Management & Organizations
The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), was founded in 1975, with support from the National Registry of EMTs and other leading members of emergency medicine at the time. The founding members included: A. Roger Fox; Donald A. Cross; Jeffrey S. Harris; David R. Boyd, MD; Stanley Bridges; J.D. Farrington, MD; David B. Hill; C. Keli Keliikoa; Rocco V. Morando; Robert E. Motley; James R. VanSteenburg; Roger D. White, MD; L. Joseph Young; and Walter Young.
When the NAEMT was formed, no national organization existed to represent EMT's, and there were only a few organizations at the state level since. In 1975, Rocco Morando and the National Registry convened a meeting of all of the then-existing state EMT organizations, including Massachusetts, Colorado, Florida, Oregon, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Maine, Tennessee and Illinois, in Columbus, Ohio, and the NAEMT was born.
While the National Association of EMTs is a self-contained entity today, it was originally a group of state organizations with a central Board of Directors, and made up of one member from each participating state, one “at large” director representing states who had not yet joined, a Director from the National Registry, the Chair of the Board of Medical Directors for the NAEMT, the current NAEMT editor, and other ad hoc presidential appointments.
The House of Delegates, comprised of a different member from each participating stat, advised the Board of Director and was intended to facillitate close contact with members of the NAEMT. Roger Fox (Oregon) was the NAEMT's first President and held the first two-year term. Jeff Harris (MA) was the first Secretary, Roger White, MD, (MN) chaired the Board of Medical Advisors, J.D. “Deke” Farrington, (MD) served as the NAEMT Editor, and “PJ” Williams (TX) chaired the House of Delegates.
In the late 1970's Joseph "Jay" Fitch (EMS Commissioner in St. Louis and a well-known management expert), became the founding Chair of the EMS Administrators Society. The NAEMT also held its first national awards banquet at Kent State University (OH) in the Spring of 1978, in conjunction with the annual conference of the Ohio Association for EMS .
Also in 1978, at a NAEMT luncheon in Houston, the very first "Robert E. Motley EMT of the Year Award" was presented in absentia to its namesake, Robert Motley, one of the original U.S. Department of Transportation staff members and then considered "the Father of modern EMS". The NAEMT has also begun publishing the "EMT Journal", with the assistance of Mosby Publishing - a first step in the scientific journal specifically for EMT's and BY EMT's.
NAEMT’s second annual conference was hosted in 1979 by the EMT Association of Colorado. At that meeting the general membership voted to change the bylaws and no longer require active members to be certified by the National Registry ( NAEMT had received complaints from EMTs in states where the Registry was not recognized).
Though there was not an official quorum present and the vote could have been challenged, then President of the NREMT, Rocco Morando, proved himself to be the the gentleman he was perceived and realizing the members present wanted this change, never raised the issue of the quorum. The bylaws were thus amended to allow state-certified EMTs to be active members of NAEMT. Most EMS personnel would not remember this event, but it proved to be significant in the development of the NAEMT.
The NAEMT dues were also raised rom $2.00/year to $7.00/year and continued to be collected through the state associations. This meeting also saw the presence of Thomas (TJ) Sanborn, then President of the South Dakota EMT Association. There to observe the meeting for his state (not yet affiliated), he took the message home and also contributed to the progress of the NAEMT for many years
In 1980, the NAEMT Conference moved to Nashville, TN. Amidst the classes going on around them, The Board of Directors were having a crisis over decisions regarding the future of the Association. Gary LaBeau defeated Rick Vomacka for the President's position, also Donnie Stamper and TJ Sanborn were placed on the Board of Directors. The conference also coincided with the first educational conference of the “JRC”. The Joint Review Committee was tasked with accrediting paramedic training programs and was funded by the AMA’s Council on Accreditation of Health Education Associations (CAHEA).
The Nashville conference was also one of the first times the conference was attended by members of other national medical organizations, including Dr. Marilyn Gifford (ACEP), who later became the Chairperson of the National Registry. Also represented were the National Council of State EMS Training Coordinators and the National Association of State EMS Directors, both contemporaries of the NAEMT.
Throughout 1980 and 1981 there was a move to make NAEMT an independent organization that would notbe dependent upon its state organizations for dues and, for the first time, not requiring NAEMT officers to be the Director of their state EMS authority. A mjaor shift in NAEMT's management direction also occured in 1981. Jim Page, Jay Fitch and Jeff Harris formed a management company in Boston and began providing administrative support for the NAEMT.
The 1981 conference took place in Portland, Oregon. Rick Vomacka commented that he remembered "little about the Portland meeting except the fire alarms in the hotel after midnight (a real but minor fire) and new president Gary LaBeau appointing Norman McSwain, MD, and Bob Nelson to investigate developing an “ATLS Course for Non-Physicians”. "
Also in 1981, the American College of Surgeons had begun sponsoring their "Advanced Trauma Life Support" (ATLS) course. NAEMT asked if EMTs and paramedics would be allowed to attend the ATLS course and we told "no"; however, ACEP was instrumental in assisting NAEMT with the development of its own pre-hospitally oriented course. The Board held a mid-year meeting in New Orleans where Norman McSwain and Bob Nelson had developed a curriculum, but had no financing to launch the necessary initial I/T course.
Lack of funding caused the project to go into limbo for over 18 months, but eventually Rick Vomacka and others were authorized by the Board to begin working on it again (as long as it didn't cost them any money...). At the 1983 conference in Dearborn, Michigan, they gave a panelpresentation on "improved Trauma Management" and tThis would evolve into what is now known as Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS).
