Two Air Evac Lifeteam program directors from Georgia recently completed a year-long EMS Directors Leadership Course. Karen Grabenstein, program director for the Statesboro Air Evac base, and Greg Dampier, program director for the Cordele Air Evac base, were recognized at a ceremony in Statesboro.
The course consisted of four week-long modules, and the participants completed assignments between each of the four modules. The modules included presentations by state and community health officials, lectures, and tours of the Medical Center of Central Georgia and Northeast Georgia Health Systems campuses. Students who complete the course are eligible to participate in an alumni group that provides continuing leadership development for the EMS directors and management staff.
Grabenstein said she learned a lot about herself and other EMS directors during the course.
"I think the biggest thing I took away was learning to look at things from another person's perspective," she said. "The networking was great, too. I was with 23 other directors across the state, and there's not a region in the state that I don't have a personal and professional contact."
Grabenstein and Dampier were the first two directors from an air ambulance company to go through the course. Grabenstein said she thinks they changed the way many EMS directors think when it comes to air medical service.
"They learned exactly who we are and what we do," she said.
Dampier wondered what he could bring to the table.
"The EMS Directors Leadership Course was a great way to build relationships," he said. "During the class they asked questions like, 'How much does it cost to change your oil?' Karen and I had to research the cost, not only of the oil and filter, but the man hours, downtime, etc., to change the oil. It was almost $1,000. It's not just put fuel in it, crank it up and go."
After class the participants asked a lot of questions of each other.
"All the questions people were ever afraid to ask because they thought it might be a stupid questionâ|they asked," Dampier said. "Everyone sat on the back porch, enjoyed each other's company and talked about our services."
Kim Littleton, executive director of the Georgia Association of EMS, said based on her organization's research, Georgia is the only state to offer such a comprehensive EMS Leadership course. Littleton said 41 candidates applied for the second course, and 24 were accepted. The new EMS Directors Leadership Course will begin in March 2014.