I fell into EMS accidentally by joining a volunteer first aid squad down the street from my house. I worked in North NJ, one of the busiest EMS systems per capita in the US, which lead to me becoming a professor at Gorge Washington University. From there, I worked on international projects, such as the Ambulance Service Re-Design for the Hong Kong Fire Services Department, and working with the Pan-American Health Organization in the Bahamas. Eventually I wrote some textbook chapters, and eventually I ended up in California, working at San Francisco General. After that, I went back to EMS as the EMS Director for the City of Oakland. Currently I am the EMS Coordinator for Emergency Medical Services for the Alameda Fire Dept. I am doing a community paramedic program. I have a love for this, a love for the profession.
Effect of COVID 19 EMS
The stress level was incredible. With COVID-19, it was not only the stress that I had to keep myself and my family safe and healthy, but also the stress I felt to protect my staff. Because this was such an insidious disease, I was worried about their families as well. So much of COVID-19 was unknown. We were feeling our way around the edges, trying to determine the best course of action. For so much of COVID-19, we were operating in crisis response mode. Now we’re operating somewhere between conventional and contingency standards of care.
What’s After COVID-19
First, we need to develop position statements regarding issues we faced through COVID-19 – such as PPE, what the Strategic National Stockpile looks like, and what we need to do at the community, state and regional level to never be in the situation again of lacking necessary supplies. We need stronger planning. We need to honestly look at how we fund the EMS and EMS systems. A system incumbent upon billing for service leaves socially and economically disenfranchised populations at the mercy of people who have money, and this is not the way to fund this system. We need a better strategy moving forward in how we fund and finance. We need to work with hospitals and healthcare systems in a collaborative manner to ensure we have inclusive systems of care and that we are sharing resources, not competing for them.
Vision as President Elect
My vision is that we strengthen our partnerships with our federal, local and state partners. We will begin to tackle the big issues regarding funding mechanics for Emergency Medical Services, and we won’t ignore the problems that were highlighted this last year. We will develop resilient systems of care in order to address the needs of the community. I’m very excited for the possibilities!