed.      

We also note that these tragic events brought national attention to the need for the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).  Initiated as a demonstration project early in 2002, the MRC now represents a nationwide network of local groups of volunteers committed to improving the health, safety and resiliency of their communities. MRC volunteers include medical and public health professionals, as well as others interested in strengthening the public health infrastructure and improving the preparedness and response capabilities of their local jurisdictions.

Today, the MRC is a force that has more than 200,000 volunteers in more than 950 community-based units across the nation.

Those of you who serve our country in this capacity now spend a significant amount of time planning and preparing for disasters as diverse as hurricanes, floods, bioterrorism attacks, pandemics, dirty bombs and more. Many of you were recently deployed to the East Coast to assist with Hurricane Irene response efforts.  During other recent disasters, such as the BP oil spill, floods in the Midwest and tornadoes in the Southeast, you have proven your commitment to the people of the United States.

Many of you have left your families and traveled to faraway places to set up clinics in devastated areas in order to meet the basic health needs of underserved and vulnerable populations. You have worked with community partners to provide medical, dental, vision, mental health, pharmacy, nursing and veterinary care to all who come. You have succeeded in doing all of this with kindness, friendship and a true sense of joy and camaraderie.

As we approach this solemn 10-year anniversary, President Obama is calling for Americans to “honor the victims of 9/11 and to reaffirm the strength of our nation with acts of service.” We thank you for exemplifying that spirit through your dedication and commitment to helping those in need.  Each and every one of you reflects what is best in America!

Thank you for your extraordinary gift to our country and for helping us heal.


Howard Koh, M.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Secretary for Health

Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A.
U.S. Surgeon General

A Letter from the United States Surgeon General:

February 15, 2011

Dear MRC Leaders and Volunteers,

As we embark on a new year, many people will resolve to make positive changes in their lives. I encourage you to capitalize on this by promoting and being involved in public health initiatives in 2011. The Medical Reserve Corps is in a key position in communities across the country to directly impact the health of Americans. Your reach and breadth of knowledge, skills, and service is inspiring. I am excited by the possibilities for the MRC!

One way the MRC can make a huge impact right now is through First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. This campaign has an ambitious national goal of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight. Let’s Move! combats the epidemic of childhood obesity by engaging every sector that impact the health of children and providing schools, families and communities with simple tools to help kids be more active, eat better, and live healthier. Medical Reserve Corps volunteers can play a key role in carrying out the objectives of this important campaign in their communities. 

Let’s Move Faith and Communities inspires healthy eating and physical activity. To learn more about how you can further awareness and prompt action in communities across the country, visit:http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/Lets-Move-Toolkit-Faith-Communities.pdfLet’s Move Cities and Towns encourages mayors and elected officials to make a commitment to a long-term, sustainable, and holistic approach to fight childhood obesity, recognizing that every city is different, and every town will require a distinct approach to the issue. Including the MRC in the approach can be part of that commitment. More information can be found athttp://www.letsmove.gov/officials-step-1.php.

As community level volunteers with a focus on health, you are in an ideal position to directly impact children’s health and make a real difference in solving the problem of childhood obesity. Each encounter you have with a parent or caregiver is an opportunity to help them understand the importance of optimal nutrition and physical activity from the earliest moments of life through adulthood. You can, for example, make BMI screening a part of your unit’s public health activities, talk to new parents about first foods and breastfeeding, and consider sharing your expertise with other community groups and organizations that support childhood health and wellness.

Thank you for the efforts you are already taking to improve the health and safety of your communities. I know that, together, we can do even more to reduce the number of overweight and obese children.

                                                        Kind regards, 

                                                        Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA 
                                                        VADM, USPHS 
                                                        United States Surgeon General

The United States Surgeon General recently sent a letter to the VBMRC encouraging new volunteers to take an active role in the community as well as thanking those currently volunteering. The Medical Reserve Corp and its members are an integral part in helping America meet it's current health challenges. 

The VBMRC was recognized by the National Program Office (OCVMRC/OSG) for our participation in support of the H1N1 Influenza Pandemic.  Over 70 VBMRC volunteers dedicated a combined 500 hours during the H1N1 response, and administered almost 2000 doses of vaccine.  In addition, volunteers provided administrative support and medical screening and guidance at dozens of clinics in 2009 and early 2010.  Well done VBMRC Volunteers!

9-11 and the Medical Reserve Corps

See the video above for a message HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius provided to potential MRC volunteers 
during the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic.
Virginia Beach MRC,
Feb 1, 2011, 10:32 AM
Virginia Beach MRC,
Feb 1, 2011, 7:48 AM