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Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2010 Oct;4(3):213-9. doi: 10.1001/dmp.2010.17.

A toolkit to assess Medical Reserve Corps units' performance.

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  • 1Harvard School of Public Health-Center for Public Health Preparedness, Landmark Center, 3rd Floor E, 401 Park Dr, Boston, MA 02215, USA.



The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a national network of community-based units created to promote the local identification, recruitment, training, and activation of volunteers to assist local health departments in public health activities. This study aimed to develop a toolkit for MRC coordinators to assess and monitor volunteer units' performance and identify barriers limiting volunteerism.


In 2008 and 2009, MRC volunteers asked to participate in influenza clinics were surveyed in 7 different locations throughout the United States. Two survey instruments were used to assess the performance of the volunteers who were able to participate, the specific barriers that prevented some volunteers from participating, and the overall attitudes of those who participated and those who did not. Validity and reliability of the instruments were assessed through the use of factor analysis and Cronbach's alpha.


Two survey instruments were developed: the Volunteer Self-Assessment Questionnaire and the Barriers to Volunteering Questionnaire. Data were collected from a total of 1059 subjects, 758 participated in the influenza clinics and 301 were unable to attend. Data from the 2 instruments were determined to be suitable for factor analysis. Factor solutions and inter-item correlations supported the hypothesized domain structure for both survey questionnaires. Results on volunteers' performance were consistent with observations of both local health departments' staff and external observers.


The survey instruments developed for this study appear to be valid and reliable means to assess the performance and attitudes of MRC volunteers and barriers to their participation. This study found these instruments to have face and content validity and practicality. MRC coordinators can use these questionnaires to monitor their ability to engage volunteers in public health activities.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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