One of the 34 Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) units in Massachusetts, the Upper Merrimack Valley unit (UMV MRC) covers seven communities: Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Lowell, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro, and Westford. The Westford Health Department is the host agency for this initiative. Across the country, up to 800 MRCs provide emergency and non-emergency services that supplement, but do not replace, existing services. The mission of the UMV MRC is to provide surge capacity in times of great need. Their three areas for activation are (1) public health emergencies such as disease outbreaks, (2) mass-casualty incidents that affect or displace large numbers of people (such as winter storms knocking out power and requiring shelters to be opened and staffed), and (3) community service projects such as health education programs.
The Upper Merrimack Valley MRC is always eager to recruit new members who want to make a difference in their community by responding to crises and supporting local events. Medical, non-medical, and behavioral health volunteers are welcome. Members can be practicing or retired personnel from various levels of their respective fields. The UMV MRC is particularly interested in recruiting physicians, nurses, Emergency Medical Technicians, dentists, and pharmacists. Volunteers from other backgrounds and those who provide supporting functions are also encouraged to join.These other categories include mental health clinicians, special-needs care providers, counselors, phlebotomists, respiratory technicians, medical logistics personnel, health care educators, translators, administrators, and communications personnel.