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The ten members of the Technical Expert Panel (TEP) are tasked with listening to community input and gathering evidence in order to craft a vision for the future of EMS. They bring with them diverse competencies and backgrounds in public safety and healthcare; experience at local, state and national levels; a history of innovative thinking and a passion for making a difference in the lives of patients and providers. Facilitating the work of this group is Mike Taigman, Improvement Guide for FirstWatch, emergency medicine consultant, performance improvement facilitator and former paramedic.
Meet the TEP:
Derek Bergsten, MPA, CFO, CEMSO, MIRIreE
Fire Chief, Rockford Fire Department
As someone who has been a paramedic for more than 20 years and who certified his three children in scuba diving, Derek obviously doesn’t shy away from a challenge. He’s looking forward to envisioning the future of EMS for the next generation.
Derek is the fire chief in Rockford, Illinois, serving a population of about 150,000 people. Located outside of Chicago, Rockford is the second largest city in the state. Derek believes in Henry Ford’s philosophy on teamwork: “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” He brings both a frontline and fire management perspective to the team.
Marianne Gausche-Hill, MD, FACEP, FAAP, FAEMS
Medical Director, Los Angeles County EMS Agency
Los Angeles, California
When Marriane isn’t rooting on the basketball and football teams of LA’s universities, she is serving as the country’s EMS medical director and an academic physician. Her work as an EMS researcher and educator is known internationally, especially in the field of pediatric emergency medicine. She’s no stranger to asking critical questions, exploring new research or thinking about new possibilities – both at home with her husband, a scientist, and in the office caring for the country’s most populous county.
Marianne looks forward to working with the EMS community on ways to promote high quality research that can drive the practice of prehospital medicine, particularly for pediatric patients and those with infrequently encountered illnesses.
Andy Gienapp, MS, NRP
Manager, Wyoming Office of EMS, Wyoming Department of Health Cheyenne, Wyoming
Andy’s career in EMS began as a volunteer first responder at the age of 17, and he hasn’t looked back since. Though the majority of his career has been spent in a fairly urbanized area, today he works as the Manager of the Wyoming Office of EMS. He serves as a board member of the National Association of State EMS Officials and vice-chairman of its Rural EMS Committee. Andy also has three decades of military experience and currently serves as a medical operations officer in the Wyoming Army National Guard. Living in rural Wyoming brings Andy both peace and solitude in the great outdoors and also a firsthand look at critical issues facing rural EMS in not only Wyoming, but the other states and territories as well.
Andy’s adventurous spirit supports his hobbies like woodworking and fishing in Wyoming’s remote backcountry, as well as his natural inclination for bold ideas and asking questions that haven’t been asked before.
Alexander Isakov, MD, MPH, FACEP, FAEMS
Professor of Emergency Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
Living in Atlanta for nearly two decades, Dr. Isakov has worked with local, state and federal partners to plan for large-scale emergencies, with a focus on ensuring the health and safety of those affected. He and his team of EMS physicians serve as medical directors for several first-response, ground and air ambulance services. He leads a team dedicated to the safe management and transport of individuals with confirmed or suspected serious contagious diseases. At Emory University, he directs a center dedicated to disaster preparedness and response and overall community disaster resilience.
He has been active in the EMS community for 25 years, and recalls the impact that the original EMS Agenda for the Future had on him early in his career. He looks forward to hearing the EMS community’s diverse suggestions for, opinions on and contributions to the development of a new Agenda.
William Leggio, EdD, NRP
Paramedic Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor, Creighton University
Hailing from the Midwest, or “mid-best” as he says, William has been a lifelong paramedic and educator seasoned with the ability to learn, educate and bring new ideas out of a room full of people. Early in his career, he spent four years teaching and developing a university paramedic program in Saudi Arabia where he met his wife, who works as a nurse. William is now an Assistant Professor and Paramedic Program Coordinator at Creighton University, where he is dedicated to training and developing future EMS providers and researching leadership development in EMS.
William is particularly excited about helping to craft a vision for EMS that he’ll be able to help see to fruition throughout his career.
