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Please join us in welcoming some new and familiar faces to our lineup for 2023.
Al Duke brings over 20 years of emergency department experience from staff nurse to department manager. He has served in all capacities in the ED at urban academic settings and smaller community hospitals. In addition, Al has held faculty appointments at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and School of Nursing, Salem University, and Colorado State University teaching Leadership and Management and Statistics. Dedicated to patient safety and quality care, Al contributed to developing core competencies in emergency nursing in partnership with the Emergency Nurse Association and published this work. He has also presented both locally, nationally, and internationally on TeamSTEPPS, event investigation, interviewing techniques, human factors, simulation, and the use of Lean/Six Sigma strategies. Al currently works for BETA Healthcare Group. In his role, he provides risk management and patient safety expertise to member organizations in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona. Al received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Loma Linda University and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. He is currently working on a doctorate in organizational and system design at Loma Linda University. Additional certifications include; Certified Emergency Nurse, Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management, Certified Professional in Patient Safety, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Master TeamSTEPPS Trainer, and continues to evolve in Just Culture Adverse Event Investigation and Human Factors concepts.
ANN MARIE COUNCIL
Ann Marie Council, Supervising Deputy City Attorney in San Diego, has spent the majority of her 25-year career advocating for alternative and rehabilitative sentences for criminal defendants suffering from substance use and alcohol use disorders. She has served as the prosecutor in the nationally recognized Drug Court and as the lead instructor for her office on the subject of alternative criminal sentences. She is the author of the annually updated California Drug Matrix, which is used by prosecutors and law enforcement throughout the state to assist with the prosecution and diversion of criminal defendants. Her experience includes criminal, gun violence restraining order, probate and LPS conservatorship, social security, and special education law. Most recently, she has transitioned away from the criminal realm, in order to work collaboratively with San Diego emergency service workers in the Fire Department’s Resource Access Program to serve the same rehabilitative purpose for vulnerable individuals cycling between the streets and hospitals, without access to meaningful care. Ann Marie received a degree in Sociology from UC San Diego, and a law degree from California Western School of Law. She lives in San Diego with her two teenage sons and one extremely patient husband.
Bob has been in the fire service for over 45 years, starting as a volunteer firefighter, then rising to executive positions. He served in the Ventura County Fire District, CA, for 34 years, the last 15 as Fire Chief. He then became the Nevada State Forester and is now the Chair of the CA Fire Safe Council and Policy Advisor to the Western Fire Chief’s Association. During his career, Bob continued his formal education and became focused on the wildland fire problem due to its dynamic nature and challenges. As Fire Chief of a CAL FIRE “Contract County” and the Chair of the FIRESCOPE Board of Directors, he became quite involved in state aid agreements and the state response system. He furthered his national wildland policy knowledge by becoming the Chair of the International Association of Fire Chief’s Wildland Fire Policy Committee and serving on the Wildland Fire Leadership Council. This forum required a global viewpoint of the nation’s wildland fire problem and interaction with National Association of State Foresters, federal partners, and the international wildfire community. Bob was instrumental in the development of the Ready, Set, GO! program and was part of the development team for the National Wildland Fire Cohesive Strategy. During his career and post-career, Bob speaks at conferences, community groups, and governmental entities (local, state & federal), and he’s authored various trade journal articles. Bob is currently serving his appointment to the President’s Wildfire Commission.
Fire Chief Brian Marshall has served in the California fire service since 1987, serving for nearly 32 years with the Kern County Fire Department. Chief Marshall was appointed as the County’s Fire Chief on April 7, 2012. Chief Marshall retired from the County on February 1, 2019. On December 21, 2018, Governor Brown appointed Chief Marshall as the State Fire & Rescue Chief. Chief Marshall assumed this role on February 4, 2019. Chief Marshall’s primary duties include managing the State’s Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System, administering the California Fire Assistance Agreement reimbursement process, manages over 250 pieces of fire and rescue apparatus, and serves as the Executive Director for FIRESCOPE.
Christian Tubbs is currently the Fire Chief of the Southern Marin Fire Protection District (CA) and President of the California Fire Chiefs Association. Chief Tubbs began his fire service journey in 1978, serving primarily with the Mercer Island (WA) Fire Department. Chief Tubbs also spent nineteen years with Washington Task Force One (WATF-1), one of 28 FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Teams, and deployed to the Oklahoma City Bombing and Hurricane Katrina. Chief Tubbs has a Master of Science Degree from Grand Canyon University and a Master of Arts Degree from the Naval Post Graduate School. His NPS thesis was titled, “Conditions of Democratic Erosion: Has US Democracy Reached a Tipping Point?”. Chief Tubbs is also a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program and earned his certificates in Public Policy and Public Leadership. Chief Tubbs is also an Accredited Fire Chief through CPSE and the State of California, and a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.
Acting State Fire Marshal / Deputy Director of Community Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Chief Berlant began his career with CAL FIRE in 2001 as a volunteer and was hired in 2002 in the Fire Prevention Bureau of the Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit. In 2005, he began working in the CAL FIRE Communications Office as a Fire Prevention Specialist in Sacramento. After several fire sieges and extensive work in the public information function, he was promoted in 2008 to Department Information Officer and was tasked with serving as CAL FIRE's main spokesperson. In 2014, he was promoted to the Chief of Public Information overseeing the Sacramento and Region staff of the Communications Office. In 2016, Chief Berlant was promoted to Assistant Deputy Director at the Office of the State Fire Marshal over the Wildfire Planning & Engineering, and Fire Engineering & Investigations Divisions. In 2022, Chief Berlant was promoted to Deputy Director of Community Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation, which was new to the Department after being established through the passage of Assembly Bill 9 (2021), which created the Community Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation Division within the Office State Fire Marshal. In January 2023, Chief Berlant was designated Acting State Fire Marshal, in addition, continuing to function as the Deputy Director over Community Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation. Chief Berlant holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis.
