Behind the Scenes: Q&A with Kevin Mackey from the NAEMSP Annual Conference

The goal of the National Association of EMS Physicians is to provide leadership and promote excellence in EMS

   The goal of the National Association of EMS Physicians is to provide leadership and promote excellence in out-of-hospital emergency medical services. To that end, one of the most important things NAEMSP does is its annual conference each January, which brings top-notch, cutting-edge education from physicians and other experts to attendees who can then take it home to their systems. Assembling that content falls to the NAEMSP's Program Committee, which for the last two years has been chaired by Kevin Mackey, MD, FACEP, EMS medical director for the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District and five surrounding counties in California. Mackey explained to EMS World how the committee goes about putting together each year's show.

Do you solicit particular content, or do people come to you with proposals?

   We solicit them. Occasionally we'll have folks come to us, but it's pretty unusual they offer something we think would be a good fit for us. People who come to you to present ideas that way are usually trying to sell something.

How do you go about selecting topics and matching them to speakers?

   When I was program chair, we solicited the membership to find out what areas interested them. We broke it down into key topic areas, then asked, within those areas, what people wanted to see. The members sparked ideas that way, and we'd take those and attract speakers.

   A lot of ideas are generated from within the program committee as well. We all follow the literature. Prehospital Emergency Care is our peer-review journal, and you can go back through a year's worth of PEC and kind of see what the general themes were and what people were talking about. Then also we collaborate-we have discussions and partnerships with people who have been to other EMS conferences and events and heard interesting topics and suggested speakers to us.

   And then there is the news. What's new and current? We're already talking about getting someone to come talk about the response to the Japanese tsunami.

What goes into a good presentation?

   Three things: first, it's on topic-that's most important; second, it's short and to the point-that's absolutely vital; and third, it has to have a solid take-home value. There have to be one or two things in the presentation that people can take back to their EMS systems and say, "You know what? Here is something that worked in this other place, and it's something that can work in our system, and this is how we can make it work."

What is the role of groups like NAEMSP in bringing new ideas to the EMS masses?

   We have a very tight niche: prehospital emergency care administration and leadership. Our role is to have an understanding of what's out there, and know how to take what's out there and implement it into the street in a sensible way that's safe and patient-centered. That's not an easy thing-it's not something someone can just walk in off the street and do. That's why EMS became a subspecialty.

   For information on the 2012 NAEMSP Annual Conference, visit