DERRY — A volunteer medical corps that can assist in the event of a bioterrorist attack or other emergency could soon receive grant funding assistance.
Town councilors voted last week to allow the Derry Health Department to apply for grants for the Greater Derry Medical Reserve Corps. The medical corps could receive a grant of up to $3,500 from the National Association of County and City Officials, said Garrett Simonson, coordinator of the Greater Derry Public Health Network.
The purpose of the funding is to help communities to sustain active Medical Reserve Corps programs that support public health emergency response.
In addition, the state Department of Health and Human Services, through its contract with the Community Health Institute, will offer grant funding of up to $10,000, Simonson said Wednesday.
The Greater Derry Medical Reserve Corps has been active since 2003, with administrative oversight by the Derry Health Department. The mission of the medical reserve corps is to recruit, train, deploy and retain volunteer health professionals and others to assist in response to bioterrorism, public health emergencies and other community needs.
Simonson said both clinical and nonclinical volunteers are trained for the medical corps to assist in a terrorist attack, such as anthrax, or some other emergency. But much more typically, volunteers assist in weather-related events.
"More often the response is around weather events, so the volunteers are trained in working in shelters," he said.
There are approximately 95 medical corps volunteers, including about 35 registered nurses and four physicians, he said.
Simonson said the medical corps has assisted in numerous emergencies, including area shelter operations, mass vaccination clinics and testing services during a Hepatitis C outbreak last year in New Hampshire.
If the application is approved, funds from the potential $3,500 grant could be received as soon as January, Simonson said.