LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico Medical Reserve Corps has grown out of necessity to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, the corps has grown from about 2,000 volunteers to about 7,400. State MRC coordinator Bobbie MacKenzie said that, at one point, up to 200 new volunteers were being deployed each week across New Mexico.
The Medical Reserve Corps is a division of the state health department, entirely federally funded, made up of both medical and non-medical volunteers. Across the state, MRC volunteers assist with both planned health events and unfolding crises.
Online, the New Mexico Department of Health says the MRC mission is “to augment local community health and medical services during a disaster, public health emergency or community public health event with pre-identified, trained and credentialed volunteers.”
In New Mexico, MRC volunteers typically provide medical support at the Bataan Memorial Death March held annually at White Sands Missile Range. In 2019, MRC members provided health assessments, cared for and obtained medications for an influx of asylum seekers dropped off in Las Cruces by U.S. Border Patrol.