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REMS picks up fourth award for service excellence

By Michelle Phillips     3/26/09 7:00pm

Rice's student-run Emergency Medical Services program received the Striving for Excellence Award, which was presented by the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation at its annual conference last month. REMS was one of seven university EMS programs in the nation to be honored with the award.Captain of REMS Michael Pandya said the award is granted based on the level of the program's operations, education and special projects.

"The organization considers it an award given to [EMS programs] that are the 'gold standard' for campus EMS," Pandya, a Sid Richardson College junior, said.

This is the fourth time REMS has won the award since it was first offered in 1999. The designation lasts for three years, after which time organizations are eligible to reapply.

To apply, the EMS group must be a member of NCEMSF and fill out a survey describing their organizational structures and procedures. Pandya said REMS has received the award every time they applied for it.

Will Rice College junior Sarah Wu and Sid senior Ian Feldman went to Washington, D.C. to represent REMS at the NCEMSF conference over spring break, where they accepted the award on behalf of REMS. At the conference, Feldman said they participated in Emergency Medical Technician training, networked with other EMS groups and attended lectures.

"I was not entirely sure what to expect but I enjoyed it both as an educational experience as well as an opportunity to interact with people from other colleges," Feldman said.

According to its Web site, NCEMSF is a non-profit professional organization founded in 1993 dedicated to assisting university EMS programs in networking and learning from each other.

REMS was founded in 1995 after Mark Escott (Jones '96) discovered that response times from the Houston medical services to the Rice campus averaged around 10 minutes, Pandya said. Realizing this delay could mean the difference between life and death in an emergency, Escott convinced the university to establish REMS. Since its establishment, REMS has reduced the 10-minute response time to two to three minutes, Pandya said.

"Oftentimes, people will look to our organization as a model to build off of," Pandya said. "Three or four times a semester, we get an email from another college or university looking to start a program or adapt their program to a better model."

However, Pandya said other universities are not the only institutions that have recognized REMS.

"In the past, we have been afforded the privilege of providing the sole medical coverage for presidents when they come," Pandya said. "For President Clinton, the Secret Service didn't even send a medic with them."

Wu said such experiences have made her enjoy her involvement in REMS.

"I feel like it's a great way for me to have an impact on the Rice community," Wu said.

Since its founding, Feldman said REMS has remained at the top level of university EMS agencies. Pandya said REMS did not reapply for the award in 2008 after the 2005 designation expired because they wanted to focus instead on internal developments.

"We're always looking to and planning for expansion or changes in the future," Pandya said.

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