Tag Archives: EMS

UMKC School of Medicine Paramedic Program receives full five-year accreditation

Paramedic Training
Field training is part of the curriculum for paramedic students in the UMKC School of Medicine Emergency Medical Services program.

The UMKC School of Medicine Paramedic Program recently received a glowing report and full accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) for its curriculum and training of future paramedics.

“Accreditation is verification that we’ve been compared to the standard for paramedic training programs and have met that,” said Paul Ganss, MS, NRP, NCEE, CHSE, the school’s EMS education program director. “When they come to our program, students can be assured they’re going to a quality program. They will have the opportunity to gain national certification. They will have the opportunity to be licensed.”

The UMKC paramedics program is part of the Emergency Medical Services section of the School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

UMKC ambulance adds new experience to EMS training

Following a three-day site visit by a two-person team earlier this year, the program received a clean report with no citations. One examiner even referred to the UMKC program as meeting the gold standard for programs in paramedic training.

A peer review of the report conducted by the Committee on Accreditation of Education Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions and the CAAHEP Board of Directors recognized the program’s “substantial compliance with the nationally established accreditation standards.”

“There are standards that have been prepared, basically the best practices for training programs across the country. This means our program has been favorably compared to the best programs nationally,” Ganss said.

Paramedics are individuals highly trained to provide medical care including basic and advanced life support to people who suffer injuries or illness outside a hospital setting under protocols approved by a physician medical director.

The UMKC program began training Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic students in 2012 under the approval of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Bureau of EMS. Its curriculum exceeds both the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Missouri Bureau of EMS.

In 2013, UMKC received a Letter of Review from the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions as the program sought initial accreditation. The Letter of Review process allows graduates of the program to participate in the national certification examination for paramedics that is required for licensure in many states.

UMKC currently has 11 students training in its paramedic program. A new class of trainees will join the program in January.

Matthew Gratton, M.D., oversees the UMKC Emergency Medical Services as chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine. Jay Reich, M.D., FACEP, serves as chief of the EMS section and Erica Carney, M.D., serves as EMS education medical director.

EMS Field Day provides new experience for emergency medicine residents

School of Medicine residents from the Emergency Medicine Residency program teammed up with emergency medical services personnel from the Grandview Fire Department on July 21 for EMS Field Day, a joint training session in out-of-hospital emergency and trauyma services.
School of Medicine residents from the Emergency Medicine Residency program teammed up with emergency medical services personnel from the Grandview Fire Department on July 21 for EMS Field Day, a joint training session in out-of-hospital emergency and trauma services.

Smoke billowed from the door of a small Grandview, Mo., structure on July 21 as a group of UMKC School of Medicine Emergency Medicine Residents dressed in fire fighting gear ventured inside to rescue a victim. A short time later, they watched from nearby as an emergency medical crew from the Grandview Fire Department worked to extract an accident victim from a crushed vehicle.

Fortunately, the victims were mannequins and the emergencies mere simulations. But for 11 members of the Emergency Medicine Residency program, the School’s first EMS Field Day provided a first-hand look at what takes place with trauma victims outside the hospital setting before they reach the emergency room.

“Emergency medicine is a specialty field that needs to be involved with out-of-hospital patient care,” said Matt Gratton, M.D., professor and chair of emergency medicine. “This field day is a wonderful up-close-and-personal way to show residents this.”

Before the day was over, residents had climbed to the top of the extension ladder on a Grandview fire truck and been introduced to Life Flight Eagle, an air-ambulance helicopter.

The day-long program, including both classroom and hands-on simulations, was a joint training session bringing together Grandview EMS personnel and the resident emergency medicine physicians from UMKC coordinated by the School’s Department of Emergency Medicine, its Emergency Medical Services Program, the Grandview Fire Department and Life Flight Eagle.

“This is kind of an introduction for emergency medicine residents to what takes place out in the field,” said Paul Ganss, M.S., NRP, NCEE, CHSE, the EMS education director and manager of the School’s Clinical Training Facility. “They get to meet some of the out-of-hospital care providers and experience what happens in the field. In the past, emergency medicine physicians might wonder why they didn’t get a piece of information or why wasn’t something done before the patient got to the emergency room. This gives them an idea of some of the things that happen in the field.”

Ganss said the event provided residents with an eye-opening experience.

“They got the opportunity to pick up some background and knowledge,” he said. “We’re looking at doing this again in the future, refining it and making it even better.”


SOM shows Freedom House documentary during EMS week

Paul Ganss, M.S., NRP, NCEE, CHSE, director of the EMS Education Program at the UMKC School of Medicine, (left) presents George McCary, III, (right) with a challenge coin medallion bearing the UMKC EMS insignia as Matthew Gratton, M.D., chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, (middle) watches. The coin is presented in recognition of achievement. McCary is an original member of the Freedom House Ambulance Service. He received the coin after the showing of the Freedom House – Street Saviors documentary on May 21 at the School of Medicine as part of National EMS Week.
Paul Ganss, M.S., NRP, NCEE, CHSE, director of the EMS Education Program at the UMKC School of Medicine, (left) presents George McCary, III, (right) with a challenge coin medallion bearing the UMKC EMS insignia as Matthew Gratton, M.D., chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, (middle) watches. The coin is presented in recognition of achievement. McCary is an original member of the Freedom House Ambulance Service. He received the coin after the showing of the Freedom House – Street Saviors documentary on May 21 at the School of Medicine as part of National EMS Week.

