2002 National Heroes Awards Recipients


Martin R. Eichelberger, MD
2002 EMSC Lifetime Achievement Award

Martin R. Eichelberger, MD has been a pioneer and longstanding leader in the field of childhood injury and an international advocate for the emergency needs of injured children. He has devoted his life’s work to the promotion and advancement of pediatric emergency care.

Dr. Eichelberger developed the Pediatric Trauma Team model for the resuscitation of injured children that is the most widely-adopted and adapted model in use today. This model has been instrumental in improving the emergency care of the most critically injured children. He developed one of the first pediatric training courses for pre-hospital providers that became known as the Pediatric EMS Training Program. This program served as the foundation for all the pediatric pre-hospital training programs that were developed in the 1990s.

As the director of the Emergency Trauma Services at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, he saw the need to promote childhood injury prevention as a health priority. Dr. Eichelberger is well-known as the founder and President of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign that now has established coalitions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and six nations on five continents. This program has developed multiple strategies to reduce the toll of unintentional injury to children. The coalitions have distributed 1 million bicycle helmets, 500,000 car safety seats, and 100,000 smoke alarms.

He served as a panel member of the Institute of Medicine’s study on the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC). He conceptualized the model for the EMSC Continuum of Care that we all refer to today. Dr. Eichelberger has authored a significant textbook on the emergency care of children, and his many peer-reviewed publications on nearly every aspect of the clinical care of injured children have defined the field. He is the chief of the Division of Emergency Trauma and Burn Services at Children’s National Medical Center and is leading the research on the use of a biosynthetic skin covering that is dramatically changing the care provided to children with burns.

Dr. Eichelberger became actively involved in the EMSC program as the principle investigator of the District of Columbia’s demonstration project in 1987. He was also instrumental in the development of the EMSC National Resource Center, and continues as its medical director.

Rachel Radcliff-Bostick
2002 EMSC Youth Inspiration Award

In December 2001, 8-year-old Rachel Radcliff-Bostick woke up around 2 am to the smell of smoke in her room. With quick thinking and fast action, Rachel remembered the lessons she learned at her school through the Indiana EMSC-sponsored Project at the Peoples Burn Foundation Survive Alive House.

She quickly shook her 14-year-old sister Sabrina and got her from the bed that was now on fire. She and her sister ran from the smoke-filled room to find their sleeping parents. The smoke detector was working and sounding, but her parents did not hear it, so Rachel woke them too. Everyone made it out of the house safely thanks to Rachel. Her parents credit her heroic action to her education at the Survive Alive House, and to the family’s motto: Everyone is responsible for somebody. Rachel says, she doesn’t see herself as a hero - she just wanted to get everyone out of the burning house!

Steve Strawderman
2002 Outstanding EMS Provider of the Year

Steve Strawderman, a career firefighter-paramedic, is a battalion chief for the Prince William County, VA Department of Fire and Rescue. In 1982, Steve responded to a motor vehicle crash involving a child named TJ. This singular first response has led to a career long commitment to serving and advocating for children’s issues in EMS.

He sought information on improving care to injured children from Martin R. Eichelberger, MD at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. Steve participated in the development of the first national pediatric pre-hospital curriculum, the Pediatric EMS Training Program, and became an instructor. He continues teaching pediatric emergency care to pre-hospital providers to this day.

In 1989, he researched and led the initiative to develop a local SAFE KIDS Coalition in Prince William County, VA. He developed partnerships with local government, private interest groups, and hospitals to implement the coalition. Through his efforts, the county adopted a local bicycle helmet ordinance for children 14 years of age and younger. He then implemented a helmet education program, coordinated numerous bike rodeos and, ultimately over a 3-year-period, touched the lives of 13,000 children. He became an advocate for Critical Incidence Stress Management, and serves as a peer debriefer for the Virginia CISM program.

Steve continued his work on behalf of children with the Boy Scouts by getting them involved in safety programs. He serves as a merit badge counselor for First Aid, Safety, and Fire Safety. In 1999, he organized an activity with the Boy Scouts and local volunteer fire departments to install smoke detectors in low-income homes. In 2000, he organized a First Aid activity involving 300 Boy Scouts.

Steve was selected as the International Association of Fire Chiefs representative on the steering committee for the development of the Pediatric Emergency for Pre-hospital Providers (PEPP) Program. He now serves as national faculty for the program, teaching PEPP extensively throughout Virginia and across the United States. He also works on the Virginia EMSC project.

As battalion chief, he manages six stations, three of which have medic units. He is still a practicing paramedic, responding to major incident calls as the supervisor of care provided.

Paul Maxwell
2002 Outstanding EMS Provider of the Year

In 1996, Paul Maxwell responded to a call to help for a 2-year-old who was drowning in an unfenced swimming pool after wandering from a day care center. Paramedic’s efforts were successful to the point of returning a pulse, but little Nicholas eventually died. Paul was determined that he would help end this rash of preventable pediatric drownings.