DUSTIN BALLARD, MD, MBE
Dustin W Ballard, MD, MBE is an emergency physician, medical director for the Marin County EMS Agency and President-Elect for EMDAC. He is the former Fulbright scholar and former medical director for Novato Fire Protection District in Novato, CA. He is also the founder of a national research emergency medicine network under the umbrella of Kaiser Permanente Northern California called KP CREST (https://www.kpcrest.net/). His EMS-related research experience includes investigations of pre-hospital stroke and head injury assessment, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest care and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on EMS response and transport characteristics.
Frank has a broad public service career working for federal, state, city, and special district organizations, serving in positions from firefighter to fire chief. Areas of strength include organizational leadership and development, personnel management and development, stakeholder identification and inclusion, conflict resolution and interest-based negotiation, training and curriculum development, budget management and analysis, public policy analysis, project management, and incident management. During the past six years, he has been deeply involved in policy, legislation, finance, actuarial science, fire science, catastrophe modeling, mitigation, and response analysis related to the Wildland Urban Interface. He is strongly committed to the concept of stewardship in managing public affairs. His overall qualifications represent an intentional life-long commitment to balance among operational experience, administrative capacity, formal education, and credibility among his peers.
Jacob Green is a nationally recognized leadership and organizational development expert. After 18 years in local government executive positions, Jacob transitioned to the private sector where he served as Managing Director of Organizational & Leadership Development and Vice-President of Innovation for a national government consulting firm. Now serving as President and CEO of Jacob Green and Associates, clients such as Mattel, Fedex, Hyundai Capital, Navy Federal, the United States Air Force and many other public and private sector clients have brought Jacob in to help their teams leverage adversity and build organizational resilience. He has received numerous awards for his work, including being a recipient of the National Caring Award in Washington, DC alongside Dr. Jane Goodall, is the youngest recipient of the Gene Lentzner Humanitarian Award, and received an honorary doctorate from Western University Medical School. His book “See Change Clearly” is an Amazon New Release Best Seller and reached #1 in five Amazon New Release business categories.
JENNIFER FARAH, MD
Dr. Farah was raised in a rich EMS culture, starting with her father, a paramedic of over 40 years, and continuing with her brother, an EMT-Firefighter. She attended medical school at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and performed her residency training in Emergency Medicine at Los Angeles County - USC Medical Center. She then completed her fellowship program in Emergency Medical Services and Disaster Medicine at UC San Diego. As a double board-certified physician in Emergency Medicine and EMS, she serves as an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine as well as the Base Hospital Medical Director for UC San Diego. Dr. Farah is also the Medical Director for the Chula Vista Fire Department, which provides both fire first responder and ambulance transport services, and previously served as the Medical Director for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Paramedic Program. Her academic interests include EMS at the US-Mexican border, EMS regulatory policies and paramedic education.
In January 2023, Josh became the first Chief Executive Officer of the Boulder Crest Foundation, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring first responders, combat veterans, and their family members live great lives in the midst of struggle, stress, and trauma. In this role, Josh is responsible for Boulder Crest’s operations and activities, overseeing Boulder Crest Arizona, Boulder Crest Virginia, the Boulder Crest Institute, Boulder Crest’s Training and Education work (to include Warrior PATHH and Struggle Well program and mobile applications), and our fundraising, marketing, and partnership efforts. Boulder Crest is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring Prior to his appointment at CEO, Josh co-founded and led the Boulder Crest Institute for Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) from 2018-2022.
Kim Zaky is the Base Hospital Supervisor at CHOC Children’s Hospital where she established and oversees the county’s only pediatric-dedicated base station. In addition to supervising the base, she works closely with the local EMS agencies to update and bolster pediatric pre-hospital policies. Kim also oversees CHOC’s secondary transfer program within the emergency department, where specialized staff triage and dispatch CHOCs transport team to outside EDs all over Southern California who request definitive care for sick or injured children. Kim has over twenty years of nursing experience specializing in pre-hospital, trauma, and emergency department care. Prior to coming to CHOC, Kim was a base hospital coordinator and MICN within Orange County. She attended UCLA and received her MSN with FNP specialty, where she worked as a nurse practitioner in a primary pediatric office part time before returning full time to the CHOC to open the base station.
