During National Emergency Medical Services Week, we recognize the tremendous role that EMS practitioners make to improve health in communities across the nation. The around-the-clock dedication to providing emergency care is evident with one statistic: more than 36 million patients were cared for by EMS professionals in 2011 alone.
Emergency care professionals are committed to delivering emergency medical care in the community. They strive for seamless care, from the field to the hospital emergency department or trauma center. Their commitment to ensuring that patients receive the best medical care available, anytime and anywhere, is instrumental to advancing the health, safety, and well-being of the American people. EMS is an essential part of building a resilient health care system that functions efficiently and effectively every day and is capable of responding to disasters and public health emergencies.
Our efforts at the federal level are all aimed at supporting the men and women on the front lines of health care system—the EMTs, paramedics, dispatchers, nurses, physicians, researchers, educators, administrators, and supervisors who come together to provide the best possible care when personal, community, or national tragedy strikes.
HHS programs, centers, and agencies provide significant support to various emergency medicine communities. I am pleased to lead a new HHS work group charged with improving the coordination and collaboration within the department. We will identify gaps in day-to-day emergency medical capabilities, and collaborate within HHS and with the emergency medicine communities to bridge those gaps so we better serve this professional community and improve emergency care nationwide.
Please join me during the National EMS Week in thanking the dedicated professionals in emergency medical services for the critical work they do to improve the health of the nation and strengthen the health security of all Americans.
Nicole Lurie, MD, MSPH
Rear Admiral, U.S. Public Health Service
Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services