Mercer County Public Health Prepares Students to Assist During Emergencies

Mercer County Public Health Prepares Students to Assist During Emergencies

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“Antibiotics” are distributed to Medical Reserve Corps volunteers representing community residents during a December 2017 exercise conducted by the Mercer County Division of Public Health and the Princeton Health Department. 

Students at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) are helping Mercer County create a stronger public health force.

Through a collaboration with TCNJ’s Nursing and Public Health programs, the Mercer County Division of Public Health recruited and trained 70 TCNJ students on the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) curriculum over the last two years. These student MRC volunteers supplement existing emergency and public health resources in preparing for and responding to emergencies at the local level.

Students who have not yet graduated are now available to assist their college during a public health emergency, such as a deliberate release of a Category A agent such as anthrax. By having its own MRC team, the college is better able to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster or emergency. The students also are available to help the Mercer County Division of Public Health during other emergencies, such as a natural disaster that may require the opening and operation of a Medical Needs Shelter in the County. Students who received the MRC training and have graduated are now equipped to serve as MRC volunteers in their hometown or another location.

“I applaud those students who put in the time and effort necessary to be able to assist their campus and the greater community as MRC volunteers,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “The MRC is an important element of the County’s overall emergency preparedness.”

The Mercer County Division of Public Health applied for and received the 2018 MRC Challenge Award from the National Association of County and City Health Officials, which provides funds for the Division to develop its MRC recruiting, training and retention capabilities. The Division plans to expand this program by offering the MRC curriculum training to additional institutions of higher education in the County, to further increase mitigation and response capabilities during an emergency.

For more information about the MRC or to volunteer, contact Stephanie Mendelsohn, Mercer County MRC Coordinator, at 609-989-6898 or visit www.mercercounty.org/health.

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