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2017 MRC Recognition Awards

The Medical Reserve Corps Program presented awards to the following recipients during our special April MRC Well Check Webinar on April 4, 2017.

Community Resilience

The Community Resilience Award honors MRC units that have demonstrated contributions to resilience at the community level in their daily unit operations or through involvement in activities or events.

  • Okaloosa-Walton MRC (FL) developed the “Lean On Me Project,” an outreach program to identify the needs of vulnerable populations and provide guidance to prepare for, act during, and identify available resources after an emergency. A small group of exceptional volunteers – led by Peggy McDeavitt, Megan McDaniel, Ester Molder, Kathy Graves, and Linda Epperson – spent well over 50 hours in the past 6 months developing preparedness materials that will be used throughout this project. The team has also initiated outreach with community partners that provide various types of assistance to the identified population. This outreach to an often forgotten or under-served population will assist not only the participants, but reduce burden to emergency response agencies and EOC operations as well.

  • Choctaw Nation MRC (OK) collaborated with the American Red Cross to develop the 2016 Home Fire Tribal Campaign to address their community's disproportionate risk to home fires. MRC volunteers donated more than 100 hours of service to install 1,600 smoke alarms and provide fire safety education to ensure residents understood the dangers of home fires and how to mitigate the risk. An extension of this project was the development of culturally sensitive fire safety story and coloring books that were distributed to local childcare and medical clinics. These combined activities resulted in lowering the community's vulnerability to home fires and making the Choctaw Territory more resilient.

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The Champion Award honors MRC units that have successfully carried out activities and initiatives over the past year that strengthen public health in their local communities. These activities and initiatives may include increasing disease prevention, eliminating health disparities, and improving public health preparedness.

  • MRC of Puerto Rico staff and volunteers were deployed to respond to the beginning of the Zika outbreak in collaboration with the CDC. Efforts included conducting focus groups, interviews, and educating health professionals and community members. After this initial response, the MRC team established its own outreach plans, focusing on municipalities that had between 0-100 confirmed Zika cases. 122 MRC volunteers were mobilized, along with community leaders and organization directors joining in to collaborate. Their outreach messages, often delivered door-to-door, were focused on family protection and the elimination of breeding sites. MRC of Puerto Rico staff also developed a group of trainers for different health regions, supporting conferences, health fairs, educational interventions, and the distribution of Zika kits all across the island. In total, more than 18,000 community members were impacted by the MRC work plan and over 23,000 educational materials were distributed as part of their Zika outreach efforts.

  • Mercer County MRC (IL) decided to establish a Faith Garden to address the needs of the population it serves. Everything grown in their Faith Garden is planted, tended, picked, and separated into parcels for distribution by MRC members. During harvest months, a Farmer's Market is set up for local WIC families, serving 266 WIC clients in 2016 alone. Produce is also taken to the Mercer County Food Pantry where visitors are able to take as much as they choose. The food pantry served 390 community members with Faith Garden produce this year. And in 2016, Mercer County Senior Citizens were added to the produce delivery list, with 55 new senior citizens being served. In addition, the MRC handed out nutrition information and recipe cards, held tours and classes, and had 6 "I Tried It Days" with local students.

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Outstanding MRC Responder

The Outstanding MRC Responder Award honors MRC volunteers who have played an instrumental role in responding to a disaster or public health emergency on behalf of their MRC during the past year.

  • Ana Acosta has been an active member of the MRC of Puerto Rico for the last 6 years. Just last year, she was selected to become the leader for the Arecibo Region. At that time, Puerto Rico was experiencing two public health emergencies: Zika and Flu epidemics. Before the unit established a formal response strategy, Ana started to organize people from other institutions, such as the Emergency Management Agency and John Dewey University, to help the MRC in the community response. For Zika, once the MRC established the work plan, Ana mobilized support staff to educate neighbors on how to identify breeding sites, and distribute repellent and educational material. For the Flu epidemic, Ana directly contacted the mayor of one of the municipalities most affected by the virus. As a result of the meeting, she obtained permission to conduct a vaccination for all the participants of the local Head Start program and for a massive vaccination clinic for the entire community in the town hall. With Ana’s initiative and engagement with public health, hundreds of people have been positively impacted.

