The state Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that seven local health districts or departments have been awarded the 2015-2016 Challenge Award by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) for their Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) units. As Challenge Award recipients, the MRCs in the Ledge Light, Pomperaug, Uncas and Torrington Health Districts and in the Bridgeport, Milford and Stratford Health Departments will each receive $15,000 to implement innovative practices in their local jurisdictions that can be replicated throughout the state and beyond. 

"The CT MRC program has grown tremendously since 2002, with 23 MRC units throughout the state providing supplemental assistance to our public safety and public health resources. Our MRC volunteers perform an invaluable service, augmenting necessary medical care and assistance during times of crisis or emergency," said Jonathan Best, the CT MRC Statewide Coordinator. "The seven MRC units honored with the Challenge Award have distinguished themselves through their volunteer recruitment, leadership and training, and this funding will allow them to develop and implement new programs and practices that will enhance their local communities’ and the state’s emergency preparedness."

DPH also announced that Katherine McCormack, leader of the Capitol Region MRC, was awarded the Mentor Award by NACCHO for her efforts in collaborating with other members of the MRC network in Connecticut and nationally to strengthen the MRC system. McCormack is the liaison between the 23 MRC units in Connecticut and the Statewide Coordinator. She coordinated a statewide MRC leadership day, works to increase youth volunteerism in the MRC units, and has formed partnerships with the Hartford and Boston Marathon to include MRC leadership participation at both events. She also successfully forged partnerships with Cigna Insurance Company and Eversource Power Company to advance educational and funding opportunities for MRC volunteers.

"We are very proud of the work done by Katherine McCormack to strengthen and grow Connecticut’s MRC units. As one of only two MRC Coordinators recognized nationally with the Mentor Award, we congratulate Katherine on this richly deserved honor," said Jonathan Best.

Medical Reserve Corps is a partner program with Citizen Corps, a national network of volunteers dedicated to ensuring hometown security. MRC units function as part of local emergency preparedness teams supplementing existing public safety and public health resources.

Recruiting, training, and organizing medical and public health professionals to strengthen their communities through volunteerism are at the core of the MRC initiative. MRC training is structured to provide or verify individual knowledge and/or competencies above and beyond any current medical training to allow safe operation in a volunteer based medical response operating environment. CT MRC units need medical and non-medical volunteers who are trained and ready to respond when activated according to the Regional Emergency Support Plan and the Activation Protocols of the State of CT.

For more information regarding the MRC program: