Administration and Leadership, News

Ray Barishansky and Maria Beermann-Foat Recognized at 2019 Pinnacle EMS Leadership Forum

ORLANDO, Fla. — Ray Barishansky, M.P.H., deputy secretary for health planning and assessment at the Pennsylvania Department of Health in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Maria Beermann-Foat, Ph.D., NRP, battalion chief at MED-ACT in Johnson County, Kansas, were recognized for their exemplary work helping to advance emergency medical services (EMS) as a profession at the 14th annual Pinnacle EMS Leadership Forum, held at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida, July 22-26.  

Barishansky was presented with the Pinnacle EMS Leadership Award, which recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to advancing the EMS profession through a leadership role.

“Ray is a role model for the EMS industry, from beginning his career as an EMT to his leadership role with the Pennsylvania Department of Health,” said Jay Fitch, Ph.D., founding partner of Fitch & Associates. “He holds a strong commitment to working alongside decision makers to develop state-level initiatives that significantly improve healthcare systems.”

At the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Barishansky oversees five state bureaus including EMS, Public Health Preparedness, Community Health Systems, Epidemiology, and Laboratories, helping to establish impactful program policy recommendations to improve public health and protection state-wide. As incident commander for the Governor’s Opioid Disaster Declaration, he facilitated a focused response to address the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania. Prior to that, Barishansky served as director of the Connecticut Department of Public Health Office of EMS and chief of public health emergency preparedness and response for the Prince George’s County Health Department in Maryland.

Barishansky earned a bachelor’s degree from Tuoro College; a Master of Public Health from New York Medical College; and a Master of Science in homeland security studies from Long Island University.

Beermann-Foat received the Pinnacle EMS Emerging Leader Award, which honors rising executives in EMS who demonstrate excellence in the profession.

Maria Beermann-Foat, Ph.D., NRP, Battalion Chief at MED-ACT in Johnson County, Kansas 

With nearly two decades at MED-ACT, an EMS agency serving 560,000 citizens across nine cities southwest of Kansas City, Beermann-Foat has dedicated her career to improving emergency response throughout the community. Since joining the department as a paramedic in 1999, she has moved up the ranks in roles such as community education officer, division chief of quality management and battalion chief of training, ensuring the preparedness and well-being of her personnel to deliver the highest level of emergency care to patients.

“Maria’s outstanding career at MED-ACT is an unwavering dedication to pre-hospital care,” said Fitch. “Her contributions to strengthening emergency response efforts in Johnson County touches the many lives of patients and caregivers in her community.”

A lifelong learner and educator, Beermann-Foat completed her undergrad at Baker University before receiving a Master in Business Administration and Management from MidAmerica Nazarene University and a Ph.D. in organization and management from Capella University.

The 2019 award winners were recognized during the opening session of the 14th annual Pinnacle EMS Leadership Forum at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida, on July 23.



Presented by Fitch & Associates in cooperation with the RedFlash Group, Pinnacle is the premier event for EMS leadership, with nearly 700 attendees each year. Fitch & Associates is the leading consulting firm for emergency services in the country, helping agencies and developing leaders for more than three decades. For more information visit