The Medical Reserve Corps of the Texas State Guard (MRC-TXSG) was commissioned by the Governor of Texas on March 11th, 2003. In a letter to the Texas Adjutant General and the President of The University of Texas Health Science (UTHSCSA), he required the establishment of a cadre of volunteer health care professionals and affiliated support personnel to "supplement the efforts of the Texas Department of Health in addressing public health emergencies." The first subordinate unit of the state-wide organization was established at UTHSCSA in San Antonio, Texas, as the Alamo Medical Response Group, responsible for South Texas. The university presidents of Texas six other state-supported medical schools have been invited to establish their own regional group of the MRC-TXSG, modeled on the evolving structure and operational/ training procedures of the Alamo Medical Response Group.
During its first 4 months of existence, the MRC-TXSG admitted its first 40 members, duly commissioned or enlisted them in the Texas State Guard, and organized them into several medical response teams. The state-wide MRC-TXSG organization has adopted the official moniker of "The Texas Medical Rangers" and training of MedRangers has been underway since March 2003, sponsored by the UTHSCSAs Center for Public Health Preparedness and Biomedical Research (CPHPBR; see the streaming video training site at http://cphpbr.uthscsa.edu/archive.html). Face-to-face TMR membership marketing is on-going and individualized recruitment interviews are conducted for every applicant.
Upon accession into the organization, MedRangers acquire the military uniform of the Texas Military Forces and begin three types of training: 1) independent study on Web-based disaster sites (e.g., http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/crslist.asp), 2) group study at CPHPBR public educational presentations (see first url, above) and at other approved Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) effects presentations and conferences, and 3) participation as a MedRanger representative on planning and execution teams for scheduled exercises (e.g., those sponsored by the Texas Department of Health, regional disaster response groups, U.S. Northern Command, NDMS, etc.).
MRC-TXSG is uniquely positioned as part of the State of Texas military defense forces; approximately 50 percent of MedRanger volunteers are state-employed health care professionals (e.g., employees of UTHSCSA). In a major public health emergency in Texas, Medical Rangers provide a core "surge capacity" of highly trained specialists to relieve and supplement public health authority efforts to control, contain, assess and eradicate outbreaks of deadly disease occurring naturally or as a result of bioterrorism. The MRC-TXSG mission is to provide professional and organizational expertise and early medical intervention to stem the adverse consequences of contagions affecting public health in Texas. For outbreaks too severe for regional and state response, the MedRangers serve as the public health "scouts forward" and the de facto "advanced party" for federal medical assets deployed to Texas to strengthen the states public health disaster response efforts. In practice, a MedRanger may greet a Public Health Service response team, a DMAT or a medical task force sent from U.S. Northern Command to serve as their reception and orientation partners from Texas.
By the end of summer 2004, the Alamo Medical Response Group should have a strength of 180 or more and two new detachments along the international border with Mexico, plus MRC-TXSG should have established a second and third regional group at other state-supported medical schools. The MRC-TXSG Web site is www.texasmedicalrangers.com.