Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services Chief Bruce W. Edwards has been elected chair of the state Board of Health, effective July 1. Board members chose Edwards at their meeting June 9.
"This is a great honor," Edwards said. "Together with the other very talented board members, I will continue to work closely with the Health Commissioner, Dr. Karen Remley, and the staff of the Virginia Department of Health to ensure the health and safety of all Virginians."
Now in his 45th year with the city's volunteer rescue squads, Edwards leads the largest volunteer-based EMS department in the country. His leadership has been instrumental in shaping the face of EMS in the commonwealth. He has been the leader and architect of many advances and innovations in EMS since the early 1970s. Edwards holds a master's degree in public administration, was in the first cardiac technician class in Virginia, and is the longest-tenured actively running paramedic in Virginia.
In 2009, the Virginia General Assembly added a new position to the Board of Health to represent the EMS community. The governor selected Edwards to fill the inaugural four-year term that began July 1, 2009.
Gary R. Brown, director of the state Office of Emergency Medical Services, praised Edwards. "In only two short years, EMS has not only been approved for a dedicated membership seat on the Board of Health, but that EMS representative, Bruce W. Edwards, has earned the respect each of the other 14 members to be elected chair of the board. That's quite an accomplishment."