OKMRC History

Oklahoma City bombing site.

Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, many medical and healthcare professionals wanted to volunteer to help.  However, there was no system in place to efficiently identify them, check credentials and training, and assign them to the "right place at the right time."

The National Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Program was launched in July 2002 by the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General in response to President George W. Bush’s call for Americans to offer volunteer services in their community. The objective of the MRC program is to create a national network of local, community based groups of medical, public health, and other volunteers who are organized and utilized to prepare for and respond to all-hazards, as well as to provide public health support throughout the year. At the national level, the Medical Reserve Corps Program Office facilitates efforts to establish and implement local MRC units across the country (Public Law (PL) 107-188, the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, Section 107).

In the fall of 2002, the City of Tulsa was the first Oklahoma MRC grant recipient to receive funding directly from the Department of Health and Human Services. The following year, three additional Oklahoma MRC units received grant funding. Those grantees included the City of Oklahoma City, the City of Lawton and the Oklahoma Nurses Association. Originally, the four local MRC units operated under the umbrella of the Oklahoma State Citizen Corps Program. In 2004, Emergency System for Advanced Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP) funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was utilized to develop the OKMRC website and database. The four original MRC Units and the Oklahoma ESAR-VHP programs were consolidated to form the current statewide volunteer program known as the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps. In order to sustain local efforts and maintain the growth and development of a unified and consistent public health and medical volunteer program, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) transferred the oversight and responsibility for the OKMRC to the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) in November of 2005.