- What is the Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)?
- Who can volunteer?
- What might I be asked to do?
- If I volunteer, what is the time commitment?
- How will I be activated?
- What kind of training is available?
- How will you verify license or certification for practitioners?
- Do volunteers receive any compensation?
- How can I apply for the Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps?
1. What is the Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)?
The Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps has been created by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) and the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Mental Retardation Services (DBH/MRS) to enhance Philadelphia’s emergency preparedness and is designed to supplement Philadelphia’s medical resources during a public health emergency. The goal of the Philadelphia MRC is to bring together the knowledge and skills of many different medical and behavorial health professionals to address public health crises. The Philadelphia MRC will be mobilized during any event that would require the City to open Point-of-Dispensing (PODs), to provide mass prophylaxis to the population. Some examples of situations that would require volunteer medical staff are a pandemic influenza or other naturally occurring disease outbreaks, as well as events that might result from biological terrorism.
2. Who can volunteer?
The Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps is recruiting licensed and recently retired medical and licensed and paraprofessional behavioral health professionals including the following:
- Physician Assistants
- Nurse Practitioners
- Registered Nurses
- Licensed Practical Nurses
- Licensed Behavioral Health Providers
- Paraprofessional Behavioral Health Providers
- Respiratory Care Therapists
Your expertise and licensure or certification will help determine the role you may be asked to fill during an emergency.
3. What might I be asked to do?
The specific role(s) for each Philadelphia MRC volunteer is determined by the volunteer’s background and skill level. All P-MRC volunteers work in coordination with existing local emergency response systems during large-scale emergencies. During a public health emergency, you might be asked to contribute in several different ways, including the following:
- providing medical screening or evaluation
- providing behavioral health support
- providing education through community outreach, a telephone call line or at a mass dispensing clinic
- administering vaccine and distributing medications at Points-of-Distribution (PODs)
- providing support for public health investigations and communicable disease control activities
- supporting community's ability to provide mass patient care in shelters, clinics, or hospitals
4. If I volunteer, what is the time commitment?
Some training is required prior to actual activation. Live and web-based programs will be available. we strongly encourage your participation in our planned exercises throughout the year. In the event that the P-MRC is activated, services during emergencies require volunteer flexibility and commitment. The expected time commitment of volunteers will depend on the scale of the public health emergency, as well as what other events are happening at the time. For some health emergencies, it may be as little as part of one day. For potentially catastrophic events that require a city-wide emergency immunization program or mass dispensing of medications, we might mobilize health volunteers to work several 12-hour shifts over several days. We would ask that you commit to serve throughout the event for all of the timeslots we would need you to cover, but your availability to volunteer is up to you.
5. How will I be activated?
If we needed to mobilize the MRC, we would send out a communication (via text or voicemail) to all volunteers using a computerized system that would attempt to reach you using the information you provided when you registered. In this message, you will be given further instruction on where and when to report, as well as what you might need to bring with you when you come to volunteer.
6.What kind of training is available?
The Philadelphia MRC is currently developing a series of programs pertaining to emergency preparedness and disaster response that will be available both on-line and in person. We will also provide opportunities to participate in planned exercises.
7. How will you verify license or certification for practitioners?
All licensed or certified medical and behavioral health professionals will be asked to submit a copy of their license or certificate. P-MRC staff will verify the status of the license with the appropriate licensing board. Volunteers are asked to notify the P-MRC Coordinator if anything changes with the status of their license.
8. Do volunteers receive any compensation?
No, the Philadelphia MRC is a volunteer organization. If the P-MRC is activated, you will be volunteering to help with the emergency response needs without any compensation. However, in the event that P-MRC volunteers are called to respond to an infectious disease epidemic, P-MRC volunteers and their families will be provided with medication and/or vaccination if indicated for their safety.
9. How can I apply for the Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps?
In order to apply to be a member of the Philadelphia MRC, please download the volunteer application and complete all sections. Philadelphia MRC staff will perform a background and child abuse check on all volunteers and will verify your credentials. We will contact you by phone to discuss your application. (The application process is under development and subject to change)Please submit completed application and mail/fax to the following address:
Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps
Philadelphia Department of Public Health
500 S Broad Street, 2nd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19146
Fax (215) 545-8362