The Thomas Jefferson Medical Reserve Corps (TJMRC) was established by the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 2003 and originally called the UVA Medical Reserve Corps. As the first student-run Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) unit in the country, the UVAMRC was a model in student-faculty partnership and outreach. In late 2009, the MRC was expanded and its housing and management was moved to the Thomas Jefferson Health District.
The Medical Reserve Corps augments the community’s capacity to respond to public health emergencies. The MRC program was created after 9-11 to address the opportunities and challenges of receiving and managing spontaneous volunteers during disasters. The MRC ensures a professional, coordinated and effective response through credentialing, training, exercises, and participation in real events. Training opportunities include:
- Incident Command System – a standardized approach to the command, control, and coordination of emergency response
- Epidemiological Response – supporting the health department to track large communicable disease outbreaks
- Mass Prophylaxis and Vaccination – providing medicines to the public in a pandemic or bioterrorism incident
- Psychological First Aid – an evidence-informed modular approach to help children, adolescents, adults, and families in the immediate aftermath of disaster and terrorism
- Community Preparedness and Resilience – Learn how to prepare yourself, your family, and your communities for any kind of hazard, from natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes, to chemical emergencies, opioid overdoses, or active shooter events
The TJMRC recruits, trains and pre-credentials volunteers in Albemarle, Charlottesville, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson. We welcome volunteers of all backgrounds and skill sets who are interested in public health and in protecting their communities during public health emergencies. We partner closely with area voluntary agencies, volunteer programs, hospitals, local governments and emergency services to ensure that our volunteers complement, rather than replace, existing response efforts.
TJMRC participates in a variety of activities based on our community’s needs. Some examples of our many possible roles during an emergency include:
Epidemiological Response Team: Volunteers who have completed the epidemiology response training would support the District Epidemiologist during a major disease outbreak by:
- Conducting interviews and testing.
- Answering questions and gathering information from a public information phone line.
- Working with community healthcare providers to identify new cases.
Shelter Response Team:
- Clinical volunteers would assist in triaging at registration to ensure that community members go to the appropriate shelter site and be on-hand to provide basic first aid to shelter residents.
- Volunteers with training in environmental health would assist the Environmental Health Specialists to assess the shelter site for safety.
- TJMRC Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians and TJMRC volunteers trained in pet shelter response would assist in checking all incoming animals for vaccinations; provide vaccinations for unvaccinated animals, if available; and register animals for sheltering.
Behavioral Health Team:
- A diverse, multidisciplinary team of mental health clinicians, community leaders, and clergy, with a shared understanding of disaster behavioral health and community trauma
- Volunteers utilize Psychological First Aid and Skills for Psychological Recovery to provide support to survivors of traumatic community events and empower the community to build resources to promote resilience
- This team was formed in response to the need for behavioral health support and coordination on August 11 and 12, 2017 and the anniversary of these events in 2018
- TJMRC and its partners in the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition continue to build this new resource by coordinating additional training and engaging community members to get involved in mutual support efforts
Mass Dispensing Response Team:
- Pharmacists, Pharmacy Technicians, and other TJMRC volunteers would assist with aspects of mass dispensing of antivirals, antibiotics and other medications in response to a bioterrorist attack, pandemic flu or other event requiring mass dispensing.
- Nurses, Physicians and Nurse Practitioners would assist with mass vaccination.
- Volunteers trained in Points of Dispensing Sites would assist by helping community members to fill out forms; provide rumor control; explain the process of mass dispensing; and answer questions from the public.