UML Boasts Award-winning Emergency Medical Program
LOWELL -- For Jon De Leon, it was a major reason he came all the way across the country, from El Cerrito, Calif., to attend UMass Lowell.
For UML graduate Sean MacLeod of Tewksbury, it taught him leadership and management skills that helped him land a coveted job at Big 4 accounting firm Ernst & Young.
UMass Lowell’s award-winning Emergency Medical Services program does more than provide professional-quality care to the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year. To the dozens of dedicated students who work as EMTs each year, the program provides real-world experience that propels them in a variety of career fields.
Now, the program has earned national recognition. Competing against more than 30 collegiate teams from across North America, UMass Lowell EMS finished second in the recent Physio-Control Skills Classic at the annual conference of the National Collegiate EMS Foundation in Philadelphia.
It was the university’s best-ever finish at the competition, which tests students’ skills, teamwork and leadership in three simulated scenarios: medical and trauma response situations, and team-building opportunities.
Led by Richard Wood, UML’s director of Life Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and Patrick Kiley, assistant manager for EMS, 10 students attended the three-day conference along with EMS organizations from more than 100 colleges and universities. In addition to testing their skills in the competition, students learned the latest in medical and trauma response, disaster preparedness and emergency management through expert panels, roundtable discussions and hands-on labs.
“It was definitely a big surprise to finish second,” said Nathan Roberts, a senior Biotechnology major from North Brookfield. “I know I jumped in the air.”
Roberts and De Leon were joined on the team by junior Public Health major Chris Gottschalk of Everett and Stephanie Zuber of Haverhill, a junior double-majoring in Public Health and Biology.
“The reason we did so well is that we just did the same thing we do every day with our patients,” said Zuber, a Haverhill native who has been a member of UMass Lowell EMS for two years. “We went through the assessments, got the histories and did the interventions. We’re a pretty tight team, so everything flowed well.”
UMass Lowell was also among 12 schools recognized at the conference as an “EMS Ready Campus.” The designation is for collegiate EMS agencies that go beyond regular patient-care activity and incorporate emergency-management education and preparedness activities.
Gottschalk, who prepared UMass Lowell’s contest submission with senior Ryan Corliss of Chelsea, predicts that the program could achieve a silver medal at next year’s conference after falling just short this year. In 2016, the EMS team received the Striving for Excellence Award from the NCEMSF and was also recognized for Website of the Year. In 2014, UMass Lowell was designated a “HeartSafe Campus” for its commitment to training and awareness of emergency cardiac care.
Nearly 40 students participate in UMass Lowell EMS, which was founded as a student club in 1984 and has grown to include a cadet program for EMTs in training. It also provides supplemental emergency services for university events, and offers CPR and first-aid training to hundreds of people each year.