Hometown Heroes

Emory Emergency Medical Services wins top regional honors

Morgan Taylor
Bryan Meltz

As a student volunteer with emory’s Emergency Medical Service (EEMS), Morgan Taylor 16C has seen her share of the unexpected. But nothing prepared the twenty-year-old rising senior for the shock of being named Emergency Medical Technician of the Year at the 2015 Region III EMS Awards this spring.

Emory EMS Director Rachel Barnhard knew the honor was deserved. Since Taylor applied to join the EEMS as a freshman, Barnhard has watched her grow into a trusted, talented student leader and mentor.

“She’s the type of person who takes any setback and says, ‘What can I learn from this, how can I do better?’ ” Barnhard says. “Patients love her and will often ask if Morgan can ride with them in the ambulance.”

Taylor’s father, W. Robert Taylor, and her mother, Kathy Griendling, are both faculty members in the Emory School of Medicine. This summer, Taylor is working as an intern at the medical school’s Office of Research and Strategic Initiatives. In April, she was appointed chief of the EEMS, the program’s highest-ranking student role. 

“Applying for the program was probably one of the best decisions I could have made,” she says. “I’ve loved the chance to get involved with patient care, to accept responsibility for my patients. I like making that connection.”

EEMS, the university’s student-operated, volunteer emergency medical services provider, earned top honors at the Georgia Region III Emergency Medical Services banquet, garnering awards for EMS Service of the Year as well as EMT of the Year. Alex Isakov, executive director of Emory’s Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR), and associate professor and director of the Department of Emergency Medicine’s Section of Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, was recognized as Medical Director of the Year.

The Region III awards are presented to EMS professionals and programs in eight counties throughout the metro-Atlanta region. 

Being honored amid a field of full-time professional EMS programs was especially meaningful to members of the student-operated service—the only university-based emergency medical service in Georgia, Barnhard says.

Although EEMS has won national recognition among collegiate-level peer services, this marks the first time the program has garnered top recognition among other professional EMS programs in Georgia, Barnhard notes. 

“We’ve been working very hard over the past five or six years to be better integrated with EMS programs in Georgia—that’s part of why we’re so excited about these awards,” she says.

Founded in 1992, EEMS is a unit of the Uniform Division of the Emory University Police Department. The volunteer force of about forty licensed Advanced EMTs is composed almost exclusively of undergraduate students, who provide round-the-clock EMS coverage for the campus and adjacent roads and businesses when the university is in session.—Kimber Williams

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