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National Medical Reserve Corps Bestows Mentor Award on Dutchess County’s Joe Ryan

Published: 6/3/2020

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Colleen Pillus, Communications Director

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Poughkeepsie, NY … As the current COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the nation like never before, communities like Dutchess County have mobilized their plans to safeguard the health and safety of their residents. The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) of Dutchess County, for example, has stepped up to complement the County’s strategies; and Joe Ryan, the organization’s leader, has received national recognition for the MRC’s work to keep residents safe.

Coordinator of the MRC of Dutchess County with 22 years of service to Dutchess County in various positions, Mr. Ryan has received the Mentor Award from the national Medical Reserve Corps, sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The MRC Program Recognition Awards, including the Mentor Award, were presented during a special MRC Well Check Webinar on Tuesday, June 2nd.

The MRC of Dutchess County is part of a national network of volunteers dedicated to supporting public health infrastructure and disaster preparedness and response in their local communities. The MRC of Dutchess County consists of more than 700 members, comprised of both healthcare and non-healthcare professionals, and the organization supports both the County’s departments of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) and Emergency Response.

County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Joe Ryan’s dedication to Dutchess County and the safety of its residents is unparalleled, and the Mentor Award is national recognition for the work Joe performs on behalf of County residents each day. The Medical Reserve Corps of Dutchess County performs vital work to support Dutchess County Government and its mission to safeguard the well-being of each of our residents. Particularly during these unprecedented times, MRC members have stepped up in numerous ways to assist the County as ‘Dutchess Responds’ to the COVIC-19 pandemic, and Joe Ryan has been critical in leading the organization.”

The Mentor Award honors MRC leaders who have successfully collaborated with other members of the MRC network over the past year to share practices, participate in activities, and carry out initiatives that have strengthened individual and collective groups of MRC units.

Among Mr. Ryan’s accomplishments, he started a five-county MRC leaders’ work group in 2017, which meet to discuss best practices, challenges and approaches to solve those challenges. The MRC Region II liaison and the New York State Volunteer Coordinator have been included in meetings to provide a regional perspective and potential resources to support MRC unit administration, recruitment, retention and deployment activities. To date, the work group has created pathways for information sharing, such as newsletters and training announcements; collaborated on funding opportunities; shared MRC unit policies and combined efforts for volunteer engagement.

In 2019, MRC of Dutchess County members recorded 4,200 volunteer hours, which was a record at the time. As of the end of May 2020, MRC volunteers had logged more than 4,500 hours, setting a record for training, volunteer hours and recruitment.

Mr. Ryan said, “I thank the MRC for this honor, and I appreciate the national organization recognizing the valuable role our volunteer members play in keeping Dutchess County residents safe. I appreciate County Executive Molinaro and the leadership in our departments of Behavioral & Community Health and Emergency Response for supporting the MRC of Dutchess County and its critical mission. Our dedicated volunteers are ready at a moment’s notice, always willing to give their time, talents and resources to serve their county.”

Proving the willingness of MRC members to serve Dutchess County in time of need, more than 200 volunteers have joined since March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The time and effort these members – both with and without formal medical training – have contributed have helped keep Dutchess County residents healthy and safe. The MRC of Dutchess County is active in multiple COVID-19 endeavors, including:

  • Staffing more than 250 shifts at Dutchess County’s Coronavirus Call Center totaling more than  1,000 hours;
  • Delivering groceries and/or medication orders to those in isolation as part of the Dutchess Responds relief effort;
  • Assisting in monitoring and testing hundreds of individuals exposed to COVID-19;
  • Volunteering to train and staff Dutchess County’s Recovery Center at Dutchess Community College;
  • Volunteering and training to become contact tracers, helping Dutchess County and the Hudson Valley region reach Phase 1 of the re-opening process as quickly as possible;
  • Training to assist in the Medical Examiner’s Office;
  • Making medical rounds at the County’s homeless shelter to homeless in isolation;
  • Assembling more than 10,000 pairs of goggles, face shields and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits; and
  • Assisting with a number of other logistical operations and in the Emergency Operation Center.

Prior to assuming the position of MRC Coordinator in May 2016, Mr. Ryan worked for the Dutchess County Office for the Aging for 18 years.

Residents interested in learning more about the MRC of Dutchess County, including how to register as a volunteer member, can find information on the County’s website.