  • Bethanie Albrecht responded to the increase in opioid overdose deaths in LaSalle County, Illinois by developing the LaSalle County MRC's Naloxone Program to train local law enforcement officers on the signs of opioid overdoses and the proper administration of Naloxone. She also created a train-the-trainer so the unit's volunteers could learn how to deliver this training program anywhere throughout the county. The program received approval from the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois Law Enforcement Training & Standards Board and they held their first training on January 19, 2016. Not even a month later, one local law enforcement agency was able to save their first life on February 16, 2016. Since then, the program has been brought to 10 police departments with more than 100 law enforcement officers receiving the training. Seven of the 10 departments have gone on to become program sites, where the departments follow the MRC unit's guidelines, reporting procedures, and have officers trained. In return, those departments receive nasal Narcan at no cost to the department.

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Outstanding MRC Public Health Volunteer

The Outstanding MRC Public Health Volunteer Award honors MRC volunteers who have been actively engaged in carrying out public health activities (or a specific public health initiative) with their MRC during the past year.

  • Lisa Billow of the Norfolk MRC in Virginia is both a registered nurse and a wellness coach. She performs blood pressure screenings for seniors at community health fairs, for homeless adults at emergency sheltering sites, and for underserved children getting their checkups at back to school events. Lisa also supports the Norfolk Health Department's sexually transmitted infection clinic, assisting clients in completing paperwork and navigating the screening process. In addition to her work with the Norfolk MRC, Lisa has taken initiative and connected to programs taking place in other MRC units in adjoining cities. She’s become a community health worker in connection with the Portsmouth MRC to support the health of seniors. She became an Affordable Care Act Counselor in connection with the Virginia Beach MRC to help community members navigate the insurance marketplace. She also supports the Virginia Beach MRC as a facilitator of their “Matter of Balance” education course for individuals with balance issues.

  • Deborah Carlson is a volunteer with the Northwest Vermont MRC. Most likely her biggest impact as an MRC volunteer is the one-on-one interaction she has almost every Friday morning with individuals who frequent the local community soup kitchen. Deb has been a Friday morning staple, meeting with a vulnerable population where and when they are most comfortable. While many were hesitant to mingle with Deb at first, her persistence and approachable personality started to break down the barriers individuals may have had. It only took a few weeks before people started asking when she was going to be returning because they knew others that needed help. Deb spends her Friday mornings helping people tend to their wounds, getting them connected with a primary care physician, scheduling dentist appointments, and helping families with young children sign up for WIC. Deb was able to dedicate more than 125 hours of time to the MRC while still reserving time for 12 grandchildren and going to school for her Social Health Administration degree.

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Outstanding MRC Housing Organization

The Outstanding MRC Housing Organization Award honors MRC Housing Organizations that have served as an exemplary host agency to their MRC and have successfully supported, advocated on behalf, and helped integrate the MRC into their local community’s public health and preparedness infrastructure.

  • Tarrant County Public Health has showed steadfast commitment to the growth and success of the Tarrant County MRC (TX). Having battled growing pains in the early years, Tarrant County Public Health leadership has diligently worked to better understand the program, the value of MRC volunteers, and the importance of volunteer engagement. Leadership has incorporated the MRC into all areas of public health, encouraging program managers to utilize MRC volunteers to assist with community outreach, workload surges, and/or staffing shortages. Additionally, leadership has ensured that volunteer recruitment is a department-wide effort — educating staff about the MRC during new employee orientation, and encouraging the promotion of the MRC when conducting presentations or attending meetings in the community.

  • Fairview Hospital is a staunch advocate of the Berkshire MRC (MA), providing MRC staff with liability and medical insurance, as well as access to all employee programs. In addition, Fairview Hospital does not accept administration fees, so every funding dollar is utilized to support the unit. It also provides access to additional grants and resources for the MRC, like in-kind donations and training space. Through Fairview Hospital, Berkshire MRC volunteers feel valued and are offered rich service and training experiences. They recently formed a Family Support Team, through which volunteers provide care for dependent family members and pets of hospital staff so they can get to work during unexpected emergencies. Rewarding service opportunities with a clear community impact enable the Berkshire MRC to attract and retain a variety of skilled volunteers.

