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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Helping our Communities through Service

Author: Ashley Small, Public Affairs Specialist,Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 11/8/2013 1:45:00 PM
Category: Observances; Public Health Preparedness;

Author: Ashley Small, Public Affairs Specialist,Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response

This Veteran’s Day, as we honor all the brave men and women who have served our nation, let’s take time to look at how we can serve our communities and help one another. 


​When disasters strike and incidents happen, the need for lifesaving and life sustaining medical assistance can be significant. If you are a health professional, the ability to lend a helping hand can make all the difference in an individual’s capacity to quickly recover from a public health emergency. Public Health Service patch

You will find there are many flexible programs supported by HHS that provide an opportunity for health experts to serve the country. Organizations like the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP), the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps offer professionals the chance to use their medical skills and capabilities to support communities when they need it most.

If you are looking for a grassroots community-based program to volunteer, the MRC can be a great opportunity. The MRC is a community-based program which organizes and utilize local medical and public health professionals who want to donate time and expertise to help prepare and respond to emergencies within their own communities and across the nation. MRC volunteers assist throughout the year in promoting healthy living.

At the state level, the ESAR-VHP is a good option. ESAR-VHP is a program that verifies health specialist’s identification and credentials so that they are able to respond when disaster strikes. By registering through ESAR-VHP, volunteers' identities, licenses, credentials, accreditations, and hospital privileges are all verified in advance through the state, saving valuable time in emergency situations.

The NDMS is a federally coordinated system that supports a nation-wide medical response capability. If you are interested in working to help impacted communities across the country, NDMS may be a great choice for you. NDMS staff can deploy anywhere within the continental U.S. and its territories; providing medical support to supplement state and local authorities dealing with medical impacts of disasters. In addition to serving communities, NDMS also provides support to the Nation’s military, caring for casualties evacuated back to the U.S. from overseas armed conventional conflicts.

If you are looking to serve your country in uniform and want to be part of the Nation’s fight against disease and poor health conditions, then consider the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. This team of elite, well-trained, highly qualified public health professionals dedicate time to delivering the Nation's public health promotion and disease prevention programs and advancing public health science. With duty stations throughout the country, Commissioned Corps members have the freedom and flexibility to choose their own career path.

Everyday health professionals serve the country by helping to support communities in need. You can too! If you are interested in joining any of the organizations mentioned in this blog, check out Joining the Health Response.


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