At the 1982 Boston conference. another major revision in themanagement and form of the NAEMT took place. By that point, the governing body was comprised of about 40 state affiliates, that translated into 45 or more Directors. Mail ballots were untimely, and trying to convene that may people was almost impossible as well as financially prohibitive. The Board finally agreed to a compromise document that created a small Board of Directors, to be elected by a Board of Governors, which would be comprised of a member from each state affiliate and affiliated organizations.
The significance of this decision was enormous, as it no longer guranteed the National Registry of a governing or administrative seat. Don Stamper was the president who presided over this period of change, and Dave Wuertz of Tennessee was elected president-elect. The House of Delegates, which had had a difficult relationship with the Board of Directors from its inception was also dissolved.
The Dearborn conference, in 1983, marked the inception of the Asmund S. Laerdal EMT-Paramedic of the Year Award. It was also the initial presentation of the curriculum that would become PHTLS (see above). it signaled a shift in thinking and introduced the concepts of short on-scene times , as well as simplification of protocols.
The 1984 Conference was held in Biloxi, Mississippi, followed by Las Vegas in 1985. The 1986 Conference was held in Orlando in conjunction with ClinCon, sponsored by the Florida ACEP. I At that conference the NAEMTtook thestep of contracting with another management firm, saw the first appearance of the PHTLS textbook, published by Alex Butman’s Emergency Training Institute, and John Murray took office as President. In 1987, Janet Head (KS) took office as the first female President of the NAEMT and the conference was held in KansasCity.
In 1988, the US Military Medical School in Bethesda (MD) taught its' first PHTLS course at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. A major reason for the course was to see if the military could learn from civilian EMS and the PHTLS philosophy. PHTLS Chairman Dave Wuertz coordinated the course, and Air Force Major General David Trump (San Antonio), head of the “C4” course (Combat Casualty Care Course)began the steps necessary to implement PHTLS into their training.
Jim Paturas became President in 1988 and served two years, either re-elected at the 1989 Conference (Kansas City) or the by-laws were changed (this is unclear). Dave Wuertz asked Rick Vomacka lead the military PHTLS program, which he later described as "a labor of love" over the next few years.
The 1990 meeting, held in Philadelphia, saw Paul Maniscalco taking office as President, serving two years. Mark Lockhart became President in 1991, and in 1992 the Reno conference elected Mark Lockhart of St Louis to that position. Bruce Shade succeeded him at the 1993 aconference in Atlanta and served a one-year term. I think that the conference that year was in Atlanta. Also, that year, NAEMT took over its' own management of the Association and moved its headquarters to Clinton, Mississippi.
In 1994, the By-Laws were changed again to eliminate the Board of Directors and the active members voted to delegate powers to the Board of Governors and the Executive Council. Jonathon Best (CT) was elected President and served until Jim Allen (MS) took over in 1996. Of note, the very first NAEMT web site presence was launched that year, as well.
In 1998, Deborah Knight-Smith ws elected President at the Winston-Salem conference, serving two terms and the 4th edition of PHTLS was presented. In 1999, the first national rollout of the Advanced Medical Life Support (AMLS) course was held, and was followed in 2001 by the national rollout of Pediatric Prehospital Care (PPC). Nathan Williams (MO, was elected President and held the office from 2000 to2002.
In 2002, NAEMT began its successful collaboration with EMSExpo/Cygnus. Dubbed a “partnership for progress” the NAEMT holds its Annual Meeting at this conference each year and has formally extended the relationship through 2008.
John Roquemore took over as President in 2002 and held the office until 2004, when Ken Bouvier was elected at the New Orleans conference. That year marked a terrifying event, as Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans during the conference. Many members of the NAEMT were trapped and spent their time there assisting members of the public to their best ability.
In 2005, the National Association of EMT's celebrated its 30th Anniversary, initiated the International Division, and continued to represent pre-hospital EMS nationally.
In 2006, Jerry Johnston (IA), was elected at the Reno conference and remains in office to this day. During his tenure, the NAEMT has increased its visibility and efforts at outreach to the EMS community. Many programs are underway, including the transition of the PEPP course to the Emergency Pediatric Course (EP-C). Active efforts to represent the EMS community through legislative advocacy and position papers, as well as sponsorship of the Kentucky leg of the EMS Week Bike Ride for the National EMS Memorial Service.
In 2006, the NAEMT generously underwrote the fledgling efforts of the National EMS Museum project. While their generosity stands as a testament to their mission of supporting the EMS community, there have been questions as to whether the Museum "belongs" to the NAEMT. All involved would tell it does not, the National EMS Museum Foundation is a stand-alone entity. (Coincidentally - and I MEAN coincidentally - nearly all the people involved in that project are grass roots members of the NAEMT.....why aren't you?)
Through its involvement with the NEMSMF and other organizations, the NAEMT has "paid it forward", continuing the legacy of support it was shown by the NREMT at its own inception. As of this writing, the NAEMT continues to grow, positively represent the needs and interests of EMS professionals, and have a profound impact on the futre direction of EMS.
- K. P. Rickey Museum Director, NAEMT Member May 15, 2007
(With grateful acknowledgement to my friend ,Rick Vomacka, and the NAEMT website. Any errors or omissions are mine alone)
Last Revision Date: 5/15/07 - 10:00 AM