LYNNETTE NAVARRO SULLIVAN
Lynnette Navarro Sullivan self-identifies as a first-generation Mexican American college graduate and a proud MVC Alum. Lynnette is the Mental Health Supervisor for Riverside Community College District- Moreno Valley College aim is to Ms. Sullivan credits the support from MVC’s EOPS program for empowering and encouraging her to complete her program of study at MVC, transfer to Cal State San Bernardino, where she received her Bachelor's of Science in Psychology and continued to attain her Master's of Science in Counseling Psychology from California Baptist University. Ms. Sullivan is dually licensed as a marriage and family therapist and professional clinical counselor. Ms. Sullivan’s has a strong commitment to promoting inclusion, equal access for behavioral health, and wellness for historically marginalized groups. She also obtained her Doctorate in Social Work that emphasized creating holistic wellness services for community college students. Her current work is focused on closing the health on community college campuses by increasing behavioral health access and decreasing negative social determinants of education and health. As the Moreno Valley College Mental Health Supervisor, she is responsible for establishing partnerships with community mental health providers to increase support for students. Lynnette co-leads the Riverside County Suicide Prevention- Higher Education Coalition to eliminate suicide among students, faculty, and staff. She has also developed an intern program enabling the college to offer prevention, early intervention, and treatment services virtually and in-person. Lynnette also serves as the co-advisor for Active Minds to promote student leadership while increasing mental health awareness, reducing stigma, and enhancing suicide prevention efforts. Her Clinical training includes trauma informed practices, Triple P Parenting, Stress and Your mood, Seeking Safety, and Mothers and Babies, and CBT Insomnia. She is also a certified SafeTALK trainer, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST) trainer, and Mental Health First Aid trainer.
MARC ECKSTEIN, MD, MPH
Marc Eckstein, MD, MPH, is a nationally recognized leader with over 30 years of experience in Emergency Medicine and EMS. Dr. Eckstein is double board-certified in Emergency Medicine and Emergency Medical Services. He has built an international reputation as a physician, leader, academician, innovator, and physician executive. After obtaining his Bachelor of Science Degree with Distinction from Cornell University, Dr. Eckstein obtained his Doctor of Medicine from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine at the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center, where he served as Chief Resident. He earned a Master’s Degree in Public Health (MPH) with a Concentration in Homeland Security from American Military University. Dr. Eckstein is a Professor of Emergency Medicine and Clinical Scholar at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. Dr. Eckstein has published over 250 peer- reviewed articles, abstracts, and book chapters, and lectures around the world on Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Medicine, and disaster preparedness topics. He serves as the Chief of the EMS Division within the Department of Emergency Medicine at USC and is the Director of the EMS Fellowship. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the EMS Achievement Award from the California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Medicine (CAL-ACEP); the EMS Medical Director of the Year Award from the National Metropolitan EMS Medical Directors Consortium; the Meritorious Service Award for Exceptional Leadership and Contributions in EMS from the California State EMS Authority; the EMS Innovator Award by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS); the Clinical Excellence in EMS Award from the California State EMS Authority; the Healthcare Leadership Award from the Los Angeles Business Journal; the Community Service Leadership Award from Firehouse Expo, and was one of only 50 Emergency Physicians recognized in a book honoring the 50th anniversary of the specialty of Emergency Medicine. In March 2020, he was deputized by Mayor Eric Garcetti as the Physician Leader of the COVID-19 Testing for the City of Los Angeles, which has tested over 2 million individuals to date. Dr. Eckstein served as the Medical Director of the Los Angeles Fire Department from 1996 - 2021. He was appointed the Commander of the Los Angeles Fire Department EMS Bureau in 2016, where he created and implemented many innovative and life-saving programs. Dr. Eckstein created the first Mobile Integrated Health Unit in any urban fire department in the US. He successfully implemented Advanced Provider Response Units (APRUs) in the field, which are staffed by a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant along with a paramedic, and he also created the nation’s first mobile Sobriety Emergency Response Unit (SOBER Unit). He implemented a Dispatch-Initiated Telemedicine Program in early 2020 and has now launched Field-Initiated Telemedicine. All of these programs leverage technology and innovation to provide patient-centered care, conserve emergency resources, and navigate low acuity patients to Treatment in Place or transport to Alternate Destinations such as Mental Health Urgent Care Centers or Sobering Centers. In 2020, Dr. Eckstein founded Tele911, Inc. a healthcare technology company that integrates telemedicine and patient navigation into the 911/EMS system, where he now serves as CMO. Tele911 is now the leader in ER diversion and is transforming emergency care.
Fire Chief Mark Heine currently serves as the Fire Chief of the Sonoma County Fire District and the California Fire Chiefs Association President-Elect. Chief Heine is a 35-year veteran of the California fire service. Under his leadership, the Sonoma County Fire District has greatly expanded it ALS delivery system through the creation of a unique public/private partnership and is currently bidding to become the primary provider of ALS ambulance services in Sonoma County. This unique partnership, “Partners in Care” is creating a new paradigm for the delivery of emergency ambulance services in California.
