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National EMS Academy Granted 5-Year Accreditation


The National EMS Academy, a partnership between Acadian Ambulance and South Louisiana Community College, has been granted 5 year initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The Academy, which opened its doors in 2003, joins only two other EMS programs in the State of Louisiana that have achieved accreditation.

The Academy underwent an intensive review of its educational processes and documentation including an on-site review by national experts in EMS education, representatives from the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP).

Gifford Saravia, Academy director said, Obtaining accreditation signifies that our educational program has met the gold standard set forth by the industry. I am proud to have been a part of such an extensive process. Our program is better because of it, our students are better prepared because of it, and ultimately you receive better pre-hospital emergency care because of it.

By the year 2013, the National Registry of EMTs, which is the certifying body for emergency medical technicians, will demand that as a pre-requisite to sit for their exam, you must have graduated from an accredited educational institution. This mandate is in accordance with the EMS Agenda for the Future and the Institute of Medicine report; EMS at the cross roads. It will force all EMS programs to step up and become accredited, or risk not having an avenue to certify their graduates.

Saravia said, Achieving accreditation is important not only in assuring that the highest educational standards are met, but it also ensures that there is consistency in the level and quality of training the students receive.

An incredible amount of hard work and long hours were spent completing the self study and ensuring that our processes met the gold standard he said. We are grateful for all of the extra effort that was put forth in achieving accreditation.

Leadership for the accreditation effort was provided by Annette Accomando, dean of instruction and effectiveness and Greg Mullen, paramedic program manager. Accomando paid special tribute to Greg Mullen for his role in the accreditation process. Greg was the point man for this entire process and we were successful in no small part because of his dedication and tremendous leadership, said Accomando.

All Academy students that successfully complete the training receive college credit through South Louisiana Community College. Those hours are applied towards an Associate Degree in Applied Science Paramedic. The Academy utilizes compressed video technology to interconnect the Lafayette site and six other sites across Louisiana: Baton Rouge, Covington, Houma, Gretna, Lake Charles and Hessmer. The students at all locations are able to interact with each other and the lead instructor at the host site through specially designed cameras and microphones.

In 2009, we trained approximately two percent of all of the newly certified paramedics in the nation, reports Gifford Saravia, NEMSA director.

Services to the general public and to industry, such as teaching CPR classes and hosting EMS conferences are also available. Saravia said these services benefit students seeking productive careers and EMS executives seeking better ways to provide service. Our goal is to be the leading resource for EMS education, research, and curricula development in the nation, he said.

CAAHEP is the largest programmatic accreditor in the health sciences field. In collaboration with its Committees on Accreditation, CAAHEP reviews and accredits over 2000 educational programs in twenty health science occupations.


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