WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the past several years, 25 people from all facets of EMS have come together to address myriad issues.
Appointed by the Secretary of Transportation, the National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC) is charged with providing advice and recommendations to NHTSA, as well as Federal Interagency Committee on EMS (FICEMS).
While they don’t represent specific organizations, the members range from field providers, firefighters, nurses, doctors, medevac and hospital officials, and others with extensive EMS backgrounds. They come from around the country.
NEMSAC is about to see a change. They will soon become a statutory committee.
NHTSA’s EMS Director Drew Dawson said his office has been in awe of the council’s work.
During a recent NEMSAC meeting, Dawson told them: “Thank you for your ongoing commitment to EMS. Day in and day out, we call on your wisdom and experience.”
Dawson encouraged them to keep their recommendations as realistic as possible in this time of fiscal uncertainty.
Work or interim reports of the various NEMSAC committees are posted on NHTSA’s website, and Dawson spoke of how important it is for those documents to be made available. This gives the public the opportunity to review them, and make comments.
Regardless of the topics addressed over the years, Dawson said he’s impressed that everyone always considers: “Is it right and good for the patients we are taking care of.”
Dawson also lauded the council for its 100% attendance at the most recent meeting.
In keeping with the council’s code of conduct, members don’t answer their phones or send text messages during the meetings.
NEMSAC Chair Aaron Reinhart said it’s very important that all voices are heard, and believes the council not only strives to keep the public informed but encourages input. “We have hard but important work ahead of us,” he told the group.
In a recent written statement Reinhart said: “Do we always agree on everything? No. Absolutely not. But having this national conversation, passionately discussing the things that matter most, making sure that all voices are heard, these are the things that lead to unity and move us forward.”
He added that he is pleased that NEMSAC is recognized as a vital link in the EMS chain on the national level.
Reinhart’s philosophy is that no matter what type of EMS you provide, whether it’s volunteer, career, combination on the ground or in the air, all “deserve a quality education, a safe working environment, and the resources and support to get the job done.”
The 25 NEMSAC members include:
* Thomas Judge – Air Medical – Judge is the Executive Director of LifeFlight of Maine, a position he has held since 1999, and has over 30 years of experience in the emergency medical services field.
* Arthur Cooper, MD, FACS, FAAP – At Large – Cooper is a Professor of Surgery and Director of Trauma & Pediatric Surgical Services at Columbia University Medical Center Affiliation at Harlem Hospital. A pediatric trauma surgeon who has worked at an urban Level I Trauma Center for more than 25 years, his academic career has been focused on emergency medical services for children.
* Patricia Dukes, AS, MICT – At Large – Dukes is the Chief of EMS for the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii, where she began her career as an EMT in 1983. She has previously served on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Preparedness Task Force and the State of Hawaii's EMS Advisory Committee.
* Manuel Chavez, EMT-P – At Large – Manuel Chavez is a Firefighter Paramedic and EMS Supervisor for the City of Houston Fire Department, where he has been a fire/EMS responder since 1986. Mr. Chavez is active in his local chapter of the IAFF. He is a member of the IAFF standing committee on EMS and is an EMT instructor.
* Nick Nudell, BA, NRP – Data Managers – Nudell is a System Implementation Manager for FirstWatch Solutions and uses data to measure and improve public safety systems. He was previously a fulltime paramedic and EMS educator and currently serves on an Intelligent Transportation Systems technical committee on vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communication.