Dean Boris Lushniak’s Call to Volunteer Action through Maryland Responds Maryland Medical Reserve Corps

As professionals dedicated to “doing good,” those of us in public health are avid volunteers. Thank you to SPH alumni and friends for sending us updates about your COVID-19 volunteer activities. We are documenting your important work, and welcome additional stories. To those who have asked about volunteer opportunities, I recommend that you register with the Maryland Responds Maryland Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)

The Maryland Responds MRC is part of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), a national network of local volunteer programs. The NIMS was established after the events of 9/11/2001 to improve public health, emergency response and resilience. The steps to become a Maryland Responder only take a few hours and are described in the “Road to Readiness”: 

  • Individuals who are 18 years and older from either medical or non-medical categories are eligible to register. 
  • Registered MRC volunteers are not first responders, but are training to serve in supportive roles during public health and emergency response deployments. 
  • Your decision to participate in events is voluntary.
  • If you live outside of Maryland but work or are a student in Maryland, you can still register with the Maryland Responds MRC.

Given my experience leading domestic and international deployments as the Deputy and Acting Surgeon General and Rear Admiral in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, I know that being part of a team providing timely response to a health emergency is an experience like no other and strengthens our commitment and sense of duty to protect, promote and prolong health. In response to COVID-19, I established a School of Public Health Incident Command Team. One of our goals is to facilitate volunteer involvement in the public health response. Your registration with Maryland Responds MRC is an efficient way to contribute. Health departments in Florida and Massachusetts have formally partnered with schools of public health to address this pandemic. Let’s do this in Maryland!

Please notify the School of Public Health if you are already registered, or once you have registered. You can respond via our “Maryland Responds MRC” Google form. This will allow us to inform our health department liaisons with our “registered” capacity as we continue to respond to their public health needs and to recognize the efforts of our SPH community. 

Our response to COVID-19 demands help from everyone. Our SPH community has responded by following recommended personal lifestyle changes and practices, remote work and learning approaches, and by contributing to the public health response. We applaud you and thank you.

Boris D. Lushniak. MD, MPH
Dean and Professor
University of Maryland, School of Public Health