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June 13, 2018
Featured Article
Engaging the Millennial Generation: Summertime Recruitment

Summer is in session, making this a great time for MRC units to focus on recruiting college student volunteers. Engaging students can be a great way to support long-term recruitment strategies and short-term MRC projects. The MRC units highlighted below are all 2017 Challenge Award recipients whose projects serve as replicable examples of how to strategically engage millennial volunteers and support specific unit goals.

Millennial Recruitment Campaign

Millennial recruitment projects can grow MRC unit capacity and ensure long-term continuity. For the Sacramento MRC (SMRC), this approach was a way to address concerns regarding their aging membership base. By using social media and partnerships with academic institutions, SMRC recruited and trained 24 new millennial members for a total of 78 millennial members who have contributed 243 service hours so far. Outreach activities included presentations at nursing and paramedic schools, tabling at college health and safety events, and existing member referrals. After polling their new members, SMRC learned that millennials want to improve the world, make a difference, and help people through hands-on activities like first aid and response efforts. SMRC recommends the following activities for other MRC units looking to begin similar recruitment campaigns:

  • Have an easy to use website and make applications fillable online via computer or mobile device
  • Use existing members to recruit through outreach events, colleagues, and family members
  • Post recruitment flyers and presentations at schools, universities, and medical facilities
  • Survey current millennial members for ideas on how to make the MRC more appealing
  • Advertise through social media and other creative methods (e.g. bus signs) 

Sacramento MRC Website     |     Sacramento MRC Twitter     |     Sacramento MRC Facebook

Enhancing Community Collaboration and Coalitions 

The Southwest Colorado MRC (SWCO MRC) is a fairly new regional MRC unit, just over one year old, that is working on growing their membership base. The unit started a recruitment campaign after recognizing a major gap in their ability to staff and respond to an emergency event in their region. In addition to strengthening community partnerships and participating in local public health events, SWCO MRC also directed recruitment towards local public health students from Fort Lewis College. The new volunteers received training and an exciting opportunity to mobilize during a statewide full-scale exercise. Students were integrated into San Juan Basin Public Health's (SJBPH) Point of Dispensing (POD) in La Plata County, allowing them to see how a POD works and interact with the community. Activities like this are major motivators that excite new recruits and rounds out their training with hands-on experience.   

 Southwest Colorado MRC Website

Health Ambassador Program

College student recruits, especially those interested in public health and health care, can learn a great deal while supporting specific MRC projects. Jackson County, IL MRC created the Health Ambassador Program to address the county’s high rates of cardiovascular disease through public education and outreach for healthier food choices. Health Ambassadors were recruited from Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine – Center for Rural Health to develop marketing strategies, create educational materials, and promote healthy choices at farmer’s markets and convenience stories. Increasing community fruit and vegetable intake is not only important during the summer months, when kids are at home, but also fulfills part of Jackson County’s five-year Community Health Improvement Plan.

Jackson County MRC was able to recruit and train 20 Health Ambassadors while enhancing the students’ skills as future health professionals while connecting them with traditional MRC volunteers and community leaders. The project exceeded expectations with the 2017 market season sales reaching over $24,000, much higher than the program’s anticipated $8,750 in sales.

“A sustained infrastructure has been created for the MRC Health Ambassador program through collaboration with SIU, which will serve to strategically recruit, train, and activate students to serve their transitional community (Jackson County). It is anticipated these trained Health Ambassadors will carry this training forward into their new communities after their college tenure is over, allowing for a greater reach.” – Miriam Link-Mullison and Michelle McLemon, Jackson County MRC

Jackson County MRC Website     |     Jackson County MRC Twitter     |      Jackson County MRC Facebook

MRC/NACCHO Connection
Reauthorization of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act
The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on June 6, 2018 to examine the reauthorization of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), the act which authorizes the MRC. The hearing allowed witnesses to provide feedback on the discussion draft. Witnesses included Dr. Robert Kadlec, HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and NACCHO Board President, Dr. Umair Shah, in addition to representatives from the FDA, CDC, Chimerix, and University of Chicago Medicine. 
A recording of the hearing and witness testimonies are available here
Why Behavioral Health Planning is Critical

Behavioral health is an essential part of community resilience and recovery from traumatic events, after which individuals and first responders may experience a range of emotional, behavioral, physical, and cognitive responses. While many individuals are resilient and will recover on their own, others may require additional support.

Many MRC units support local health departments in their efforts to work with partners to improve the behavioral health of their communities before, during, and after a disaster. This article includes a list of disaster behavioral health resources compiled from a variety of sources for local health departments.