Emergency services departments around the country continue to struggle to recruit a diverse workforce. Meanwhile, UMKC and the Kansas City community had a rare opportunity to view the documentary, Freedom House – Street Saviors, which tells the story of the Freedom House Ambulance Service experiment in 1960s Pittsburgh that taught “unemployable” individuals from the poorest parts of the city how to run an ambulance.

The event was the highlight of the School of Medicine’s National EMS Week activities with the film’s producer, Gene Starzenski, and an original member of the Freedom House Ambulance Service team, George McCary, III, in attendance.

Paul Ganss, director of the EMS Education Program at the UMKC School of Medicine, said Freedom House is a great example of overcoming adversity and an important piece of paramedic history.

“It shows that there are people out there who want to succeed, and when given the opportunity and the resources they can,” he said. “It provided a view into the history of a young profession. I think that showing the story here is important as it enhances the fact that UMKC has one of the oldest emergency medicine programs in the country.”

The film has only been shown in select cities throughout the United States, and this is the only way to view it. Starzenski travels the country to film festivals, major EMS conferences and educational institutions to keep the story of the Freedom House Ambulance Service alive. The Freedom House experiment lead to the first formally trained paramedics in the United States and formed the paramedic curriculum taught for more than the next 40 years.

Starzenski grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he said inadequate ambulance care was a major problem in the inner city. While working in the emergency room as an ER technician in the early 1970s, Starzenski met a member of the Freedom House team.

“I asked, ‘Who are these guys? Why do they have all this sophisticated equipment?’” he said. “I started talking to them, and that’s when I became interested in their story.”

Starzenski, an ex-Marine who spent 41 years in the industry with the majority of it as a medic and medical advisor for TV and films in Los Angeles working with movie stars from Bette Davis to George Clooney, could relate to the story of redemption the Freedom House paramedics represented.

“Here I am, a guy from the inner city and academically challenged, and look at what EMS did for me,” Starzenski said. “That’s what sparked me to do this movie. In my heart, I always wanted to find out more about them.”

In 1967, community activists, Phillip Hallen and Morton Coleman joined forces with Freedom House Enterprises, Inc., an outgrowth of the United Negro Protest Committee and Peter Safar, M.D., an anesthesiologist known as the Father of CPR, and other pioneers in emergency medicine to employ and bring quality care to the underserved. Recruits participated in a yearlong, rigorous medical training program and many completed their GED.

“That was the hardest thing for me: to sit down and try to learn,” McCary said. “Coming from a community that was in unrest and taking off and getting into a learning situation was very gratifying for me.”

In 1975, the project was abruptly dismantled due to political shifts in the city, but the story, which is often left out of textbooks, continues to inspire a new generation.

Today, in St. Paul, Minn., Freedom House has been reborn with Freedom House Station 51, which now houses the Saint Paul EMS Academy. More than 100 young underprivileged minorities are practicing EMT’s and paramedics because of the legacy of Freedom House. The academy offers free training, hourly pay of minimum wage, social workers, legal counsel and adult basic education specialists.

Starzenski and McCary say this is what makes them most proud

“If I give insight to one or two youths who understand the struggle of how things can be that’s what’s important,” McCary said. “A lot of people have helped me get what I’ve got. You can always boost yourself if you stay focused on what you’re trying to do, and that’s learning something.”

SOM to celebrate EMS Week May 19-23

National Emergency Services Week celebrates the community and medical personnel who have dedicated their careers to lifesaving services. The School of Medicine will have several events throughout the week. Emergency medicine residents and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) education program staff will be host to the Airway Management and Video Laryngoscopy Workshop at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20, in the Clinical Training Facility.

The highlight of the week is on Wednesday, May 21. Those at the School of Medicine and in the Kansas City community will get the opportunity to see the documentary, Freedom House – Street Saviors, which tells the story of the Freedom House Ambulance Service experiment in 1960s Pittsburgh that taught “unemployable” individuals from the poorest parts of the city how to run an ambulance. This experiment lead to the first formally trained paramedics in the United States and formed the paramedic curriculum taught for the next 40+ years.  The film has only been shown in select cities throughout the United States, and this is the only way to view it. Those who attend will be able to meet the producer of the film and two of the original Freedom House paramedics. Faculty, staff and students are invited to view the documentary at 1:30 p.m. in Theater C,  and a showing at 6 p.m. in Theater A is open to the public.

The week wraps up on Thursday, May 22, with “Intraosseous and Central Lines for the EMS Provider” with Chris Davlantes, M.D., F.A.C.P. at 6 p.m. in the Clinical Training Facility.