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Arnold School of Public Health


Arnold School alumnus elected to board of the National Association of EMS Physicians

February 17, 2016 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu 

Two-time Arnold School Alumnus (Master of Public Health, 2001; Doctor of Philosophy in Health Services Policy & Management (HSPM), 2004) Daniel Patterson has been elected to the board of the National Association of EMS Physicians® (NAEMSP). This professional organization provides leadership, education, and training to medical control physicians that oversee more than 19,000 emergency medical services (EMS) organizations in the United States. The NAEMSP also represents emergency medicine physicians, paramedics, prehospital nurses and other prehospital professionals. The senior scientist in the Carolinas Healthcare System Medical Center’s Department of Emergency Medicine will serve a two-year term on NAEMSP’s board, fulfilling the role of Professional Member-At-Large.

Patterson offers a unique perspective to the administrative body because he not only conducts research in EMS, but he continues to serve as a paramedic clinician in the field on a weekly basis. Over the course of Patterson’s accomplished career, he has remained a nationally registered and state certified paramedic and maintained active membership in numerous professional organizations, which includes NAEMSP.

“I value my time in the field as a paramedic and enjoy my time with my colleagues. We work as a team to stabilize patients with acute illness or injury,” Patterson says. “The act of caring for someone who needs life-saving treatment is extremely humbling, and I am thankful for the opportunity. I am a better researcher because of my time as a paramedic.” 

His investigation of emergency medical services (EMS) began during his doctoral program at the Arnold School. Working closely with mentor and HSPM Professor Janice Probst, Patterson investigated recruitment and retention of EMTs, medically unnecessary utilization of EMS, and deficits in access to EMS in rural areas. He worked as a graduate research assistant with the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center. After graduation, Patterson completed a post-doctoral fellowship supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina.

Patterson then accepted the position of assistant professor in 2007 in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine. Upon arrival to Pittsburgh, he immediately secured federal funding as well as a fellowship that focused on patient safety supported by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine and Emergency Medicine Patient Safety Foundation. Patterson also served the University as Director of Research for the Center for Emergency Medicine of Western Pennsylvania.

Patterson experienced success early in his career at the University of Pittsburgh. He obtained numerous grants from federal and foundation sources. In 2009, he received a career development award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), known as the KL2/K12. He built a research portfolio that includes numerous topics in patient and clinician safety, organizational safety culture, medical error, adverse events, teamwork, and fatigue and sleep health of clinicians. In 2015, Patterson returned to N.C. to begin his current position as senior scientist at Carolinas Healthcare System Medical Center.

In the past five years alone, Patterson’s awards have included 2010 EMS Innovator by JEMS & Physio-Control Inc., 2011-2012 Michael E. and Sandra P. Samuels Distinguished Alumni Award from the Arnold School’s Department of Health Services and Policy Management, and NAEMSP’s 2015 Best EMS Professional Research. His publications include nearly 50 peer-reviewed publications, with two-thirds of them listing Patterson as first author, as well as numerous book chapters.

The insights he garners through his official studies are enhanced by his ongoing first-hand experiences as a paramedic. My philosophy is that the research must be grounded in reality—a researcher must be in touch with what happens on the ground, in the field, clinic, or hospital,” Patterson explains. “How expert is a researcher with a focus on emergency medicine when he or she has not placed his hands on patients and cared for them at their moment of greatest need? Would you want a clinician investigator to draw conclusions and synthesize findings when he or she has had no real time as a clinician?” 

The applications of his practical and useful research have been translated into federal advisories for the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and highlighted in numerous trade journal publications and news outlets (e.g., Emergency Medicine, EMS1) and media outlets (e.g., Good Morning America). Despite the prestigious and accomplished career he has led, Patterson humbly credits those who helped him along the way.

“I would not be where I am today if not for the education, training and mentorship afforded me by my professors at the Arnold School of Public Health,” he says. “In particular, Dr. Janice Probst took me under her wing, mentored me, trained me and believed in me. She is a true asset to the school and a model for other professors, and her mentorship and model as a research scientist formed the foundation from which I grew into a successful investigator.”