After September 11, 2001, the federal government identified a number of ways that citizens could participate in emergency preparedness activities at the local, state, and national levels.

The Office of the Surgeon General (OSG) announced the formation of the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) program in early 2002. The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is the component of the Citizen Corps that brings together local health professionals and non-medical laypersons to contribute their skills and expertise during times of public health emergency and non-emergency community events. They assist existing community emergency medical response systems, as well as provide a group of readily trained and available resources to help a community deal with pressing public health needs and improvements.

Currently, there are four (4) federally recognized MRCs that provide volunteer coverage for all of the 27 communities in Massachusetts Emergency Preparedness Region 4b.

  1. The community of Brookline sponsors a federally recognized MRC.
  2. The community of Newton sponsors a federally recognized MRC.
  3. The communities of Canton, Dedham, Milton, Needham, Norwood, Wellesley, and Westwood
    have jointly established the federally recognized Norfolk County 7 (NC7).
  4. The Region 4b MRC, hosted by the Arlington Health Department, is an umbrella organization serving every community in the region.