Your participation as a public health volunteer could make the difference in our county’s ability to respond.
The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department’s Emergency Response Team volunteers enhance the county’s emergency preparedness efforts by ensuring that a trained group of public health volunteers are ready to assist in response to a public health emergency.
We are looking for community members with or without medical training to serve as members of this team. There are many roles in which you could serve including roles as POD staff, core management team members, interpreters, administrative assistants, educators, inventory/supply managers, and many others.
We are also looking for licensed medical professionals including: physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians, mental health professionals, respiratory therapists, epidemiologists and behavioral health workers.
In the event of an emergency, it will take many volunteers working together with the health department staff to ensure public safety. Kanawha-Charleston Health Department partners with the national Medical Reserve Corps to train volunteers for this purpose. KCHD volunteers are members of the Capital Medical Reserve Corps (Capital MRC). To become a KCHD MRC volunteer fill out the registration form and return it to the health department!
Why Should I Volunteer?
You’ve worked hard in your career to master a variety of skills – in medicine, public health, safety, logistics, communications or a number of other areas. Volunteering with the Medical Reserve Corps is a simple and effective way to use and improve those skills, while helping to keep your family, friends and neighbors safe and healthy. For example, you may put those skills to use during an emergency, or while providing some services for the most vulnerable members of your community.
Volunteering can give the great satisfaction of helping others. For many individuals, volunteering gives them a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. It helps to broaden their social networks, and that can have many positive effects. Volunteering provides opportunities for social interactions with fellow volunteers while supporting an important activity in the community. Interacting with others with a common interest is also a great way to create new relationships.
Volunteering can also have a significant effect on your own health. Research presented by the Corporation for National and Community Service shows a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer. See The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research for more information (http://www.nationalservice.gov/about/volunteering/benefits.asp).
Imagine a community – or a nation – in which everyone volunteered. Everyone would expand their skills and knowledge. Everyone would be healthier. And everyone would have a more meaningful life. This is a future we all can work towards.
Who Do I Volunteer With?
Every MRC unit is led by a local MRC Unit Coordinator, who matches local volunteer capabilities and schedules with local needs for both emergency responses and public health initiatives.
Many MRC members are just like you – nurses, doctors, pharmacists, therapists, public health officials and other community members who believe in keeping your local area healthy, prepared and resilient. They share your commitment to helping others and making a difference.
You may also work closely with staff members from the local health department, emergency management agency, hospital or other organizations that partner with the MRC. In fact, the services that you provide may help these other organizations to meet their mission.
It’s up to you. Join the Capital Medical Reserve Corps unit and be an active member. Visit Medical Reserve Corps to learn more!