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Outstanding MRC Partner

The Outstanding MRC Partner Award honors MRC Partner Organizations (or Partnerships) that have helped support an MRC in carrying out its local mission and have provided the MRC with more opportunities to participate in public health, preparedness, and response activities. The exemplary partner has played a role in helping to raise MRC awareness and foster MRC integration into their local community’s public health and preparedness infrastructure.

  • Community Partners Against Substance Abuse (CPASA) is a bi-county community substance abuse prevention coalition and partner to the Bureau & Putnam County MRC (IL). In 2015, CPASA learned that there had been 8 heroin deaths in Bureau County in the first 8 months of that year. In response, they held a town hall meeting and called for a task force to address the local heroin issue. As a result of that meeting, a multi-pronged approach to the problem was developed, including the Bureau & Putnam County MRC applying for a Challenge Grant to support Naloxone training with the Marshall County MRC and CPASA as partners. As a result of that grant, Naloxone training was developed and approved by the State Law Enforcement Training Board, and all local law enforcement officers in 3 counties were trained in the use of Naloxone and provided nasal Naloxone kits by the Bureau & Putnam County MRC. While these combined efforts of CPASA’s members and partners -- including the Bureau & Putnam MRC -- cannot be definitively quantified, the team has reported that in 2016, heroin deaths in Bureau County decreased to one.

  • San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department (CA) has provided numerous operational benefits to the San Bernardino MRC, such as injury and medical liability coverage for MRC volunteers; identification badges recognized by disaster personnel; and organized equipment storage, maintenance, and licensure assistance in a deployment. The Sheriff’s department has also provided an active ongoing Sheriff liaison involved in local disaster operations to work directly with MRC staff. Thanks to this partnership, the San Bernardino MRC program becomes stronger each year.

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The Innovator Award honors MRC units that have initiated and carried out a novel and innovative activity over the past year that have helped build on MRC unit and housing organization efforts, engaged unit volunteers in the process, and contributed to strengthening the community’s public health, preparedness, or response system.

  • LaSalle County MRC (IL) was awarded a challenge award in 2016 to build their LaSalle County Naloxone Program. This program focuses on training local law enforcement in the use of nasal Narcan to save opioid overdose victims. Due to this innovative program, in 2016 the LaSalle County MRC was able to train 103 police officers from 10 different local departments, as well as donate over 70 doses of nasal Narcan to area officers in LaSalle County. In 2016 alone, trained officers were able to save 12 lives.

  • Marin MRC (CA) created a program entitled First Aid for Disaster Response. The program, which is designed for non-medically trained volunteers, follows the "stop the bleed" format and provides instruction and hands-on training for intervention in life-threatening incidents involving an obstructed airway and/or significant hemorrhage. The skills taught include opening an airway, controlling bleeding by direct pressure and tourniquet application, splinting fractures, and how to remove a victim from a threatening environment. Thus far, the Marin MRC has administered the class to approximately 600 Marin County residents. The unit’s goal is to be the first county in the country to train the majority of its residents on the application of this specific skill set.

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The Mentor Award honors MRC leaders that have successfully collaborated with other members of the MRC network over the past year to share practices, participate in activities, and carry out initiatives that have strengthened individual and collective groups of MRC units.

  • Alvin McMahon has mentored both Greater Fall River MRC (MA) unit leaders and volunteers, as well as built strong partnerships with community organizations over the years. He now lives in South Carolina and still travels back quarterly to attend the Greater Fall River MRC meetings, and continues to carry out the fiscal responsibility for the 501(c)(3) that he helped form. Volunteers and response partners alike speak highly of Alvin and all the amazing work he has done – and continues to do – to build the MRC.

  • Ron Stewart has been involved with the Schuyler County MRC (MO) for many years and has always been a huge asset when it comes to knowledge of emergency preparedness. He goes above and beyond with his organizational skills, helping others in the community prepare for disasters, and has opened his door and shared his expertise to whomever is in need. Ron’s work has not only strengthened the Schuyler County MRC unit, but really the county as a whole. He has opened up the Schuyler County MRC meetings to every entity in the county (and surrounding counties), and has more than doubled the participation base of the unit. Ron continues to work with community partners and organizations to both prepare themselves, and educate others on preparedness.