MICHAEL GUIRGUIS, MD
Dr. Michael Guirguis graduated from UCLA in 1999 with a B.S. in Psychobiology and from Harvard Medical School in 2003 and returned to Southern California where he completed his Emergency Medicine Residency at Loma Linda University Medical Center in 2006. Before starting residency he attended and graduated from the Orange County Sheriff’s Academy. He was sworn in as reserve Sheriff Deputy in 2003 and joined the San Bernardino Sheriff Air Rescue team, where he has flown over 800 medical and rescue missions, and received the Sheriff's Medal of Valor, for the events that transpired in Big Bear in 2013. He has worked with SWAT and the Sheriff Dive Team, provided medical support to many law enforcement-affiliated events, and has recently earned his private pilot license and transferred to Sheriff Aero Squadron in 2022. Dr. Guirguis has extensive experience in Pre-Hospital Care, Tactical Medicine, Flight Medicine, and EMS. Over the last 20 years, he has provided medical care at NASCAR, Indy Racing, Motorcross, Baja 500/1000, large venue concerts, and sporting events. He spent 5 years as a team physician for the Ontario Reign hockey team (LA Kings Affiliate). Dr. Guirguis was Medical Director for CONFIRE JPA (San Bernardino County EMS dispatch center) from 2010-2020 overseeing the successful implementation of the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch program providing the ability of fire department responses to be tiered based on call type. He continues to work closely with the fire service, as the Chief Technology Officer of M–Fire Suppression and M-Fire Technologies, a California-based company that provides fire inhibitor protection for wood-framed construction and wildland fire mitigation. Dr. Guirguis continues to work clinically in Emergency Medicine and founded Raven Medical Support Group. RMSG provides medical threat assessment consulting, medical direction, and oversight for ultra-high-net-worth private family offices and corporate executive protection programs that operate domestically and internationally. He oversees the medical programs and training of all executive protection agents from those with BLS/AED certifications to special forces medics who have an advanced medical scope and personally provides medical coverage for principals when requested or deemed necessary by the medical threat assessment. He has written extensively for Security and Executive Protection publications, and sits on the working group and technical committee of the Board of Executive Protection Professionals, authoring the medical standard for executive protection professionals.
Patrick is the Founder and President of 3AM Innovations. A resident of Buffalo, NY and a former volunteer Firefighter of five years of Grand Island, NY. When a neighboring department suffered loss of life due to the outdated accountability systems, his mission was started “to protect those, who protect us.” Patrick lives in Grand Island, NY with his wife and two children and just welcomed two foster children into his family. He has a BS in Psychology from the University of Buffalo and often spends his time volunteering for local non-for-profits.
Ray Gayk has been in the Fire Service since 1990. He began his fire career as Volunteer Firefighter for the Riverside County Fire Department and worked for Goodhew Ambulance as an EMT and Paramedic, before beginning his professional fire service career with the Riverside County Fire Department as a Firefighter Paramedic, later lateraling to the Redlands Fire Department and was hired by the Ontario Fire Department in June of 1997. During his 33 years in the fire service, Chief Gayk has served in numerous roles including: Firefighter/Paramedic, FEMA USAR Task Force 6 Member, SWAT Medic, Background Investigator, Captain, Training Officer, Public Information Officer, Battalion Chief, Deputy Chief of Operations, and currently serves as the Fire Chief for the Ontario Fire Department. Chief Gayk has served in numerous leadership roles for the California Fire Chiefs Association including, Vice President of the OPS section, State Legislative Committee, Area Director, President-Elect, President and currently serves as the Past President and California Director for the International Fire Chiefs Association/Western Fire Chiefs Section. Chief Gayk has over 40 nationally published articles such as “Company Officer Development” published by Fire Rescue Magazine and has had the opportunity to teach leadership classes throughout the country at several national conferences.
ROBERT KATZER, MD
Dr. Katzer is a Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of California, Irvine. He is board certified in both Emergency Medicine and Emergency Medical Services. He works primarily at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center in Orange, California. He also periodically works at the Catalina Island Medical Center off the coast of Southern California. Within Emergency Medical Services Dr. Katzer is the Medical Director for the City of Anaheim Fire and Rescue Department as well as an Air Medic With the San Bernardino County Sheriff Air Rescue Team. At the Federal level, he holds an intermittent position on the CA-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team in addition to being federally trained in aeromedical evacuation.
With over four decades of experience in fire protection, Scott Clough leads a dynamic group of consultants with AP Triton. Still active as a leader in the fire service and a successful entrepreneur, Scott envisioned the possibilities of repositioning EMS and ambulance service in the public sector. The company provides specialized consulting in emergency medical services, operations planning and preparedness, fire and life safety, wildfire protection planning, and administrative services, with distinguished clients such as the San Francisco 49ers, the Carolina Panthers, and Alco Iron and Metals. Scott’s determined drive for success led him through a successful career with the Los Angeles Fire Department. Ultimately, he took that success to the next level at Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, where he served as a firefighter/paramedic, before moving into other administrative roles. He was quickly promoted up the ranks, taking on various roles as an Assistant Chief. Scott rounded out his career as an Assistant Chief of Governmental Affairs, representing the agency on a state and national level, testifying before Congress, and writing legislation to advance the fire service into the future. In addition to his public service, Scott is a highly successful and accomplished entrepreneur. His unique business acumen has contributed to the founding and building of several successful organizations. Scott continues to actively advocate for the California fire service and has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the next version of GEMT (PP-GEMT IGT).
SHELLEY BRUKMAN, MSN, RN, TCRN
Shelley is the Comprehensive Children’s Emergency Receiving Center Coordinator at CHOC Children’s Hospital. In her role as the CCERC Coordinator, she is responsible for identifying areas for improvement in prehospital pediatric care. This includes collaborating with our Fire partners, outside hospitals and emergency departments in developing processes, tools, policy recommendations and educational packages to address the specific needs of our pediatric populations. Before joining CHOC, Shelley worked as the EMS Manger for Fountain Valley Fire Department and EMS Educator for Orange County Fire Authority in Orange County California. Shelley has over 20 years of experience in Emergency and Trauma nursing with her career starting at a Level 1 trauma center in in Durban, South Africa. Prior to coming to the US, she worked in a remote clinic on a gold mine in Mali. She received her Bachelor of Curationis and Master of Science in Nursing Education.