Working with the San Diego chapter of Safe Kids Coalition, using EMS data and serving as a paramedic spokesperson, he was influential in the passage of the California Assembly Bill 3305, requiring barriers surrounding all new pool construction. He was selected by the State of California to receive the “Stars of Life Award” from the American Ambulance Association in Washington, DC.

In addition, Paul organized and founded the Eliminate Preventable Injuries of Children (EPIC) Medics in San Diego. This coalition of volunteer paramedics and others focus on integrating EMS and injury prevention in a partnership with San Diego Safe Kids, Safety Council and Buckle Up San Diego.

Paul serves on the California EMS Authority’s EMSC Pediatric Technical Advisory Committee and the Vision Implementation Committee. He has received many honors and awards including the Medal of Valor from the California State Firefighters Association, Spirit of Courage from the Burn Institute, and Life Saving Citation Award by the San Diego Fire Dept.

Kathleen Rafe
2002 EMSC Parent Volunteer of the Year

In 1999, Kathleen Rafe’s son, “TJ,” was suffering with a range of special health care needs. She got involved with the Special Outreach Program at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. The program, which is supported in part by EMSC funding, is designed to ensure that community first responders are familiar with the children in their service area. It uses a modified version of the Emergency Information Form to strengthen the relationships with families and EMS professionals.

That relationship paid dividends when Fairfax EMS professionals responded to a call for help from the Rafe family. Although TJ later died, Kathleen saw the value in the outreach program and began a tireless campaign to ensure that other parents have the information they need to help their children.

Kathleen is an advisory board member of Chesapeake Applied Research Network, which empowers families and communities to help improve health care for ill and injured children. She also participated in the 2001 EMT symposium, in which she spoke on behalf of the Washington, DC Outreach Program and shared her experiences related to her son TJ.

Kathleen serves as Chairperson for the TJ Rafe Memorial Foundation. TJ founded this foundation before his death to help parents who have children with special health care needs. Kathleen is trying to implement outreach programs in all states for children with special health care needs.

General Electric and Duke University
2002 EMSC Community Partnership of Excellence Award

In January 2000, the nation learned of the risks of excess radiation exposure to children undergoing Computed Tomography or CT scans, a common imaging procedure used to evaluate a child who has suffered serious injury or illness. Pediatric providers at Duke University recognized the risk-reduction potential of the color-coding system of identifying the size of equipment and medication dosages based upon a length-based assessment of the child.

Dr. Donald Frush, division chief of Pediatric Radiology at Duke University Medical Center, worked with researchers from General Electric to apply the color-coding system to CT scanning to reduce radiation exposure. Using simulation techniques, they were able to show that high-quality scans could be obtained using lower radiation doses, and that these scans could be standardized using the same color zones as those developed by Broselow and Luten.

GE worked with physicians to develop the system, and it was presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in November 2001. IBM is now working to develop a web-based educational program to make the color-coding system practical for emergency providers. This will make radiology procedures safer for hundreds of thousands of children every year.

The award was presented to Dr. Frush, chief of the Division Pediatric Radiology at Duke University Medical Center and Jonathan Murray, global manager of Premium CT’s for GE Medical Systems.

Dr. Walter J. Eppich
2002 EMSC Research Young Investigator Award

Dr. Eppich is a third-year pediatric resident at Duke University Medical Center and will enter a fellowship training program in pediatric emergency medicine. His research abstract, entitled, “Barriers to Pre-hospital Management of Pain in Injured Children,” focuses on the extent of pain and the need for analgesia in injured children that cannot be adequately defined without the use of pain scales. The development of pain protocols with structured recommendations for pain management in the pre-hospital setting may potentially eliminate current barriers and enhance overall care of injured children. Dr. Eppich attended the University of Heidelberg Medical School in Heidelberg, Germany.

Special Children’s Outreach & Pre-hospital Education Program (SCOPE) 2002 Innovation in EMSC Product or Program Development Award

Developed by Dr. Terry Adirim, Betsy Smith, and Tasmeen Singh at Children’s National Medical Center, the Special Children’s Outreach and Pre-hospital Education Program (SCOPE) is a comprehensive outreach and education program that includes all children with special health care needs.

The program consists of supplemental videos, a student book, a modularized PowerPoint presentation, an instructor book, and a train-the-trainer module. It covers pathophysiology, treatment, transport issues for the special child, communication programs, and EMS outreach. The program has been presented in at least four states, including Alaska and the District of Columbia. This program is unique and it has had an overwhelmingly positive response from the EMS community.

At least 18 other state EMSC coordinators have requested the program for implementation. During development, the program had input from physicians and nurses, as well as all levels of pre-hospital providers. Other national organizations are considering assisting with the national and international dissemination of this product.

D. Breck Rushton
2002 EMSC Project Coordinator of Distinction

Breck has been involved with EMSC since 1991, first as the Utah EMSC education coordinator, and now as the State’s EMSC project coordinator, and was involved in coordinating activities when EMSC was incorporated into the State EMS program. He has been actively involved in teaching pre-hospital and hospital providers in Utah and the Intermountain West.

