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Medical Reserve Corps in JSU's College of Nursing Receives $20,000 Grant to Educate Public, Prep for Emergencies

08/27/2014


The Medical Reserve Corps chapter for Calhoun and Cleburne counties, located in the Jacksonville State University College of Nursing, recently received a $20,000 grant from the Alabama Public Health Department that will provide state of the art emergency preparedness equipment and education.

A national network of volunteers, the Medical Reserve Corps improves emergency response proficiency, builds community resiliency and increases public health through participation in educational and service initiatives. There are 993 community-based units and 207,783 volunteers throughout the United States and its territories, according to the MRC’s website. Although many MRC volunteers have medical and public health backgrounds, those without healthcare backgrounds are also valued and necessary to the corps’ success.

On the revival of the program in this area, Dr. Phyllis Waits, coordinator of the Calhoun-Cleburne County chapter of MRC, states, “Unfortunately, when the tornados came through (our area) in 2011, the emergency corps was not active at the time. Following this, I went to Dean Sarah Latham and spoke about how we needed do something about this. It was during this time that the College of Nursing became the housing facility for it in the summer of 2011.”

The recent grant of $20,000 was awarded to MRC as of July 1 with the previous grant of $25,000 ending on June 30.

“We are under the umbrella of the Alabama Department of Public Health. And we are really excited because we are undergoing the process to become a Closed Point of Distribution, or P.O.D. What that means is that we are partnering with the Alabama Department of Public Health so that we would be the center to dispense any supplies, vaccines or medicine to our students, faculty, and staff and up to five of their family members, if the need arose,” said Dr. Waits.

MRC is active in the local communities with their efforts for health improvement and disaster education.

“I spoke to over one hundred kindergarten students at Kitty Stone and talked about emergency preparedness kits. By the time they left, they all wanted to make kits and tell their parents about it, too.  And that’s the whole point, having people be prepared in case of an emergency,” said Dr. Waits.

The local MRC chapter also participated in the Glow Dash for T-Nash. They provided available nurses and their firefighter rehab trailer, which was used as a misting tent to prevent heat-induced injuries. The firefighter rehab trailer was bought previously with a $40,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Currently the MRC supplies are being moved to a larger storage area in the College of Nursing and the MRC chapter is continuing the process of becoming an established Closed P.O.D.

“Heaven forbid it happen, but if there would to be a disaster, we do have the supplies to help recover,” explains Dr. Waits. “Any student who would like to be part of the MRC can participate in any of our activities. We are available to go out to community events for first-aid and for the use of the trailer.”

To learn more about MRC, please visit www.medicalreservecorps.gov. For more information about the MRC chapter for Calhoun and Cleburne counties, contact the JSU College of Nursing at (256) 782-5781.

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