STEPHEN ODOM, PHD, MFT
Dr. Stephen Odom, PHD, MFT is a notable healthcare and addiction treatment professional with more than 30 years of expertise in the field. He is the founder and Chief Clinical Officer of First Responder Wellness, a first responder only behavioral health and addiction treatment program, Shift Wellness a revolutionary twenty first century behavioral care consulting and training firm and The Counseling Team International, an employee support service that provides counseling, training, critical incident intervention and support to emergency service personnel and their families within California as well as nationwide. Dr. Stephen Odom and his team have years of experience assessing, creating and implementing internal and external behavioral care referral systems and providing professional training for healthcare professionals and First Responders nationally. Dr. Odom’s focus on First Responder Wellness was born of his family’s career backgrounds with the military, healthcare, law enforcement, fire, education, and public safety, and was honed as he created and led specialty programs for physicians, nurses, first responders and their families. Dr. Odom has a comprehensive educational background in healthcare, holding a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Behavior, master’s degrees in Experimental and Clinical Psychology (Palo Alto University), a doctoral candidacy in Clinical Psychology, and a Doctorate (Ph.D.) with a focus in Healthcare Administration. Moreover, he is a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of California and Idaho. He is passionate about best care practices and therefore, has many notable achievements in the field. In 2018 he was named a “Behavioral Healthcare Champion”, a national recognition awarded for development, delivery, and effectiveness of mental health and substance use disorder treatment services.
TY WOOTEN, ENP
Ty Wooten, ENP, is the Director of Government Affairs for the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) and has worked in public safety for nearly 30 years. Previously, Ty was the Director of Education for NENA: The 9 ‐ 1 ‐ 1 Association, overseeing the development and delivery of public safety training for students worldwide. He currently serves and has served on numerous working groups, committees, and boards developing the 911 industry technologically and operationally. Ty began his public safety career as a Communications Officer and held positions in communications and training over the coming years. In 2008, Ty became the first Director of the Hancock County (IN) 9 ‐ 1 ‐ 1 Center. He also served as the Director of the Indianapolis International Airport Communications Center. Before coming to NENA, Ty was the Principal of Public Safety Consulting and Management, providing consulting services that included PSAP consolidation, access control, and management planning. Ty has received instructor certifications from numerous associations, including the Center for Domestic Preparedness, The National Association of State Fire Marshalls, and the Florida State Fire Academy. Ty is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Executive Management program. He has also held various positions in law enforcement: as a firefighter, an EMT, and a hostage negotiator.
Vanessa is the EMS Bridge Program director and leads the research on the novel approach of paramedic-initiated medication-assisted treatment. Her team’s research has led to policy change in California. She has over ten years of experience in the healthcare field and holds her Master of Science with a focus on analytics. Vanessa is an active member of her community volunteering in her home county of Contra Costa and is passionate about equitable healthcare.
Director Ward has been working in EMS for over 20 years in Southern California. Ward currently serves as Paramedic Program Director and Professor of EMS at Crafton Hills College. She can be found working tirelessly to develop excellent preceptors within the region. She holds numerous instructor licenses, an Associate of Science Degree in EMS, a Bachelor of Science in Public Safety and Emergency Management and is currently completing a Masters in Adult Education and training.
For the last two decades, Anne has worked in environmental planning, wildlife biology, climate adaptation, and fire resilience. During her 18 years with Sonoma Water, she conducted environmental review under CEQA and NEPA; worked with regulatory agencies to secure permits; served as a wildlife biologist for capital projects and for vegetation management along streams in Sonoma County, specializing in nesting birds; worked toward climate adaptation for water resources and the landscapes that supply our water; and collaborated with many fantastic agencies, organizations, and landowners to lead efforts toward greater fire resilience to improve forest health, watershed health, public safety and protect water resources in Sonoma County. A case study describing her work in the Lake Sonoma watershed is featured by the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research as part of the Integrated Climate Adaptation & Resiliency Program’s Adaptation Clearinghouse. After the devastating fires of 2017, Anne trained to become a wildland fire fighter to help conduct prescribed burns across the North Bay. She has also helped acquire grant funding through CALFIRE and the Coastal Conservancy for fire risk reduction efforts in Sonoma County and secured PG&E settlement funds to develop a science-based decision-support tool for vegetation management for the County of Sonoma. Anne also led the County’s team for natural resources recovery after the Glass and Walbridge fires. Anne’s passion for fire resilience, natural resources management, and climate mitigation and adaptation eventually brought her to the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority, where she has been since May 2021. Anne holds a Bachelor of Science in Biological Studies and a Master of Science in Environmental Studies.
As the Fire Chief of the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), Brian Fennessy leads more than 1,700 firefighters and non-sworn personnel who collectively serve 2 million residents across 23 cities and unincorporated areas. Chief Fennessy began his career in 1978 with the US Department of Agriculture’s United States Forest Service and the US Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management working as a hotshot crewmember and ultimately crew superintendent. In 1990, Fennessy joined the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and ultimately became Chief of Department in 2015. In 2018, he was appointed to Fire Chief of the OCFA. As Chair of the FIRESCOPE Board of Directors, Chief Fennessy is an advisor to the Director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), currently serves as a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and Western Fire Chiefs Association Wildland Fire Policy Committee; serves as the Sponsoring Agency Chiefs Representative for the nine West Division FEMA Urban Search & Rescue Task Forces; and a California Fire Chiefs Association Executive Board Director. In 2022, Chief Fennessy was recognized as CalChiefs Fire Chief of the Year.
