If a major disaster or pandemic outbreak hit the area, Cathy Mitchell wouldn’t be among Tippecanoe County’s first responders.

But Mitchell, a nurse working in ophthalmology at St. Elizabeth Medical Center, said she’d still like to be able to help. That’s why she volunteered to be part of the county’s new Medical Reserve Corps.

A local chapter of the national Medical Reserve Corps is being formed by the Tippecanoe County Health Department. Recruitment is just beginning but organizers are hoping to get as many as 150 volunteers this year.

Most licensed medical professionals would be able to help, including nurses, doctors, pharmacists, nursing assistants, mental health providers, dentists and veterinarians.

“We would be able to support first responders and help people in our community,” Mitchell said. “I thought it would be a good way to give back.”

Medical Reserve Corps volunteers could help beyond disastertimes, said Tilara Treece, emergency preparedness coordinator with the health department.

She hopes the group members can help educate the public on health matters, volunteer at first-aid stations during community events and even work at the department’s immunization clinics.

http://www.jconline.com/article/20090322/NEWS/903220347

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