The Major Metropolitan Medical Directors “Gathering of Eagles” Conference featured the presentation of several prestigious awards to multiple well-deserving representatives, as well as special recognition for several EMS medical leaders.
The Paul E. Pepe National Excellence in EMS Award, in recognition of excellent contributions to the EMS community, was awarded to two stellar members of the EMS community, one for 2015 and one for 2016.
The 2015 National Excellence in EMS Award was presented to Drew Dawson, former Director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of EMS, who recently retired. Dawson will also receive a Lifetime Achievement from JEMS at 3 PM next Thursday at the EMS Today Conference and Exposition in Baltimore.
The 2016 National Excellence in EMS Award was presented to Dr. Jim Augustine, a long-time leader in the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), EMS and the Eagles.
The Michael Copass Leadership Award was awarded to Dr. Craig Manifold, Chair of the National EMS Committee, American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and Board Member of the National Registry of EMTs (NREMT).
The Corey Slovis Award for Educational Excellence was presented to Sophia Dyer, MD, medical director for the city of Boston Public Safety (EMS, Fire & Police); associate professor of emergency medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center.
Pepe Accepts Award for NDLS Course Development
Dr. Pepe accepted an award presented to him and five other National Disaster Life Support (NDLS) course developers. The ACEP has endorsed the NDLS courses as the gold standard in all-hazards training for medical response to mass casualty incidents.
Dr. Jullette Saussy Lauded by EMS Colleagues & Providers
Attendees at the 2016 Eagles conference requested and received the opportunity to hear from Jullette Saussy, MD, former medical director of the Washington, D.C., Fire Department EMS system. Dr. Saussy recently resigned from her post when it became apparent to her that the D.C. city management was unwilling to allow her the authority to correct clinical and operational deficiencies she believed were essential to correcting serious system deficiencies and improving the care delivered to residents.
The Eagles watched the D.C. Council Hearing on Wednesday during their closed retreat and applauded Saussy for stepping down rather than remain in a system that wouldn’t respect her significant depth of experience nor allow her to assess the skills and knowledge for providers that she was hired to oversee. Saussy noted that there was a wall built between her authority to oversee medical practices and her ability to investigate and resolve EMS operational issues, such as EMS providers who refused to answer their radios for lengthy periods of time when priority calls were available for assignment.
Despite the many concerns outlined in her eloquent, detailed, resignation letter to the mayor, Saussy took the high road at the conference and noted that the blame for deficiencies and lackadaisical attitudes that permeate the department isn’t the fault of the fine emergency responders in the department, but was rather the result of a lack of leadership and initiative to enact critical and necessary changes. Saussy said there were many dedicated men and women in the D.C. workforce who supported her efforts, but that they were as frustrated as she was by the District’s lack of understanding or continually disregarding the facts and recommendations laid before them.
The 50 Eagles medical directors assembled in Dallas noted that D.C. has had some the best and brightest medical directors available in the EMS industry, all of whom have attempted to turn the D.C. Fire EMS system around, specifically noting the efforts by EMS Medical Directors Fernando Daniels, Jim Augustine, David Miramontes and Jullette Saussy–none equipped with the proper authority and resources. Their point was really brought home by the testimony of on paramedic who testified in front of the D.C. City Council Commission who noted, “If the Eagles can’t do it – who can?”
Special Tribute to Florida EMS Leader
The Eagles paid special tribute and held a moment of silence for Broward Health (Fla.) CEO Nabil El Sanadi, MD, who died Jan. 23 at the age of 60. Broward Health is one of the country’s largest public health systems, operating more than 30 healthcare facilities. He was a practicing emergency medicine physician at Broward Health Medical Center and was Broward Health’s chief of emergency medicine. He loved EMS and previously served as director for several EMS agencies. He was a close friend of many of the Eagles and a great contributor to EMS development in Florida and throughout the United States.