Breck was also instrumental in modifying a pediatric pre-hospital education course developed in Washington State and Idaho. It became a leading EMSC pre-hospital education program until the development of PEPP. He’s been one of the energizing forces behind the development and growth of the Intermountain Regional EMSC Coordinating Council (IRECC), of which he is an elected officer.

Breck worked with the Utah State Kids Coalition to develop a “Safe House” program in cooperation with the Utah State Fire Chief’s Association. This program, with fully equipped “bicycle rodeo” trailers, was used throughout the state.

Breck helped coordinate efforts to formalize a public-private partnership with Primary Children’s Hospital to ensure sufficient funding for EMSC for the long term. This included coordinating a statewide education effort at the legislative level.

In addition, he was awarded one of the two national Patient Safety Research Grants to study the efficacy of the Broselow-Luten System.

Mary Jean Erschen
2002 EMSC Project Coordinator of Distinction

Since 1998, Mary Jean Erschen has been the Wisconsin EMSC project coordinator. She assembled a multidisciplinary EMSC Advisory Board with task forces and committees comprised of more than 60 volunteers. In addition, she convinced the Wisconsin EMS system to create a permanent line item position for EMSC within the Bureau of EMS and Injury Prevention.

Mary Jean developed a prehospital training and refresher curricula for basic, intermediate and paramedic levels, including review and major revision of the neonatal sections of NHTSA’s curricula, which included the development of lectures, and is a PEPP course coordinator. She also developed Pre-hospital Assessment and Treatment Guidelines for ALS and BLS providers.

Mary Jean also implemented the Child Alert Program for children with special health care needs now covering most regions of the state. She has worked with the Department of Education to develop a graduate-level program to train primary and secondary school teachers in incorporating injury prevention, first aid, and resuscitation education with the public school curriculum.

Tennessee EMSC Program
2002 EMSC State Achievement Award

The Tennessee EMSC Program began in 1994, and has made great strides in developing a statewide EMSC team with multiple state collaborations across the EMSC continuum. In 1998, Tennessee passed landmark pediatric emergency care legislation.

A collaboration with North Carolina EMSC and the American Heart Association resulted in the development of the Pediatric Emergency Care Course. Tennessee established partnerships with the Rural Health Association and the Tennessee hospital association and obtained a $300,000 grant to provide education and equipment to: 54 of Tennessee ’s most rural counties; the Tennessee Department of Education to ensure curriculum standards for healthful living K-8; the Tennessee School Health Association to distribute the Emergency Guidelines for Schools to every public school in Tennessee; and the AAP other agencies to develop student health information plans for diabetes, sickle cell, asthma, severe allergy, and cardiac disorders.

In addition, Tennessee has established a separate not-for-profit entity to further the Tennessee EMSC advocacy initiatives. They have also worked with Family Voices to develop a training tool to teach and demonstrate the fundamentals of family-centered care to all children’s hospitals in Tennessee.

Florida EMSC Program
2002 EMSC State Achievement Award

The Florida state program began in 1997. It has blossomed over the past few years, becoming more integrated with the Florida Bureau of EMS and the Florida Department of Health. The program has grown from a once-contracted part-time medical director and one part-time State of Florida employee, to include an EMSC physician consultant, an executive community health nursing director, EMSC project coordinator, a program specialist, an EMS/injury epidemiologist, and a part-time data and communications specialist.

A committee to advise the Department of Health on matters concerning preventative, pre-hospital, rehabilitative, and other post-medical care for children has been established, as well as collaborations with the Florida Greater Federation of Women’s Clubs, Florida Emergency Medicine Foundation, American Academy of Pediatrics, Florida College of Emergency Physicians, Florida Emergency Nurses Association, Florida Pediatric Society, and many others.

The State of Florida has also implemented statewide initiatives such as the EMSC Needs Assessment, Emergency Department Preparedness for Pediatrics Project, PEPP, Risk Watch, National EMSC Day, EMSC Annual Award, Pediatric Disaster Pre-conference, and statewide education/communications projects.

Senator Peter Courtney
2002 EMSC State Legislator of the Year Award

In the fall of 1999, Jessica Howell died after a fall from her bicycle. As a result of this tragedy, her parents partnered with Keith Swanson, and began the journey to change the pediatric care system. Keith contacted Oregon State Senator Peter Courtney to lead the legislative process. Senator Courtney introduced Senate Bill 243 to the 2001 Legislative Session.

Many pediatric care providers from around Oregon endorsed this bill. Known as “Jessica’s Bill,” Senate Bill 243 was signed in a ceremony by Governor John A. Kitzhaber on August 2, 2001. Senator Courtney treated this bill as if it were the “biggest bill in the state,” according to Keith. As a result of this legislation, the formalization of an EMSC program was established. This bill mandates the creation of an EMSC committee, hospital designation for pediatric care, and pediatric care guidelines for both EMS and hospital personnel.