Implementing an Emergency Relief Organization at UTD

Posted by Sydney Sherman


UTD University Emergency Medical Response (UEMR), which was started by three McDermott Scholars, is a student-run emergency medical response system consisting of certified emergency medical technicians trained to respond to on-campus medical emergencies. The idea for a student run emergency medical response organization has been tossed around by Scholars for a few years, but it never really got traction. There are several UTD students who are fully certified EMTs interested in serving the campus community, but the liability involved with beginning the organization was a major deterrent for actually initiating the process. However, many other universities have an EMS agency on campus run by students. Umer Nadir (‘15), current chief of University Emergency Medical Response, spearheaded the initiative that is now the UTD University Emergency Medical Response in the Fall 2016 semester. Together with Nidhish Lokesh (‘15), Administrative Lieutenant, and me, Sydney Sherman (‘15), Operations Lieutenant, the idea took shape and finally went active in August 2017.


This process was not a simple one, however. EMS deals with sensitive patient information, and the potential for a patient to not survive. This creates liability for the care providers, organization, and University. All providers are required to be Nationally Registered EMTs, which ensures that all members have a relatively consistent level of medical training. Working through the legal process was time consuming, and required rethinking the initial proposed organization several times. To be recognized as a legal EMS agency, UEMR required contracts for a Medical Director and the local Fire Department. UEMR’s medical direction is provided through UT Southwestern’s Biotel EMS physician group. The on-campus initiative would not have been possible without the support (and time) of Dr. Jamison, Biotel’s Dr. S Marshal Isaacs, Dr. Gil Salazar, Dr. Miller, UTD PD’s Chief Zacharias, RFD’s Chief Poovy, University Attorney Tim Shaw, UTD’s Emergency Management Director Mariah Armitage, and many more support staff members. Each iteration of the proposed model for UEMR faced its own hurdles, but those helped create a stronger program.


For the Fall ‘17 Semester, UEMR is staffing athletic events and university special events (Silent Disco, Block Party, University hosted conferences, etc.). Our goal this semester is to recruit EMTs, raise awareness of the organization, and build our relations with the University administration, Richardson Fire Department, BioTel, and the organizations we work closely with. In the Spring ‘18 Semester, UEMR aims to expand its services to respond to any on campus medical emergency 9-1-1 call.


Seconds can make a difference when someone’s life is on the line. UEMR was created with these instances in mind. Additional ways in which UEMR makes a difference in the UTD community include raising awareness and educating students, faculty, and staff about emergency medical training in the form of first aid, and CPR classes as well as offering pre-med students and those willing to get an EMT license an opportunity to serve their fellow Comets in a meaningful way. So far, we have provided over 400+ hours of EMS coverage at over 50 events on campus. In the past, these events have had no EMS coverage and many people would be forced to go home with injuries sustained during participation. We have made a difference in providing the coverage needed to ensure the best health outcome of any student, faculty, or staff member that needs us.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s