Medical Reserve Corps of Whatcom County

Dedicated to establishing teams of local medical and public health professionals to volunteer their skills and expertise throughout the year as well as during times of community need.

Why do we have a Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)?

"At another national conference on Haiti Wednesday, this one sponsored by the American Medical Association, a doctor talked about how well-intentioned volunteers, many of them Americans, made things worse. He called them SUVs—'spontaneous unsolicited volunteers'."  You’d be surprised at the number of doctors, medical students and other volunteers who not only got in the way but who also became casualties," said Daniel Edney, medical director of Mississippi Baptist Disaster Relief."
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Because Whatcom County has an MRC, we won't be in this situation.  By joining the MRC, Medical volunteers are prepared to be part of the solution, instead of part of the problem. Because Whatcom County has an MRC, we were able to jump in and help get H1N1 vaccinations out to the public more quickly. Members receive the training they need to integrate into the larger response effort. This is why we have an MRC.

Join your neighbors and friends in committing to serve our community during a disaster. Be part of the team that helps Whatcom County when she needs it most.

Retired professionals who held a valid Washington medical license and are registered as volunteers with the Medical Reserve Corps are now eligible to receive a retired medical volunteer license. This license allows you to practice up to the level of your previous credential when participating in an official Medical Reserve Corps event. For more information, please visit: or contact the MRC office with questions.


Photo of volunteersThe mission of the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is to allow local volunteer medical and health professionals to contribute their skills and expertise throughout the year as well as during times of community need. Our Medical Reserve Corps unit is made of medical and health volunteers who can assist our community during emergencies, such as an earthquake or influenza epidemic.

Benefits to the Community:

Major local emergencies can overwhelm the capability of first responders, especially during the first 12-72 hours. Having citizens who are prepared to take care of themselves, their families and others during times of crisis will allow first-responders to focus their efforts on the most critical, life threatening situations.

An organized, well trained Medical Reserve Corps unit means that volunteers can effectively respond to an emergency, are familiar with their community's response plan, know what materials are available for their use, know who their partners in the response are, and know where their skills can be utilized to their best advantage and in a coordinated manner.Photo of Whatcom County Museum

An Organized Team Approach

During an emergency, Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham (and other jurisdictions) will activate their Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP). This plan defines how emergency personnel (fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and others) will respond to and manage the emergency. Spontaneous volunteers may hinder rescue efforts because they may not be familiar with local plans or procedures.

Volunteer logo

By creating a Medical Reserve Corps unit that is linked to Whatcom County's Emergency Response Plan the members of the Medical Reserve Corps can truly benefit the community by knowing what their role is during an emergency, how they fit into the emergency plan, and how best to respond so that they are a positive support structure for the first responders. Learn more about the History of the MRC.

Secretary Sebelius, 9/11 and MRC