A Message from the Surgeon General

Dear MRC Leaders and Volunteers,

With temperatures dropping, holiday plans in full swing, and thoughts turning towards the New Year, I send you season's greetings from the Office of the Surgeon General. While this past year was an exciting year for me as I assumed the role of acting Surgeon General; it was certainly an equally eventful period for the Medical Reserve Corps.

CAPT Tosatto and his staff have quickly made me aware of the value that Medical Reserve Corps members add to their communities, as well as the incomparable asset they are to the nation. It is with the help of every MRC leader and volunteer that the health and safety of the nation has grown stronger with each day.

I am impressed by the wide range of MRC activities that support the Surgeon General’s priorities for public health. Throughout the year many MRC members have devoted their time to staffing flu vaccination clinics, providing blood pressure checks, screening for diabetes and other chronic diseases, and sharing health and preparedness information at health fairs. You have touched countless lives because you devoted your time, care and expertise.

Our nation also saw several disasters in 2007, and many MRC members assisted those in need. I have heard stories of MRC volunteers participating with local health departments to staff immunization clinics following the tornado that devastated Greensburg, Kansas. MRC units in New Hampshire, New York, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Ohio participated in local relief efforts when flooding occurred in their communities. MRC volunteers provided disaster mental health services, distributed information to flood area victims, staffed shelters, assisted with immunization clinics, and supported command centers. MRC units in Minnesota responded to the I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis and provided assistance at the Family Assistance Center. And more than 100 members of several Southern California MRC units provided much-needed care at shelters in response to the wildfires this fall.

The MRC program office also saw growth this year - in numbers and breadth of capabilities. With the office transitions to the Office of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps, the program office will continue to add staff, and develop new policies, procedures and resources. I am positive that the MRC will only benefit from the added support, knowledge and experience it will gain.

With the momentum of this past year, and with all of your hard work, I know that the MRC will live up to its theme in 2008: Volunteers Building Strong, Health and Prepared Communities. Thank you for all that you do!

I wish each of you and your families a happy and safe holiday season and best wishes for the New Year.

Warmest regards,
Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H.
RADM, USPHS
Acting Surgeon General