EMS Today 2016 Sessions Make Good on Last Year’s Promises

At the 2015 EMS Today Conference & Exposition, I made a personal and professional commitment that we would not only continue to focus on the key clinical and leadership areas important to our industry, but also put special emphasis on other critical issues facing our industry, such as attacks on EMS workers; employee stress and suicide; and ways to increase public awareness and respect for EMS.

I want to let you know that I, and the JEMS and EMS Today staffs, are making good on those commitments. You’ll see it in the expanded and highly detailed EMS Today 2016 Conference Program, an expansive and diverse offering of more than 140 sessions that allow you to choose from the best and most cutting-edge EMS educational topics.


In a special effort to address and combat provider stress, as well as the increase in emergency responder suicide, we’re offering key sessions by industry experts on topics such as coping with stress and suicide prevention.

One of my most anticipated sessions is titled, What’s Killing Our Medics? It’s presented by Chad Newland, EMT-P; Erich Barber, BA, NREMT-B; Monique Rose, CCEMT-P and Amy Young, BBA, CCEMT-P, and goes over the shocking results of their study on emergency provider stress and suicide. An in-depth analysis and discussion of the results can be found in their article, “Critical Stress: Survey reveals alarming rates of EMS provider stress & thoughts of suicide,” here.

This information is so important that we’re offering the session twice during the conference. Someone from your service, particularly your human resource manager, needs to attend one of these eye-opening sessions.

Other key stress and emotional aspects of EMS topics:

  • Decision fatigue–too tired to think
  • Mental health of EMS providers
  • Strategies to stay on your emotional track
  • Ethical dilemmas in EMS
  • Emotional hurdles of bad calls
  • Alcohol addiction
  • Stress resiliency for responders


The EMS Today Conference philosophy is to offer education that challenges providers to expand their knowledge and skills as well as perfect their basic skills. So, you’ll notice we’re no longer separating tracks by BLS and ALS categories because, as Bryan Bledsoe, MD’s session will address, there’s no longer BLS and ALS–just EMS!

EMTs are now doing much of what was previously considered ALS and paramedics perform BLS skills on 80% of calls. Because most of what we do is related to the basics, we’re offering sessions important to all EMS providers in our new Basics of Clinical Practice track. Sessions include Considerations for Field Amputations: A First-Hand Perspective, by Melissa Kohn, MD, where she discusses how she performed a field amputation on a section of railroad tracks in Philadelphia in the dark and in 100-degree F heat in late July.

Through the Eyes of a Cadaver, presented by Amanda Bowen, BS, NRP, IC, will show you how a hands-on, minds-on approach utilizing procedural cadaver labs in your region can allow participants to increase their comfort levels on high-risk, low-frequency skill sets related to trauma.

Other key topics in the Basics of Clinical Practice track:

  • Implementing evidence-based guidelines
  • New AHA guideline changes
  • Managing mangled extremities
  • Destination dilemmas in pediatric trauma transport
  • MCIs involving senior citizens
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Field termination of resuscitation of children
  • Managing technology-dependent patients
  • Spinal trauma update
  • Geriatric trauma

Sessions that will discuss and present invasive and advanced clinical practice procedures and medications will now be offered in our new Advanced Clinical Practice track. First responders and EMTs will still benefit from attending these sessions, but they must be aware that there are some drugs and procedures referenced they won’t be able to apply in the field (yet). However, as we’ve seen in the past, EMTs in many areas are now, and will be in the future, using continuous positive airway pressure, starting intraosseous infusions, performing 12-lead ECG interpretations and using mechanical ventilators.

Management and Assessment of Penetrating Trauma and How to Pack Wounds will help you learn the best practices for managing penetrating trauma, as recommended by the nationally recognized Hartford Consensus document, from one of the nation’s top trauma and burn surgeons, Andrew Dennis, DO, FACS, FACOS.

In Real-World Cardiac Science: What’s Working, What’s Not and Where We Might Be Going, Jeremy Brywczynski, MD, focuses on the lack of efficacy of epinephrine in cardiac arrest, the current ineffectiveness of some aspects of the advanced cardiac life support algorithms, what systems are doing to improve their resuscitations such as the use of VSE (vasopressin/steroids/epinephrine) therapy, as well as the use of antibiotics post-return of spontaneous resuscitation to improve survival.

