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Oregon Tech-OHSU paramedic grads answering call in Oregon, across the globe for high-quality emergency care

Sep 19, 2019
After more than two years of intense classroom work, including five months of clinical hospital rotations and three months of field externship rotations on a 911 ambulance, the Oregon Tech-OHSU Class of 2019 are eligible for both state and national licensing exams and find employment with leading agencies across the nation.

2019-09-14_OIT_GraduationTwenty-six highly trained paramedic students graduated from the Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) joint Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Technology – Paramedic program Saturday, Sept. 14, prepared to improve the quality of patient care within Oregon, the United States and the world.

After more than two years of intense classroom work, including five months of clinical hospital rotations and three months of field externship rotations on a 911 ambulance, the Oregon Tech-OHSU Class of 2019 received their diplomas before family and guests at the Sherwood Center for the Performing Arts. Keynote address was provided by Mike Myers, director of the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management.

The Oregon Tech-OHSU paramedic program, located on Oregon Tech’s Portland-Metro campus, graduates the highest level of emergency medical service (EMS) providers from the only program in the state affiliated with a nationally ranked medical school. These graduates serve two critical needs identified in the state: increasing health care providers at all levels, especially in rural areas; and career-focused emergency care training programs. Oregon Tech-OHSU paramedic education focuses on managing infield emergencies, critical thinking, clinical assessment, procedural expertise, and crew resource management skills while working as part of an interdisciplinary patient care team.

Of the paramedic students who earned a coveted spot in the selective program and successfully graduated, many have plans to practice in their rural and urban communities, while others have chosen to continue with advanced training in the Oregon Tech-OHSU joint Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Services Management program.

Abdullahi Abdullahi, one of the paramedic program graduates, was born in Somalia and spent much of his early formative years “never knowing if he was going to make it home after school.” Abdullahi and his family moved to Uganda by way of Kenya, taking minibuses through to a new home at a refugee camp in Uganda. In this camp, he spent time excelling in primary school and receiving a scholarship for a secondary boarding school in the city of Mbarara, six hours away from his family. After nine years of trials and tribulations, his family received immigration status, and they all relocated to Oregon in 2014. Since arriving in Oregon, Abdullahi has successfully completed his emergency medical technician certification and graduated from this year’s paramedic program.

“Growing up we didn’t have a system where you call for help and someone arrives to help you,” shares Abdullahi. “I joined EMS to provide the emergent help that I didn’t get growing up. I joined Oregon Tech and OHSU’s paramedic program to advance my skills and knowledge in the hopes that one day other countries and communities in need can have a system where people can call and get immediate help.”

Oregon Tech’s-OHSU’s program is different from others in the state

Not only does the Oregon Tech-OHSU paramedic program have the backing of a four-year university through Oregon Tech, but the partnership with OHSU provides resources from a nationally prominent medical school. The program is the only university-level paramedic program in the state of Oregon, which helps to attract high-caliber faculty and some of the best-prepared students in the region, making for an enriching, full education experience. The program includes active involvement in lecture, simulation training and lab skills development from more than 20 medical providers, including Todd Ellingson, M.D., medical director of the program and vice chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine and medical director at Tuality/OHSU Community Hospital.

The program’s full-time EMS faculty share a wide diversity of expertise, including running 911 calls, critical care paramedicine, community paramedicine, public health, neuroscience, social disparities of health, and crew resource management that helps students not only become excellent individual medical providers but also develop an understanding of how their practice fits into a larger system of care.

Students within the program also gain hands-on experience working with some of the program’s nearly 40 industry partners, such as Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue (TVFR), one of the most progressive EMS agencies in the country.

Smaller EMS organizations supporting many parts of rural Oregon like Forest Grove Fire and Rescue (FGFR) speak praise about the program’s graduates.

“Oregon Tech-OHSU students come with more practical knowledge of systems of care,” said Will Murphy, EMS Officer at FGFR. “What I mean by this is they seem to understand they are one piece in the health care system, and integration with the hospital, nursing homes and care providers is essential to the best treatment and care for our patients. This program is where I would go if I had to go to medic school again.”

Upon completing the degree program, graduates earn eligibility for both state and national licensing exams, and find employment with leading agencies across the nation.

Graduate Miranda Audritsh, as an example, has accepted a full-time position at Woodburn Ambulance.

“The paramedic program at Oregon Tech and OHSU has been an incredible experience,” said Miranda. “We received so much information and it was all worth it. My favorite part was the internship because I was able to apply everything that I have learned over the year and build my own style of practice.”


Additional photographs are available at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmH7V63i.

About Oregon Institute of Technology

Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Institute of Technology is the premier polytechnic institution in Oregon. Oregon Tech provides bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in engineering, health technologies, business, technology, communication, and applied sciences that prepare students to be effective participants in their professional, public and international communities through applied, relevant learning and professional practice. Oregon Tech has a central, residential campus in Klamath Falls; an urban, industry-focused campus in Portland-Metro (Wilsonville); an Online campus; and offers degrees at Boeing Seattle and at other sites. Visit www.oit.edu to learn more about Oregon Institute of Technology.

About OHSU

OHSU is the only academic health center in Oregon and is nationally distinguished as a research university dedicated solely to advancing health sciences. This singular purpose allows us to focus on discoveries that prevent and cure disease, on education that prepares physicians, dentists, nurses and other health professionals for the evolving health care environment, and on patient care that incorporates the latest advances. Based in Portland, we are one of Oregon’s largest employers, operate the top-ranked adult and children’s hospitals in the state, and secure competitive research funding of more than $400 million. As a public organization, we also provide services for the most vulnerable Oregonians and outreach to improve health in communities across the state.

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