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Kentucky Medical Reserve Corps receives $2.5 million

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

State officials announced $2.5 million will go toward supporting the expansion and restructuring of the Kentucky Medical Reserve Corps. The support will help enhance emergency response and proactively protect Kentuckians in all 120 counties.

Officials with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services said the Medical Reserve Corps is comprised of 29 locally housed units with volunteers across 78 counties. The pandemic and severe weather that hit both western and eastern Kentucky have highlighted the need to restructure the program in emergency preparedness.

KCHFS Secretary Eric Friedlander said anyone interested in being a part of the reserve corps can visit their federal website.

“It’s got a lot of information on what the corps is, and how you might volunteer for that. And that’s on a national level. You’ll be able to figure out from there how to get to the local level. Lots of your local health departments will know, the Department for Public Health and their emergency operations center. They’re the ones that coordinate out of Frankfort all these other Medical Reserve Corps,” said Friedlander.

Plans for restructuring include consolidating local Medical Reserve Corps units into eight regionalized units that will be housed under Kentucky’s Healthcare Coalition within the preparedness branch of the State Department for Public Health.

Friedlander said the reserve corps is a great opportunity for Kentuckians to help each other through difficult times.

“If folks are interested in volunteering they can do that through our AmeriCorps program, and there are many, many opportunities. It’s just an example of how when Kentuckians get hit with something we’re there for each other, and that’s one of the really nice things that we learned through some of these natural disasters. I hope we can keep that spirit even when there’s not an emergency.”

Volunteers also provide medical support and first aid at large public gatherings such as the Kentucky Derby.

Anyone interested in being a part of Kentucky Medical Reserve Corps can go to www.chfs.ky.gov for more information.