If you’re interested in shock trauma, you’ll want to attendShock Trauma: Point of Care Testing in the Field,presented by Pratik Das, which will give you a first-hand look at how the world-famous Baltimore Shock Trauma’s Point of Care Testing study is focusing on the use of tissue oximetry (StO2) and lab values such as lactate, base excess, glucose and hemoglobin to predict the need for a blood transfusion or other lifesaving interventions for a patient in hemorrhagic shock. Or, perhaps Samual Tisherman, MD’s, session Saving Exsanguinating Trauma Patients with Hypothermia and Cardiopulmonary Bypass is of more interest. Here, Tisherman will show you how the Emergency Preservation and Resuscitation for Cardiac Arrest from Trauma (EPR-CAT) Study is evaluating the use of rapid cooling to buy time for surgeons to control bleeding and cardiopulmonary bypass for delayed resuscitation.

Other key topics in the Advanced Clinical Practice track:

  • Flash pulmonary edema
  • Capnography
  • Blunt force trauma
  • Choosing ventilation devices
  • Mechanical CPR
  • Traumatic fractures and dislocations
  • Tranexamic acid (TXA)
  • Direct vs. video laryngoscopy
  • Pediatric asthma and pain management
  • Hyperthermia
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Active compression/decompression CPR
  • Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation


Our popular preconference workshop cadaver and airway management labs are back, and new this year is a first-of-a-kind active shooter simulation preconference workshop that allows personnel to learn and practice warm zone operations in a realistic environment, rendering care to cadavers as they move through rooms and hallways. In addition to this simulation, we’re also offering a special Dynamic & Active Threats track to help you be prepared and act when your community is attacked by lone gunmen or terrorist groups. If you’re not yet in compliance with the recommendations of the Hartford Consensus documents, you’ll want to have staff attend these important sessions.

Self-Defense Tactics for EMS Providers, presented in two, four-hour preconference workshops taught by the Maryland State Police, will teach you how to identify potential threats and what self-defense techniques to use in these dangerous situations. In When Responders Become Victims, presenter Robert Luckritz will examine specific incidents and true practices that surround scene safety and address the physical and emotional response of EMS providers. Jersey City EMS’s purchase of innovative, discrete, ballistic vests to match their daily uniforms will be highlighted.

In the two-hour Dynamic & Active Threats Panel, experts will address the incidents first responders are encountering. Panelists include:

  • William Fabbri, MD, director of operational medicine for the FBI;
  • Douglas Mohl, FBI special agent and coordinator of the FBI’s Operational Medicine Program for the Washington Field Office;
  • Terry Nichols, director of curriculum development for Texas State University’s ALERRT (Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training) and co-author of Active Shooter Events and Response;
  • Geoffrey Shapiro, director of EMS and operational medical training for theEmergency Health Services program at George Washington University; and
  • E. Reed Smith, MD, operational medical director for the Arlington County (Va.) Fire Department, attending physician at Virginia Hospital Center and associate professor of emergency medicine at the George Washington University.

Other key topics in the Dynamic & Active Threats track:

  • Integrating police, fire and EMS responses
  • Active shooter incidents
  • Washington, D.C., Navy Yard active shooter incident review
  • Chemical suicides and their hazards
  • Excited delirium syndrome and toxicology
  • Incident command systems for rescue task force operations in warm zones
  • Joint rescue task force model
  • Legal issues with body cameras
  • Creating active bystanders
  • Selecting providers for tactical EMS
  • Community plan for a biologic disaster
  • Preparing for mini mass casualty events
  • Legal issues with body cameras


In another first-time offering, EMS Today will offer attendess the opportunity to receive credentialing credit for leadership sessions under the National EMS Management Association’s (NEMSMA) new credentialing process for these levels of EMS officers. A majority of this year’s leadership sessions, and many of the community paramedic and special topic sessions (identified in The 2016 Conference Program by the special NEMSMA EMS officer icon), will be eligible for NEMSMA credentialing.

