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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

MRC Registration Criteria FAQs

What is the purpose of having MRC registration criteria?

The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Program is committed to the establishment of a strong, viable national network of local MRC units. The registration criteria guide MRC units and clearly outline expectations:

  • Affiliation with an appropriate local housing organization
  • MRC unit leader(s) identified
  • Integration and partnership with local/community stakeholder groups
  • Verification of members’ credential(s) (professional licenses/certificates)
  • Plans for establishing, implementing and sustaining unit
  • Participation in public health, preparedness and emergency response activities 
  • Active participation in the MRC network (local, state, regional, and national)
  • Regular updates to unit profile and frequent activity reports, at least once per quarter
  • Participation in annual MRC technical assistance assessments

These registration criteria encompass the basic and fundamental principles necessary to successfully implement, administer, and sustain an MRC unit. These criteria also serve as a baseline that allows the MRC Program to monitor and evaluate initial and ongoing efforts of MRC units.

Can my organization house an MRC unit?

Local governmental agencies, non-profits, and other community-based organizations typically serve as MRC housing organizations. You’ll find that most MRC units are based in the following organizations:

  • ​Health Department
  • Board of Health
  • Emergency Management Agency
  • Other Local Governmental Agencies/Departments
  • Citizen Corps Council
  • Volunteer Center
  • Hospital/Health System
  • ​​​Non-Governmental Organization
  • Faith-Based Organization
  • College/University
  • Medical/Professional Society
  • Fire Department/Fire Protection District
  • Law Enforcement Agency
  • EMS Agency

Why does our MRC unit need to identify a leader?

It is crucial for an MRC to have an individual identified as the coordinator or director of the unit, as this person will be dedicated to the development, operation, and continuity of the unit. The time devoted to daily MRC organizational operations varies from community to community. Some MRC units have full-time coordinators working on MRC operations, while others have coordinators who work on a part-time basis. Other units have moved towards a volunteer leadership model by appointing unit volunteers to serve as coordinators or directors. You’ll also find that some MRC units have partnered with universities or organizations like Americorps to help secure leadership staff.

Who should we partner with?

MRC units supplement a community’s existing emergency medical response capabilities and public health infrastructure. Coordinating with local community/government stakeholders and nurturing a broad network of partners is critical for an MRC to carry out its mission. An MRC unit cannot work in isolation and will not be successful if it does not establish strong, solid working relationships with its stakeholders and partners. The following are some common local MRC partners:

  • ​Health Department
  • Board of Health
  • Emergency Management Agency
  • Other Local Governmental Agencies/Departments
  • American Red Cross Chapter
  • Citizen Corps Council
  • Volunteer Center
  • Hospital/Health System
  • Non-Governmental Organization
  • Faith-Based Organization
  • Medical/Professional Society
  • Civic Organization
  • Private Business
  • ​​​Fire Department/Fire Protection District
  • District Law Enforcement Agency
  • EMS Agency
  • Council of Governments/Regional Planning Commission
  • State Organization/Agency
  • Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS)
  • Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)
  • Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI)/Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)
  • National Disaster Medical System (NDMS)

Is our MRC unit expected to verify the professional credentials of our volunteer members?

MRC units are expected to verify the credentials of members with professional licenses and certifications. At a minimum, MRC units must ensure that discipline specific licenses are current and unencumbered. In some cases, this can and should be conducted in coordination with the State registry/ESAR-VHP.

What strategies and plans should we develop for establishing, implementing and sustaining our MRC?

Developing comprehensive strategies and plans assist MRC units on their path to becoming well-recognized, sustainable MRC units. They will help to guide you through your development to reach your end goals, and should include:

  • Mission, goals and objectives
  • Process for volunteer screening and verification of professional credentials
  • Volunteer management (recruitment, engagement, recognition and retention)
  • Organizational structure (that allows for management and utilization of volunteers)
  • Identification of, and partnerships with, key local community/government stakeholders
  • Integration into local and state plans for public health & emergency response
  • Training (meeting NIMS compliance requirements and the MRC Core Competencies)
  • Volunteer activation/utilization
  • Sustainability
  • Evaluation

What types of public health, preparedness and emergency response activities should we participate in?

In order for an MRC unit to best serve its local jurisdiction and meet its identified mission, the unit should participate in a number of different public health, preparedness and emergency response activities. Some of the activities might include:

Public Health/Medical

  • Health Promotion/Disease Prevention
  • Vaccination (e.g., school, seasonal flu)
  • Health Education
  • Health Clinic Support/Staffing

Emergency Preparedness/Response

  • ​Mass Dispensing/Mass Vaccinations
  • Pandemic Flu Planning
  • National Preparedness Month
  • Preparedness Information Campaigns
  • Strategic National Stockpile
  • Shelter Operations/Support
  • ​​​Special Needs Shelters
  • Hospital Surge Capacity (at hospital site)
  • Alternate Care Facilities
  • First Responder Rehab
  • Mass Casualty Incident/Emergency Medical Response

What does it mean to be an active member of the MRC network?

Active membership in the MRC is easy to maintain and is extremely beneficial to your MRC unit. Questions, concerns, inquiries and comments related to your MRC unit can be addressed through regular interactions with other MRC units, state coordinators, regional MRC liaisons, and the MRC Program. To be an active member of the MRC network, MRCs are expected to:

  • Participate in state, regional and/or national MRC meetings
  • Participate in information sharing with other MRC units (e.g., joining the MRC listserv, offering promising practices, and sharing training resources)
  • Maintain/update the unit profile on the MRC website (including current contact information, volunteer numbers, recent activities, extended profile information, etc.)
  • Conduct and report unit activities, a minimum of once a quarter
  • Participate in annual MRC Technical Assistance (TA) Assessments
  • Stay connected with your MRC Regional Liaison

What if an MRC unit already exists in my jurisdiction?

If a potential MRC unit falls within the same jurisdiction as an existing MRC unit, the responsibility is on the applying unit to provide a clear justification of the need for an additional unit in the jurisdiction. The applicant must demonstrate that they are cooperating with the appropriate agencies, including the existing unit. The applicant must show an intention and willingness to work with the pre-existing unit on relevant issues. Some common practical concerns should be addressed, such as: how to handle volunteers who wish to switch to the new unit; how to coordinate on common issues such as training; and how to coordinate between the two units and other community partner organizations. The applicant should reach out to the existing MRC unit and potential partners in advance of the registration process, as gaining community support and buy-in is crucial to the integration and long term sustainability of all MRC units.

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  • This page last reviewed: May 18, 2021