Brian K. Rice has been involved with the California fire service and the firefighter labor movement for more than three decades. Brian spent over 30 years with the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department, rising to the position of Deputy Chief. Brian was also twice elected as president of Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522, serving a total of 12 years in the position. In 2018, Brian was elected president of California Professional Firefighters, representing close to 35,000 front-line firefighters and paramedics around the state. He also serves as co-chair of the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee and chair of the non-profit California Fire Foundation.
CLAYTON KAZAN, MD, MS, FACEP, FAEMS
Dr. Kazan began his medical career as an EMT while an undergraduate at UCLA in 1994, and, since that time, he has held a wide variety of positions across the spectrum in EMS and Emergency Medicine and prides himself on having taught all levels of providers from EMTs to physicians. He completed his medical school training at the Chicago Medical School, internship at the University of Hawaii, and emergency medicine residency back at UCLA and Olive View-UCLA. Since joining the Los Angeles County Fire Department as its Medical Director in 2015, he has been a recipient of the California ACEP EMS Achievement Award and the California EMS Authority Distinguished Service Medal, and the programs launched under his leadership have won countless local, state, and national awards. Dr. Kazan continues to work as an attending emergency physician at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center, and he serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His professional passions are in education, process improvement, and workplace culture.
Dave Winnacker has been in the fire service since 2004 with Fresno City, Alameda County, and the Moraga-Orinda Fire District. Since joining MOFD as fire chief in 2017 he has developed a comprehensive strategic wildfire risk reduction plan for the Moraga-Orinda community using early warning, fire spread modeling, terrain and vehicular access analysis, and prescribed fire in conjunction with extensive outreach, education, and enforcement efforts to increase the adoption of residential defensible space and home hardening measures. At the state level he represents CalChiefs on STEAC and leads the WUI Task Force. Prior to joining the fire service, he served on active duty as a Marine Corps Infantry officer from 1997-2003. As a member of the Marine Corps Reserve, he is a Colonel and served as the Commanding Officer, 4th Force Reconnaissance Company from 2014-2016, as the Deputy Commander, 23D Marine Regiment from 2019-2022, and is currently assigned as the Chief of Staff, Marine Innovation Unit. At Stanford University he is a Hoover Institution Veteran Fellow working on the intersection of wildfire and property insurance.
Emily started her career in EMS in 2006 while attending Mt. San Antonio College EMT program. She began working in 2008 for a private 911 ambulance company in Los Angeles County after completing her bachelor's degree from the University of Redlands. She attended Moreno Valley College Paramedic Program in 2010-2011 and began working for a private 911 ambulance company in Riverside County in 2012. Emily began teaching EMT and Paramedic skills at Moreno Valley College EMS Program. She left the field to work for Riverside County Fire Department as an EMS Specialist and Senior EMS Specialist. While working there, she completed her Master of Science in Emergency Services Administration from California State University, Long Beach. She created a Crisis Comfort Canine Program for Riverside County Fire as part of her thesis project to help combat PTS in the fire service. She is now an Assistant Professor of EMS at Moreno Valley College and has built with Dr. Lynnette Sullivan, a First Responder Mental Health Program.
HERNANDO GARZON, MD
Hernando Garzon, MD has practiced Emergency Medicine since 1992. His career has focused on domestic and international disaster response, Emergency Management, and pre-hospital care. Dr. Garzon served as Sacramento’s EMS Medical Director for 14 years, and currently serves as the Medical Director for the California Emergency Medical Services Authority. Dr. Garzon's 14 domestic disaster response deployments have been with the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue System, and have included the Oklahoma City bombing, the World Trade Center during 9/11, New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and others. His 18 international disaster responses have included the Southeast Asia Tsunami, earthquakes in Kashmir, Haiti and Mexico, civil violence Kenya and Nigeria, famine in Somalia, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and others. Dr. Garzon has helped develop capacity building volunteer programs in Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Vietnam, Cambodia, Guatemala, Colombia and other countries. Dr. Garzon has served on national and state panels to define Crisis Medical Care guidelines and Pandemic Flu guidelines, and he has been a consultant for the U.S. Department of State on medical care for weapons of mass destruction.
Jimmy started his EMS career working for Medic Ambulance in 2001 as a system support technician and dispatcher. With a natural affinity for the EMS business, he has worked his way up through every department at Medic Ambulance to his current role as President and COO. Jimmy has led the Medic team through six Commission on the Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) accreditations. Over the last ten years, Jimmy has helped grow the business from 31,000 transports per year to over 75,000 transports, expanding in several capacities across Northern California. Jimmy is the main liaison and contract administrator for the public-private partnership with Solano County Fire Departments. Jimmy was honored as the recipient of the 2018 State of California Paramedic of the Year and 2019 State of California Meritorious Service Medal. James is a Board Director and President of the California Ambulance Association. Jimmy is a member of the California Hospital Association EMS/Trauma Committee. In 2019, James became a Fellow of the American College of Paramedic Executives (FACPE). James is certified as an Ambulance Compliance Officer (CACO) and Ambulance Privacy Officer (CAPO). In 2021 and 2022, respectively, Jimmy was recognized by both American Ambulance Association and Sacramento Business Journal as a 40 under 40 Honoree.