They include:

  • Conducting Incident Investigations: Will Your Agency Win in Court?
  • Risk Management for EMS
  • Creating Clinical Leaders & Mentors
  • Designing the Ambulance of the Future
  • Customer Service When the Patient is Not the Customer
  • How to Prevent Your EMS System from Failing: 2016 Update
  • Using Data & Technology to Improve Operations & Clinical Care
  • Using Data to Increase Performance in Volunteer Rescue & EMS Agencies
  • Precepting: Is It a Privilege or a Right?
  • A Systematic Method of Improving Performance of People
  • Keeping Your Organization (Favorably) in the Public Eye
  • Creating a Social EMS Culture: A Balanced Approach to Social Media
  • Implementing an EMS Culture of Safety: Near-Miss Analysis
  • Conflict Resolution in EMS
  • Do Your Employment Practices Scream Out, “Hey, Sue Me!”

To help advance our profession, we’ve added a special daylong preconference workshop, EMS Compass Town Hall Meeting, that will have the brightest minds working on the federal EMS Compass initiative discuss how carefully crafted performance measures could transform EMS, increase our validity as an impactful profession, and not only improve our position in the house of medicine but also increase the financial reimbursement and support we receive. You’ll want a representative from you service to be in attendance to learn about this game-changing federal, multiorganization consensus initiative.

The preconference workshop Boosting Recruitment, Retention & Reputation, presented by Rich Wiehe and Jeff Yorke, will show you how to recruit, retain and strengthen your organization’s competitive advantage through use of DISC personality assessments, employee pairing and key organizational processes.

In The New Enhanced Role of the Public in EMS Response, Luckritz will show you how Jersey City Medical Center adopted and implemented a successful program that involves trained community members and EMS service staff in an enhanced EMS response plan designed to get emergency care to patients in a congested urban environment in three minutes or less.


We’ll have a full-day, information-packed community paramedicine preconference workshop as well as multiple key planning and implementation sessions on mobile integrated healthcare (MIH) in a special MIH track.

Other key topics in the MIH track:

  • Payment strategies and innovations
  • Accredited point of care testing
  • The future of paramedicine
  • Case studies in hospice care
  • Discussions with healthcare partners
  • Developing nontraditional partnerships
  • One-on-one roundtable discussions, which will allow you to pick four of eight specific topics/themes:
  1. Funding models and success;
  2. Making the business case for hospitals, third party payers, hospice agencies and home health;
  3. Working with other EMS agencies to create regional solutions for potential payers;
  4. Partnerships for regional solutions;
  5. Provider selection, training and CE;
  6. Innovations in MIH;
  7. National credentialing models; and
  8. A day in the life of a community paramedic (presented by community paramedics).


In another first-time offering, EMTs in need of recertification will be able to ask for and receive information on topics they’ve always wished someone would’ve taught them or presented in another way. No more boring, static lectures! When you register for our new EMT “Design it Yourself” Refresher Workshop we’ll ask you to submit what you want to learn. Participant answers will then frame out the content of this energetic and refreshing preconference workshop.

As we’ve offered in the past, 10 of the “Eagles” (members of the Major Metropolitan EMS Medical Directors Consortium from the largest population centers in the United States and other countries), will be presenting lectures on new trends and controversies in prehospital medicine as well as the ever-popular, twohour Eagles Lightening Round Super Session.

Other special topics designed to meet your needs:

  • National Registry of EMTs 2016 update
  • National Continued Competency Program
  • Paramedic psychomotor competency
  • Using social media in EMS education
  • How to improve your bedside manner
  • Cycle of care for your EMS fleet
  • Developing standardized scenario programs
  • Psychomotor competency profiles


Am I bragging, as the editor-in-chief of JEMS and the education director of EMS Today? You bet I am! I’m in my positions to improve EMS and, more specifically, improve your ability to propel, advance and excel in clinical, administrative, operational and emotional aspects of EMS. Join me at EMS Today 2016 to have one of the best educational experiences of your career and to ensure that you and your agency are prepared for the future of EMS.

∗Preconference workshops aren’t included in the regular EMS Today pass price and are limited in the number of attendees.

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