The MRC is a volunteer group at the Will County Health Department that helps increase awareness of Emergency Preparedness, as well as how to respond to Public Health emergencies. Recently, the MRC unit joined into a partnership with the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) group at Joliet West High School.
The MRC provides assistance to the Will County Health Department when their help is needed. One example would have been the H1N1 Virus situation in the fall of 2009. MRC members assisted with the various clinics that were set up to dispense vaccinations.
HOSA advisor Mary Spata explained that “partnering with the MRC is an excellent learning opportunity for our HOSA students. Our MRC partnership improves community health and resilience by involving our students in public health and emergency preparedness. Our students are the future advocates for health through efforts aligned to prevent disease, increase longevity, and improve population health.
In addition, the MRC – HOSA partnership also allows students to interact with MRC members who work in or have worked in the healthcare field.
MRC Unit Coordinator Barbara Agor says the MRC provides an opportunity for those 18 and older who simply “want to help the community become a safer and a healthier place.” The group includes people from the medical field as well as people with no medical background.
Agor also emphasized that the MRC can be for people just starting a career in the medical field, or looking to simply stay involved. “Many of our members, but not all, have some sort of medical or nursing background; and that includes retired nurses who just want to help, learn, and stay involved.”
The Will County Health Department provides monthly trainings to their MRC volunteers on a variety of Public Health topics; such as medication dispensing, food safety for the holidays, and blood borne pathogen. Volunteers are also provided CPR training, and are invited to trainings hosted by other volunteer groups in the county. This HOSA partnership is a great opportunity for “HOSA students to come to our meetings; and the MRC can be involved in their meetings at Joliet West as well. The students are able to work alongside the MRC volunteers at health fairs and other community events,” explained Emergency Response Coordinator Katie Weber.
The Will County Health Department is always accepting new volunteers into the group. Anyone interested in joining the MRC unit should contact Barbara Agor at 815-727-8802 for more information.