Chief McDougald started his career with CAL FIRE in 1994 as a Firefighter I in the Madera, Mariposa, Merced Unit. In 2001, he was promoted to Engineer and worked in both municipal and wildland fire stations. In 2006, he promoted to Fire Captain. He worked in the Madera, Mariposa, Merced Unit until 2009 when he transferred to the Fresno Kings Unit as the Unit Pre-Fire Engineer. In 2010, Chief McDougald promoted to Battalion Chief in the role of the Southern Region Pre-Fire Coordinator. During his time in this position, he assisted in the implementation of the 2010 Strategic Fire Plan for California, CalMAPPER, the State Responsibility Area Fee, State Responsibility Area reviews, CAIRS and the Land Use Planning Program. In 2014, he promoted to Assistant Chief in the Fresno Kings Unit where he oversaw the Pre-Fire, Resource Management, Law Enforcement and Protection Planning Programs. During this time, he was on the committee that updated the 2018 Strategic Fire Plan for California, served as the co-chair for the development and implementation of CALFIRS and continued involvement on the CalMAPPER Technical Committee. In 2021, he became the Assistant Chief for the Home Hardening Program implementing the California Wildfire Mitigation Program with CAL OES and in 2022 he promoted to his current position of Staff Chief where he oversees the department’s Wildfire Planning (Fire Plan) Program, as well as the CalStats Program which administers incident reporting (CALlFIRS/NFIRS).
KELSEY WILHELM, MD
Dr. Wilhelm attended Creighton University in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, graduating with a BS in Exercise Science. She continued her journey westward, attending medical school at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix and graduating with a distinction in Global Health. She finished her emergency medicine residency training at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California. She went on to complete an EMS and disaster fellowship with the Los Angeles County EMS Agency while receiving operational experience with Los Angeles County Fire Department. Dr. Wilhelm currently serves as a provider agency medical director for the Compton Fire Department. She is also an EMS and Disaster Physician Specialist at the Los Angeles County EMS Agency where she assists with research and quality improvement projects and serves as an instructor at the Los Angeles County Paramedic Training Institute. Additionally, she works locally as an event medicine physician and attends as clinical faculty in the Harbor-UCLA emergency department where she is engaged in medical education.
With over four decades of experience in fire protection, Kurt Henke leads a dynamic group of consultants with AP Triton. Kurt saw a desperate need in the industry to provide long-term, creative, and sustainable solutions to an industry that required clarity. His organization addresses a broad range of challenges related to fire safety, public safety, and private sector safety, with excellence as the goal for every client. The company provides specialized consulting in emergency medical services, operations planning and preparedness, fire and life safety, wildfire protection planning, administrative services, and legislative advocacy. Notable clients include the San Francisco 49ers, the Carolina Panthers, and Alco Iron and Metals. Kurt’s professional expertise includes working in every aspect of fire protection and prevention from the ground up. He is considered a “maverick,” moving through the ranks from entry-level to the role of Fire Chief with the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, the seventh-largest fire agency in the State of California. He has also held roles as a public sector union representative covering fire protection professionals, ultimately achieving the role of union president responsible for six different cities and districts spanning 16 years. Kurt has also served as the chairman of the California Metropolitan Fire Chiefs and has been honored as California Fire Chief of the Year.
Makenzie Ferguson is the Injury Prevention Coordinator for Trauma Services at CHOC Children’s Hospital. She is responsible for tracking injury trends, implementing prevention interventions, community outreach/education and developing community partnerships. She also is involved in educating other healthcare providers how to effectively care for injured children. Makenzie has 8 years of nursing experience in pediatric emergency and trauma care. She has a BSN in nursing and is currently working towards her Master of Science in Nursing Education.
Mark started his career as a volunteer firefighter in 1986 in Sonoma County. He was hired by the Marin County Fire Department as a Firefighter/Paramedic in 1991 and retired as the Deputy Fire Chief. After serving for nearly 30 years with the Marin County Fire Department, Mark retired to assume the position of Executive Officer for the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority. Mark served on a CAL FIRE Incident Management Team for 15 years as a Type I Operations Section Chief and was qualified as a Type II Incident Commander. Chief Brown was a founding member of the North Bay Incident Management Team, a Type III All-Hazards IMT in the San Francisco Bay Area, and was the Program Manager and one of the Incident Commanders. His deployments include floods, earthquakes, public health emergencies, hurricanes, oil spills, mudslides, civil unrest, wildland fires, and planned events. Mark has a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Studies – Organizational Leadership. He is married and has three adult children.
Matthew Miko joined the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch in 2019 as Director of Academics, Research, and Communications. In this role, he is responsible for the College of Emergency Dispatch, which provides continuing dispatcher education courses for over 60,000 members, Research and Development, and the Journal of Emergency Dispatch. Previously, he spent nine years with Strayer University leading faculty and directing curriculum development. Before joining Strayer, he served as the Chief Legal Counsel for the State of Ohio Civil Rights Commission for over a decade.