Grace Mandel, MPH, EMT
Project Manager, Baltimore City Department of Health
Grace is an avid reader, both professionally and in her personal life. In her role working for the Baltimore Fall Reduction Initiative Engaging Neighborhoods and Data (BFRIEND) program, she analyzes data from the health information exchange to determine locations for fall reduction programs. This initiative aims to improve the health and safety of the city’s seniors by developing programs to decrease the risk of falling and its debilitating impact. Grace also works part-time as an EMT in the DC area. Somehow, she also found time to read 147 non-fiction books last year!
Grace’s background in public health and emergency management will offer a critical perspective in envisioning the future of innovation in EMS. She looks forward to bringing everyone to the table for collaboration and brainstorming, as well as using data to drive change and improve health.
Kevin G. Munjal, MD, MPH, MSCR, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, New York
Kevin has been involved in national EMS efforts, serving as co-principal investigator for the Promoting Innovation in EMS project and also the lead author of an article published in JAMA calling for changes to reimbursement policy and financial incentives in EMS. Before he became a board-certified EMS physician, Kevin was an accomplished tennis player in college. He was named an All-American Scholar Athlete and Drew University’s men’s tennis team’s MVP; in 2011, Kevin’s alma mater inducted him into the school’s Athletic’s Hall of Fame.
Today, he continues to play tennis leisurely while also advocating for community paramedicine/mobile integrated healthcare and increased investment in prehospital research. He looks forward to emphasizing the importance of bidirectional data exchange and innovative partnerships between EMS and hospitals and other healthcare providers. Kevin’s approach to innovation begins with the belief that the country’s diverse EMS community can and will overcome any perceived barrier to turn ambitions into reality.
Kyra Neeley, M.Ed., EMT-P
Lieutenant, Fire Commissioner Liaison, Fire Department of New York EMS
Islip, New York
Early in her career, Kyra learned about optimism, humility in the face of tragedy and what it took to succeed against unreasonable odds as a new public school teacher in New York City only a few days before 9/11. Now, as a FDNY Fire Commissioner Liaison, Kyra – a paramedic and lieutenant with the department – is responsible for maintaining communication between scenes, the fire commissioner’s office and other key officials during incidents likely to have an impact on New York City residents and visitors.
Discovering her passion for photography a few years ago on a midtown ambulance between calls, Kyra is often found in her off hours with her camera at the ready to capture a department-related event. Kyra’s approach to envisioning the future of EMS can be summarized by a quote from Goethe: “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
Ernesto Rodriguez, MA, EMT-P
Chief, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services
Ernesto was first drawn to the field of EMS by watching Johnny and Roy on the hit TV show Emergency! A natural listener and peacemaker, Ernesto enjoys hearing different views, finding commonalities and encouraging people to share their passions. As the chief of his agency, he’s charged with cultivating partnerships with community healthcare providers to improve patient care while ensuring that the agency remains efficient and innovative and produces positive results. Ernesto is especially passionate about the wellness of EMS professionals, form their health and fitness to their emotional wellbeing.
When Ernesto isn’t working, he’s likely playing the guitar (and occasionally singing vocals in Spanish), building furniture, riding horses with his daughter or enjoying the outdoors.
YiDing Yu, MD
Founder and CEO, Twiage; Instructor, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School
YiDing possesses a wealth of global experience in entrepreneurship, technology and population health. In middle school, she played piano and studied at the Moscow Conservatory in Russia. In high school, she built websites for fun. She speaks fluent Mandarin and spent a year working abroad in Myanmar focusing on delivering care to internationally displaced persons inside war-torn areas.
Today, she’s a practicing primary care physician and entrepreneur passionate about leveraging technology to improve care. She is the founder of Twiage, a company that helps first responders and hospitals share real-time data to accelerate life-saving care for patients with medical emergencies. She looks forward to challenging the status quo and finding ways to make systems work faster, better and more efficiently for a brighter future.
National stakeholder organizations have played a critical role in shaping the past, present and future of EMS, including the original EMS Agenda for the Future. EMS Agenda 2050 will be no different, with opportunities for member associations and other EMS organizations to participate, provide feedback, comment on drafts, and communicate with their constituents. The complete list of organizations and liaisons is available here.