Mental/Behavioral Health Resources

NACCHO is committed to supporting local health departments in their efforts to work with partners to improve the behavioral health of their communities before, during, and after a disaster. Below is a list of disaster behavioral health resources compiled from a variety of sources for local health departments.


Planning Resources

  • NACCHO’s Toolbox contains a variety of disaster behavioral health resources, including example disaster behavioral health response plans, recovery plans, tools and templates for family assistance centers and points of dispensing, and guidance around legal and ethical considerations for mental and behavioral health planning.
  • CDC has compiled planning resources for state and local governments to help them include mental health management throughout each phase of a disaster.
  • Mental Health All Hazards Disaster Planning Guidance provides direction and support for state and local mental health leaders as they create and/or revise all-hazards response plans (SAMHSA and the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors).
  • Fact sheet: Tips for Health Care Practitioners and Responders: Helping Survivors Cope with Grief after a Disaster or Traumatic Event (SAMHSA).
  • NACCHO, in collaboration with the Northeast Texas Public Health District and El Paso Department of Public Health, developed two behavioral health videos designed for use in points of dispensing. Presented in English and Spanish, with closed captioning and on-screen American Sign Language interpretation, these videos are designed to help first responders, children, and the general public manage and cope with stress after disasters or traumatic events.
  • SAMHSA has developed several tip sheets that local health departments can share with the public on coping with grief and re-traumatization following a disaster or traumatic event.

Federal Resources and Technical Assistance

The entire post can be found here.

Our Respects to Stephen Stoll, Berkeley MRC Founder

Stephen Stoll, Berkeley MRC Founder and Director of the UCPD Office of Emergency Preparedness, died May 31 at age 69.  Stephen was a shining example of leadership in emergency preparedness and campus safety. We thank him for his outstanding efforts as a leader and share our condolences with his family and the Berkeley MRC community.

As reported in The Daily Californian, Stoll worked with student emergency responders to transform what was previously called Bear Emergency Medical Services into the state-certified Berkeley Medical Reserve Corps (BMRC). Stoll urged UC Berkeley administration to work the student emergency responders into the campus disaster plan, according to BMRC Director Thibault Philippine. Sharon Yau, BMRC Deputy Director of Emergency Preparedness, said that from 2015 to 2018, BMRC’s membership increased from about 30 to 100.

Stoll’s leadership was lauded by BMRC volunteers for its direct and empathetic style. Former BMRC deputy director of emergency preparedness Harshika Chowdhary appreciated Stoll’s respect for student input and said he would always add to what students said rather dismissing or minimizing their contributions. 

Read the full article from The Daily Californian here.

CMS Announces First Rural Health Strategy

On May 8, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the agency’s first Rural Health Strategy. Since many MRC units are located in rural areas, the strategy may be a helpful tool for guiding rural health practices. The strategy provides a proactive approach on healthcare issues to ensure that the nearly one in five individuals who live in rural America have access to high quality, affordable healthcare. The agency-wide Rural Health Strategy, built on input from rural providers and beneficiaries, focuses on five objectives to achieve the agency’s vision for rural health.

The agency-wide Rural Health Strategy, built on input from rural providers and beneficiaries, focuses on five objectives to achieve the agency’s vision for rural health:

  • Apply a rural lens to CMS programs and policies
  • Improve access to care through provider engagement and support
  • Advance telehealth and telemedicine
  • Empower patients in rural communities to make decisions about their healthcare
  • Leverage partnerships to achieve the goals of the CMS Rural Health Strategy

Although the strategy does not explicitly focus on preparedness and response, it does address cross-cutting issues such as rural public health and healthcare capacity, workforce, telemedicine, and partnerships.

For more information:

Rural Health Strategy Website     |      Rural Health Fact Sheet

DHS FY 2018 Preparedness Grants

DHS has released their fiscal year (FY) 2018 funding opportunities for eight Department of Homeland Security grant programs. Many of the grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from, and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies. MRC units housed within state and local government agencies may be interested in learning more about these opportunities. 

All of the below Notices of Funding Opportunities can be found at

Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG)—provides more than $350 million to assist state, local, tribal, territorial governments in enhancing and sustaining all-hazards emergency management capabilities.

Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP)—provides more than $1 billion for states and urban areas to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and other threats.

  • State Homeland Security Program (SHSP)
  • Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)
  • Operation Stonegarden (OPSG)

Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP)—provides $10 million to eligible tribal nations to implement preparedness initiatives to help strengthen the nation against risk associated with potential terrorist attacks and other hazards.
Please contact Alyson Jordan, NACCHO’s MRC Communications Specialist,
with any questions or suggestions for the newsletter at 202-783-5528 or at
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