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Lebanon Fire District and WesternU COMP-Northwest students publish white paper

by Rodney Tanaka

November 30, 2023

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Left to right: Lebanon Fire District Division Chief of Operations John Tacy and COMP-Northwest students Firefighter Judd Williams, Firefighter Ellen Williams, Firefighter Katelyn Williamson, Firefighter Jacob Guimond, and Firefighter Cameron Smith. Williamson is holding the white paper that this team, along with COMP-Northwest student Vanessa Hufnagel, recently published.  (Courtesy of the Lebanon Fire District)

For several years, the Lebanon Fire District has partnered with Western University of Health Sciences to establish a service-learning program called the WesternU Lebanon Fire District Emergency Alliance (WLEA). WesternU College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest (COMP-Northwest) students volunteer as EMTs, firefighters and first responders with the District to complete requirements for graduation.

This year, WLEA students composed a white paper titled “The Strain of Healthcare on EMS in Oregon.” The white paper was done on behalf of the Lebanon Fire District and the Oregon Ambulance Association (OSAA) and was based on an earlier position paper released by the OSAA and the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association (OFCA).

The white paper used information from a survey conducted by OSAA and OFCA sent out to ambulance transporting and non-transporting agencies. Contributors used data from the survey as well as other articles to create the white paper. Key points of interest were labor workforce shortages, training, critical access hospitals and other issues that are exacerbated in rural EMS care areas.

Division Chief of Operations John Tacy, who helped oversee the project, said “as the Chief of Operations, I am very proud of this fine young group of medical students and the paper they produced to bring some of the most critical issues to light that are currently affecting EMS and healthcare in the state of Oregon.”

WLEA/COMP-Northwest students who contributed to the paper were Cameron Smith, Vanessa Hufnagel, Jacob Guimond, Judd Williams, Katelyn Williamson, and Ellen Williams.

“WesternU Lebanon Fire Emergency Alliance began in 2018 as a recognized Community Service Learning program to embed medical students into the community to gain hands-on experience with patients they will ultimately care for in their future practices,” said COMP-Northwest Assistant Professor of Population Health Jeannie Davis, EdD. “Working with Lebanon Fire District, students have seen and experienced the strain of health care on EMS in Oregon and their research into these issues will make a significant impact in our community and in the state of Oregon.”

The paper can be read in full at this link.

Read more about Community Engagement and Service Learning Education at COMP-Northwest.

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