UCF announced the start of the university’s first accredited emergency medical services fellowship on Monday.
This will be only the fourth program of its kind in the state of Florida, according to the National Association of EMS Physicians.
In collaboration with HCA Healthcare and the Osceola Regional Medical Center, the university seeks two fellows to accept each year. Training will begin in July.
Ayanna Walker, associate professor of emergency medicine, will lead the fellowship program. She serves as the EMS medical director for the Osceola County Fire Rescue, Kissimmee Fire Department and the St. Cloud Fire Rescue, according to the UCF emergency medicine residency website.
“Being affiliated with the UCF emergency medical program, I think we’re programmed to be innovative,” Walker said. “Anything we do, we want to make it creative and tailor it to the actual learner.”
EMS fellowships are meant to prepare emergency physicians for leadership and medical oversight of emergency care systems, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Walker said the program would utilize several UCF resources, including simulation and research experts, with an overall focus on quality care and improvement. She said students will learn to work as an advocate for patients outside of the hospital.
“We’re going to do that in a way that you are going to be an excellent teacher, compassionate physician and a really good community member and liaison,” Walker said.
David Lebowitz, associate professor of emergency medicine, serves as program director of the emergency medicine residency program at Osceola Regional Medical Center.
“From the student perspective, this fellowship will enrich the prehospital academic experience on the emergency medicine rotation and perhaps offer opportunities in research for those interested,” Lebowitz said.
During a medical emergency, Walker said most outcomes for patients start on the scene within the first few minutes. She said having a physician who provides care and implements protocols can affect patient care from the prehospital setting to discharge.
“It prepares you to be an advocate, first and foremost,” Walker said. “Even if you’re not particularly interested in working with EMS and paramedics, the fellowship itself prepares you to be a leader and a community advocate.”