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The Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals

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Desert Marathon Prepares New Mexico Volunteers

​Preparing for disasters and public health emergencies is critical to response efforts. New Mexico’s ESAR-VHP program uses the state’s annual Bataan Memorial Death March as an opportunity to practice a mass response effort in a controlled setting, while also serving the community.

Each year, Bataan March participants run a grueling 26.2 miles through the desert to commemorate the WWII march that killed thousands of U.S. soldiers. And while having medical care on standby is typical during any race, the treacherous desert terrain means that Bataan March organizers must prepare for the thousands of runners who will need care during the run. In fact, uncharacteristically high temperatures in 2012 resulted in close to one-third of the 6,800 participants needing medical care.

That’s where New Mexico’s ESAR-VHP program, NM MRC Serves, stepped in. They came prepared with over 500 credentialed health volunteers, working with military agencies such as the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine to provide care throughout the event.

Not only did the Bataan March provide on-the-ground experience to those individual volunteers, but it also put to practice the ESAR-VHP system itself to demonstrate just how successfully they could recruit and deploy volunteers to where they were needed most.

To volunteer with ESAR-VHP in your state follow the three steps to register.