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Youth Engagement

The MRC Youth Engagement Award honors MRC units that have successfully promoted the utilization of youth (age 14 to 23) in their local mission and has provided young people with opportunities to participate in public health, preparedness, or response activities. The exemplary youth engagement program will have played a role in raising awareness and education about health, response, and resilience related subjects to youth in the community by incorporating young people in unit programs, activities, and initiatives.

  • For over three years, the MRC of Puerto Rico has helped the Association of Medical Directors of Puerto Rico to sponsor and develop a Youth Health Careers Camp. This annual event promotes education related to health professions for teenagers who are interested in a medical career. During weekends, the 400 student participants were educated on the following topics: leadership in public health emergency response; Arbovirus; flu outbreak; cultural competence; and communications during emergencies. Students were also trained on how to assemble a mobile hospital. Another key youth engagement initiative that the MRC of Puerto Rico is involved in is the Puerto Rico Health Department Youth Council. High school students are part of this organization, whose role is to advise the Puerto Rico Health Department on topics related to teenagers. For four months this year, MRC staff conducted a train-the-trainers course to members of the Youth Council. Upon completion of the training, they organized a Zika Prevention Day where students educated community members through Zika awareness games, presentations, and interactive activities.

  • North Little Rock High School Medpro MRC (AR) is a youth-led unit started in 2010. The unit's knowledgebase is comprised of the MRC Core Competencies, community health needs, and the Medical Professions Curriculum. The students embrace peer-to-peer learning and recently offered to partner with the local health unit and Baptist Health Hospital of North Little Rock to offer support options for expecting teen mothers, with an intent to help the teens successfully graduate from North Little Rock High School. Another activity the students have focused on is providing kindergarten age children with the Teddy Bear Clinic. The Teddy Bear Clinic provides an opportunity for younger children to learn basic first aid, proper tooth brushing techniques, and effective nutritional decision making skills with hands-on application with a teddy bear. The clinics are scheduled through local partnerships with elementary schools and libraries.

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MRC Picture of the Year

The MRC Picture of the Year highlights photographs of MRC volunteers in action at public health, response, training, or other events.

  • The NYC MRC (NY) partnered with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to blanket the city with information about Zika. On the morning of June 20, 2016, 21 MRC members were at subway stations during the morning rush hour in all five boroughs of the city and distributed over 20,000 Zika informational palm cards to the public. In this photo, an MRC volunteer answers questions about Zika in Spanish from a Telemundo reporter.

  • For the past four years, the Lake County MRC (OH) has been integral to the health and safety of residents during the community “Just Run” 5K event. This past year, 2,000 runners participated in the event, including 1,200 students from local schools. MRC volunteers -- both medical and non-medical -- performed an invaluable service behind the scenes and on the front line. This photo is taken of one of the MRC nurses assisting a youth, and in the background another MRC volunteer waits for exhausted runners who may need a little support.

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Elizabeth Fitch Memorial Leadership Award

This award was established in memory of Elizabeth Fitch who served as a MRC unit leader, MRC Regional Coordinator, and MRC National Technical Assistance Coordinator. This award recognizes individuals who exemplify the outstanding passion, commitment, and spirit of volunteerism, partnership, and leadership that Elizabeth embodied and inspired in others.

  • Betty Duggan, Director of the New York City MRC, has played a significant role in helping to raise MRC awareness and foster MRC integration into the state and local public health and preparedness infrastructure. As a leader, she has provided constant and consistent support to the MRC network, mentoring new unit leaders, sharing information and resources -- including the monthly NYC MRC newsletter -- and often being among the first to reply to questions and requests for information on the MRC listserv.

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National Partner Award

The National Partner Award honors those that supported MRC units in carrying out their local missions and have provided MRC units with more opportunities to participate in public health, preparedness, and response activities.

  • University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health Center for Public Health Practice has developed a new Emergency Law Inventory (ELI) tool. ELI is a repository of statutes and regulations that impact volunteers participating in emergency response activities – for example, liability, workers' compensation, license reciprocity, and more. The laws in this tool are searchable by jurisdiction, by area of law, and by profession. Once rolled out, we believe ELI will be a great resource for all MRC units. The University of Pittsburgh staff was willing to collaborate and invite MRC participants to help test the usability and effectiveness of the tool as they fine-tune its capabilities.

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4/4/2017 4:52:00 PM