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The Long Beach Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) serves the City of Long Beach and its approximately 500,000 residents by working directly with the Public Health Emergency Management Program at the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services. Our MRC is dedicated to the recruitment of volunteers to support the Long Beach Health Department’s disaster response efforts. The MRC is composed of health professionals (such as physicians, nurses, other allied healthcare providers, and disaster service volunteers), and also volunteers with non-medical/healthcare backgrounds. MRC members are trained to respond along with Health Department staff to local public health emergencies.

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Volunteer Spotlight

Dr. Matthew Vo, M.D. is an anesthesiologist and pain management physician. He began his medical practice at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach in 2000. He is the Vice-Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and serves on various committees including the Pain, Neuroscience and Cancer committees. In addition, he represents the hospital’s medical staff as part of the California Medical Association and volunteers with the California Public Protection and Physician Health Inc. to promote physician well-being. Dr. Vo is committed to preparedness efforts, collaborating with St. Mary’s Disaster Resource Center Director, Kathy Dollarhide on events and participating in hospital drills and exericises

Dr. Vo joined the Long Beach MRC in 2007 after seeing an ad in a local newspaper. Motivated by the tragedies of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Vo wanted to do what he could to help others prepare for emergencies and disasters, and volunteering as a physician would allow him to do so.

When asked why he chose the Long Beach MRC, Dr. Vo said, “I have lived in Long Beach since 2000, so it made perfect sense for me to join this MRC. Also, I enjoy working with everyone in the organization - which is very well run, and everyone here is wonderful to work with. I especially appreciate working with our Unit Coordinator, who has been doing an outstanding job for the organization. Over the years we have done a lot of training and participated in many local events, including vaccination clinics for H1N1.  All of the events benefited our community, reinforcing my motivations to help Long Beach prepare for possible disasters.”

Being a physician and a father to three young children does not leave Dr. Vo much spare time. However, he is a master in tai chi and has taught tai chi classes for many years to help others benefit from this holistic exercise. He is also the founder of the Health Arts Institute, which offers exercise classes in yoga and tai chi, acupuncture, massage therapy, and nutrition counseling in order to provide people with the benefits of Eastern & holistic medical treatments.

The Long Beach MRC thanks Dr. Vo for his years of services with the unit. Long Beach and the MRC are fortunate to have him on their team.

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