New Orleans Medical Reserve Corps Receives MRC Challenge Award For Public Health Initiatives

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Medical Reserve Corps, a division of the New Orleans Health Department, announced it has been awarded a $15,000 Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Challenge Award from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) in partnership with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

         The award will be used to increase awareness of hurricane preparedness in New Orleans’ at-risk populations. Funding will specifically be used to develop and print new brochures, set up outreach events, promote the New Orleans Special Needs Registry and start a coalition of community partners that will assist the City in making sure our hurricane plans meet the needs of at-risk individuals.

         “As we approach hurricane season, we are proud of our collaboration with the National Association of County and City Health Officials,” said Charlotte Parent, director of the New Orleans Health Department. “This award will allow us to protect the public’s health and prepare our most vulnerable residents for the upcoming hurricane season.”

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         The MRC Challenge Award funds MRC units to implement innovative projects in their communities that can be replicated on a national level. The projects also align with one of four focus areas: disaster risk reduction; chronic disease prevention; partners for empowered communities; and mental and emotional well being.

         In 2014, with assistance from a similar challenge award, the New Orleans Medical Reserve Corps developed new hurricane preparedness brochures and enrolled over 300 residents in the New Orleans Special Needs Registry. This year, the MRC will work with the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP) and Evacuteer to assure that at-risk populations receive important hurricane preparedness information. Evacuteer is a local non-profit that recruits, trains and manages evacuation volunteers through a public-private partnership with the City of New Orleans. The New Orleans Health Department considers the elderly, individuals with medical and mobility needs, pregnant women, children and non-English speakers to be at-risk populations.

         “In the past year, many Medical Reserve Corps units were on the front lines protecting their communities from public health threats like Ebola and measles, and assisting after natural disasters such as the Washington State mudslide,” said CAPT Rob Tosatto, director of the Division of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps. “These challenges require innovative, sustainable and cost effective solutions for protecting the public's health. The Challenge Award is an investment designed to increase the resilience of local communities by supporting new approaches to reduce disaster and health risks.”

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         Nearly 200 MRC units from across the United States completed the application, and the top 43 most promising applicants received awards totaling more than $600,000 to implement the proposed initiatives.



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