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EMS World Americas 2019: A Report from Ecuador

EMS World Americas is the premier annual EMS event in Latin America. Our 2019 event—held in Quito, Ecuador, March 28–31—was a smashing success, with close to 1,400 participants and more than 60 speakers from all over Latin America.

EMS World Americas is EMS World Expo’s Latin American sibling. It was born three years ago after the creation of Revista EMS World, the Spanish version of the traditional EMS World Magazine.

Whereas EMS World Expo is always held in the USA, EMS World Americas chooses a different venue every year. For this year’s event in Ecuador we chose the Ecuadorian Red Cross’s Institute of Higher Education (ISTCRE) as our partner.

The 2019 EMS World Americas show was a team effort involving EMS World, ISTCRE, and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT). EMS World Americas 2017 and 2018 were held in September. When we decided to change this year’s date to March, it meant less time to prepare. EMS World Americas 2018, in México, was not yet over when the Quito team began its work.

Preconference Events

Preconference events were held on March 28–29. Among these were 16 preconference workshops that included NAEMT courses such as AMLS, EPC, EVOS, GEMS, PTEP, TECC, and AHDR.

The National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP) delivered its Medical Directors Overview course. Twelve medical directors from different countries attended this year’s course, taught in Spanish by Roberto Portela, MD, and Jose G. Cabañas, MD, both board-certified emergency medicine and EMS physicians.

Air-medical personnel attended FlightBridgeED’s Flight Paramedic Review course, and the International Board of Specialty Certification successfully proctored its Certified Flight Paramedic exam to participants.

Chris Gibson, from Guatemala’s SOS Servicios Médicos, delivered its Wilderness First Aid class, where participants recreated and successfully completed a complex rescue at an outdoor venue.

PHTLS Instructor Update

EMS World Americas served as an ideal platform to launch the Spanish version of the ninth edition of NAEMT’s Prehospital Trauma Life Support.

Alexander Eastman, MD, PHTLS medical director, and Aaron Miranda, PHTLS Spanish course editor, provided attendants with the official update. Participants were eager to ask questions about everything from science to course delivery.

Almost 200 instructors participated in this year’s instructor update. Although there will be an online update for those who did not attend, many participants felt empowered by the uplifting mood of their fellow attendees.

NAEMT and Latin America

NAEMT’s Latin American training network has dramatically increased in the last three years as a direct result of a coordinated effort to develop and strengthen its presence in this vast region, which encompasses two continents.

NAEMT’s instructor and faculty meeting in Quito served as a platform to announce the planned creation of a Latin American Regional Education Committee. All NAEMT instructors and faculty in attendance agreed to propose potential candidates to be appointed by the NAEMT president. NAEMT’s leadership, including President-Elect Bruce Evans and Executive Director Pamela Lane, were present to answer questions about the organization.

Orange Book

EMS World Americas hosted another very important event: the release of the Spanish version of the 11th edition of the famous “Orange Book,” Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured. The EMT textbook, now published by Jones & Bartlett’s Public Safety Group and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), was edited and translated into Spanish by a core team of instructors from Latin America.

According to David Page, editor in chief of the Spanish edition of the book, the 11th edition was much more than a translation. It required contextualizations that involved discussions of the clinical and cultural similarities and differences of the Americas.

International Paramedic Registry

As part of the International Paramedic Registry’s mission to work collaboratively with stakeholders to define and assess competency in the practice of paramedicine internationally, a workshop was held to outline the competencies of BLS and ALS providers using the Delphi method.

A Heartfelt Thank You

Expanding the EMS World brand into Latin America has been an arduous process. But we remain willing and able to continue to fuel the passion and interest among our volunteers and engage our partners in making steady improvements.

A heartfelt thanks to all members of the planning committee, vendors, and speakers whose time and energy made this event a success for all attendees.

Gustavo Flores, MD, EMT-P, FP-C, is director and chief instructor at Emergency & Critical Care Trainings LLC, a company that provides continuing education to healthcare providers. He is also an air-medical crew member for REVA Air Ambulance and a volunteer member of First Response EMS, both in Puerto Rico. Gustavo has been involved in EMS for more than 20 years as a field provider and educator He is the associate editor for Revista EMS World and a member of the EMS World editorial advisory board. 


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