2007 Highlights

This has been a productive year for our local unit. At the close of the year, there were 520 members in the UMV MRC, representing a diverse complement of medical and non-medical volunteers. Each member could play a crucial role over the coming year. Not only would any disaster tap a unique mix of skills, we all benefit from the expertise of so many dedicated volunteers.

See the home page for articles on our unit’s fall deployments (a TB incident and ten flu clinics), community service activities (especially health fairs and CPR classes), and training and events (many of which are new this year). This season we’ve added a special feature: The Year in Pictures, showing our members in action and highlights from 2007.

There were many exciting developments on the national level. The MRC was promoted from a ‘program’ to an ‘office,’ with a new name and a boost in staffing.


Our National Director is now Captain Rob Tosatto, Office of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps – which now reports directly to the U.S. Surgeon General!

Captain Tosatto with UMV MRC members Phil and Jeanne Cronis at Region I MRC Summit, 10/27/07

Effective October 1, RADM Steven K. Galson became Acting Surgeon General, upon the retirement of RADM Kenneth P. Moritsugu.
RADM Steven K. Galson, Acting U.S. Surgeon General


Four Public Health Service Officers were hired to staff new MRC positions as of January 2008. One of these officers will develop and implement policies related to deployment of volunteers who are willing to serve outside their local jurisdiction during a large-scale emergency. The other officers will focus on strategic planning, high-level partnerships, continued growth and sustainability of the program, and general deployment of volunteers.

More than ever, the network of MRCs has continued its exponential growth. To date there are 730 units, with nearly 151,000 members across the U.S.

The UMV MRC staff remains active in state, regional (New England) and national initiatives. Both the Director and Coordinator worked with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Criminal Offenders Record Board to ensure that any Massachusetts MRC leader has the ability to run CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) background checks on their MRC members. The Director continues to lobby for state legislation specific to providing liability protection for all levels of MRC volunteers in any deployment. She also represents MRCs on a state task force that advocates for the care of special populations in a disaster. The Coordinator serves on the NACCHO (National Association of County and City Health Officials) and MRC joint task force on capacity building.

Our unit is embarking on a promising year ahead. Four of our Advisory Council representatives are overseeing new subcommittees in 2008: Communications, Recruitment and Retention, Funding, and Training. These groups can expand our reach and enhance the capabilities of our unit. We’re also planning a series of events in which residents of the Upper Merrimack Valley – through the help of the UMV MRC and local health departments – can receive emergency planning information and assistance in creating their own 72-hour emergency “go-kits”.

We are always eager to hear from our members and response partners, and encourage your feedback at any time. We are especially proud of your special contributions to the community.

Very best wishes to each of you in 2008!

Warmest regards,
Sandy Collins – Director
Nancy Burns – Coordinator

Coordinator Nancy Burns (left) and Director Sandy Collins hosted a poster presentation at the MA MRC Best Practices Conference in March 2007.

Upper Merrimack Valley Medical Reserve Corps, 55 Main Street, Westford, MA 01886