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Mental & physical health

Volunteer for the Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)

After a disaster like Hurricane Katrina or 9/11, many people want to help. Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers are enrolled and trained before an emergency happens, so that they can give help as soon as it is needed.

The Philadelphia MRC currently has over 2,500 members who are ready to respond when needed. The Department of Public Health provides a variety of trainings, exercises, and real deployment opportunities throughout the year to build volunteers’ skills and keep them actively engaged with the unit.

Volunteers provide a variety of services during a response, depending on their individual licensing and credentials. As a volunteer, you may:

  • Conduct medical screenings, dispense medications, or administer vaccines.
  • Provide medical assessments and care at evacuation shelters for displaced persons.
  • Provide clinical and/or non-clinical support to the Philadelphia Fire Department (Emergency Medical Services) at large special events, such as races or concerts.
  • Provide administrative support, such as answering phones in a call center or doing data entry.
  • Assist with neighborhood canvassing after a disaster.


Anyone 18 years of age or older may apply online to join the Philadelphia MRC. Once the application is approved, volunteers will be contacted about training, exercise, and deployment opportunities.

The Philadelphia MRC needs people with a variety of skill sets, such as:

  • Licensed, certified, or retired health professionals including physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, behavioral health providers, EMTs, paramedics, dentists, veterinarians, and respiratory care therapists.
  • Medical, nursing, pharmacy, public health, and other allied health professional students.
  • Non-medical personnel, such as interpreters, chaplains, and administrative professionals.

Students studying to become health care professionals can offer support to the Philadelphia MRC while gaining valuable skills and experience. If you would like more information about student group volunteer opportunities, email

Volunteers will be assigned to roles that best fit their skills and background.


In order to enroll in the Philadelphia MRC and maintain an active status, volunteers need to:

  • Provide and maintain updated contact information in our volunteer registry.
  • Undergo a criminal background check.
  • Participate in at least one training, exercise, or deployment per year.

You do not need a medical license to volunteer; however, to serve as a medical volunteer, you do need to maintain an unencumbered and active medical license.


Joining the Philadelphia MRC is easy.

Register online with the State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Pennsylvania (SERVPA) by completing a SERVPA Application.

The application is available on the state’s SERVPA website. Under Add Organization, choose Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Organizations. Then check the box for Philadelphia MRC. You will enter your contact information, as well as some details about your occupation and background. The application will run a PA Justice Network Check, which verifies your identity and checks your Pennsylvania Justice Department record. Within a few weeks, you will receive an email about your acceptance into the Philadelphia MRC.

Attend a New Volunteer Orientation.

All Philadelphia MRC volunteers must attend one New Volunteer Orientation Training. These trainings are typically held 3-4 times per year.

Stay in touch to volunteer.

You can learn about training, exercise, and deployment opportunities through SERVPA notifications once you are registered.