UCF to launch emergency medical services scholarship, only one in four in Florida | News

UCF announced the start of the university’s first accredited emergency medical services fellowship on Monday.

It will only be the fourth program of its kind in the state of Florida, according to the National Association of EMS Physicians.

In conjunction with HCA Healthcare and Osceola Regional Medical Center, the university seeks two fellows to accept each year. The training will begin in July.

Ayanna Walker, associate professor of emergency medicine, will lead the fellowship program. She is the EMS medical director for the Osceola County Fire Department, Kissimmee Fire Department and St. Cloud Fire Department, according to the UCF Emergency Medicine Residency website.

“Being affiliated with the UCF Emergency Medical Program, I think we’re hardwired to be innovative,” Walker said. “Everything we do, we want to make it creative and adapt it to the real learner.”

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, EMS fellowships are intended to prepare emergency physicians for leadership and medical oversight of emergency care systems.

Walker said the program will utilize multiple UCF resources, including simulation and research experts, with an overall focus on care and quality improvement. She said students will learn to work as patient advocates outside of the hospital.

“We’re going to do this in a way that you’ll be a great teacher, a compassionate doctor, and a great community member and liaison,” Walker said.

David Lebowitz, associate professor of emergency medicine, is director of the emergency medicine residency program at Osceola Regional Medical Center.

“From a student perspective, this fellowship will enrich the prehospital academic experience on emergency medicine rotation and possibly provide research opportunities for those interested,” Lebowitz said.

During a medical emergency, Walker said most patient outcomes begin at the scene within the first few minutes. She said having a physician who provides care and implements protocols can affect patient care from prehospital to discharge.

“It prepares you to be a defender, first and foremost,” Walker said. “Even if you’re not particularly interested in working with EMS and paramedics, the scholarship itself prepares you to be a community leader and advocate.”