MRC Adopts Competencies for Disaster Medicine and Public Health as New Competency Set for Volunteers

MRC_Core_Competencies3NACCHO, in collaboration with the Division of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps (DCVMRC), is pleased to announce that the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) has adopted the Competencies for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (DMPH Competencies) as the new competency set for the MRC Volunteers. The Medical Reserve Corps is a national network of engaged, local volunteers. MRC volunteers are organized and trained to strengthen public health, reduce vulnerability and disaster risk, build resiliency and adaptive capacity, and improve community preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities.

 “The Competencies for Disaster Medicine and Public Health provide guidelines for a baseline set of skills for Medical Reserve Corps volunteers. The guidelines will allow MRC unit leaders to develop training plans and cultivate response capabilities in their communities. They can also use the guidelines to improve coordination with response partners and more closely align with our national mission to improve the health, safety and resiliency of the nation,” said CAPT Rob Tosatto, Director of the DCVMRC.

The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH) serves as an academic home for the development and dissemination of core skills, knowledge, abilities, and for research on education and training strategies in the field of disaster medicine and public health. The NCDMPH developed the DMPH Competencies in 2012 in collaboration with a multidisciplinary expert working group. The DMPH Competency set is designed specifically for disaster and public health preparedness, response, and management. They are widely understood to define the knowledge and skills needed for a healthcare professional and/or first responder to perform a task in a safe and consistent manner. “Constructing the training of MRC volunteers around these core competencies provides a skeleton upon which to care for our fellow citizens.  The NCDMPH is thrilled with the MRC adoption of the core competencies in DMPH and pledges to support the effort as much as possible,” said Dr. Kenneth Schor, Acting Director of the NCDMPH.    

As highlighted in the National Health Security Strategy and other public health accreditation standards like PHAB and PPHR, development of the workforce is vital to community level resilience. With over 65% of MRC units housed within local health departments, the DMPH core competencies provide a structure for standardizing learning among health professionals, including MRC volunteers. With support from national partners, NACCHO is using the DMPH competencies to develop a National Training Plan for MRC unit leaders and volunteers. The National Training Plan will present a “menu” of options to guide MRC Unit leaders and volunteers with trainings that align with the DMPH Competencies. NACCHO has also developed factsheets that are designed to illustrate the connections between the DMPH Competencies and the mission and work of the MRC network.  All of these resources can be downloaded from NACCHO’s Medical Reserve Corps Toolbox. The NCDMPH also provides a wealth of information about the competencies and general information in the field of disaster health.

About Tahlia Gousse

Tahlia Gousse is a Sr. Program Analyst on NACCHO's Public Health Preparedness Team. Her work focuses on the Roadmap to Ready Mentoring and Training program as well as general program evaluation and training design.

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