Nicole Crosby, a Chief Deputy City Attorney in San Diego, specializes in helping the communities’ vulnerable elders and homeless connect with city and county services. She created and supervises the City’s Gun Violence Response Team, the state model for reducing gun violence in our neighborhoods. Nicole is a former candidate for City Council, before redistricting in 2022, and is currently the President of Clairemont Town Council. Nicole leads change that supports every person in our community with a strong record of professional and community accomplishments that reflect our core values. Nicole is a wife and mother, living in Clairemont, raising a rambunctious five-year-old daughter in the SD Unified School District. Nicole worked as a congressional intern while at UC Davis and earned a law degree from Golden Gate University. As an Assistant District Attorney under then-San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, she focused on protecting the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence. As a prosecutor and Chief Deputy Nicole has earned a reputation as one of California’s strongest and most innovative advocates for criminal justice alternatives and reform. She became the first woman to build and lead the office’s Gun Violence Restraining Order Program, hailed by both the Governor and Attorney General as the State model. She has focused on developing civil solutions against unlicensed institutions that take advantage of seniors and dependent adults. She works to ensure homeless individuals suffering from mental illness and addiction have the shelter and protection they deserve. Nicole serves on her union’s negotiation team, is a current member of the US Attorney’s Project Safe Neighborhoods and served on the SD Unified School District Multi-Agency Task Force. Priorities - Create housing solutions targeting affordability, safety & accessibility. Public safety spending - focus on safer streets; protect families & kids from gun violence & abuse; ensure that our homeless have access to health services/appropriate supportive housing.
PETER M. ANTEVY, MD
Peter M. Antevy, MD is a Pediatric Emergency Medicine (EM) physician practicing in-hospital emergency medical care at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, a level I trauma and tertiary care center in South Florida. Board-certified in pediatrics, emergency medicine and the complex subspecialty of EMS, he is also the founder and chief medical officer of Handtevy - Pediatric Emergency Standards, Inc., and he serves as the Medical Director for Davie Fire- Rescue, Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Rescue, Southwest Ranches Fire Rescue and MCT Express, all in South Florida. Dr. Antevy also serves as Associate Medical Director for several other agencies including Palm Beach County, Florida and he is also the longstanding medical director for two highly-regarded paramedic training programs as well as several mobile integrated healthcare (MIHC) programs in greater Broward County, Florida. Dr. Antevy was recently appointed to serve as the lead pediatric EMS specialist/consultant for the highly-influential Metropolitan EMS Medical Directors Coalition. This highly-cohesive international consortium, known for envelope- pushing education and operational advances in 9-1-1 care, is largely comprised of the jurisdictional, accountable medical directors of the 50 to 60 largest municipalities in the U.S. and Europe as well as several key U.S. federal agencies. In turn, he has been the recipient of many regional, national and international honors and awards including the 2014 Raymond H. Alexander EMS Medical Director of the Year in Florida and the 2015 EMS 10 Innovator of the Year Award from the Journal of Emergency Medical Services. In 2017, he was awarded the prestigious Ron J. Anderson Memorial Award in Dallas, TX, the international public health service accolade bestowed for his far- reaching public health contributions in emergency medical care, particularly for his efforts to improve outcomes for critically ill and injured children. In 2018, Peter was named National Medical Director of the Year by the NAEMT. At the same time, Dr. Antevy remains a grounded, in-the-trenches EMS medical director as exemplified by his recent intrepid on-scene patient care at the Parkland, Florida high school shooting incident and, in turn, his connected follow-up of patients, families and rescuers. A world-class lecturer and training expert, he has become an admired and sought-after educator-speaker for innumerable state and national conferences.
Leveraging leadership and team building skills developed as a scholar-athlete (a boxing champion and All-American water polo player), as an officer and attack pilot in the Army, and from working in many successful businesses and companies, Rob and his team have created a unique and powerful framework for success. For over three decades, whether as CEO of his own companies, or in working with thousands of leader-learners in the military, manufacturing, finance, tech, engineering, the fire service, and many other industries, the AAL team and Rob have repeatedly leveraged this model to inspire trust, build alignment and accelerate performance, using what has been called the last untapped competitive advantage: People. Operating from the belief that the greatest success can be achieved by Inspiring, Empowering and Challenging people, Rob and his team integrate their core values of Character, Empathy, Trust, Ownership and Learning into a developmental framework that promotes collaboration and emotional commitment from all stakeholders. The AAL team combines decades of real-world leadership experience and success. Service Academy graduates (West Point, Annapolis, and Air Force), Navy SEALs, Decorated Combat Commanders, Marines, Aviators, PhDs, as well as senior business leaders, global expedition leaders, fire service Leaders and others, this group knows what it takes to lead and to develop leaders in dynamic, complex environments. It is who we are. It is what we do.
Robin began her nursing career on 1991 at Olive View Medical Center in the Emergency Department. For the past 23 years she worked in the ED at four other hospitals. In 1999 she was hired by Ventura County Fire Department as an Emergency Medical Dispatch QI nurse/trainer and was asked to develop a QI program for the first responders. In 2003, she was given the responsibility of becoming the Designated Infection Control Officer (DICO) for her department. As a new DICO, the sheer mass of regulations, laws and policies for officers was overwhelming. In order to make sense of all this, the DICO course was developed by Susan Hayward from Burbank FD and Robin and was first presented at Cfed 2012. The response was positive from those attending, so the course is being offered again by popular demand.
SHARON NIELSEN WILSON
Sharon Nielsen Wilson, MSQA, BSN, RN, CLSSBB, is an accomplished Performance Improvement Leader with clinical background and has 13 years of experience of leading results-oriented initiatives and programs. In her capacity as the Executive Director for Performance Excellence at CHOC, Sharon is responsible for the organization’s strategic and tactical implementation of the Performance Excellence program. Sharon also oversees Performance Measurement at CHOC. As a performance excellence leader, Sharon has extensive experience in the areas of performance improvement strategies, building capacity and capability for improvement, statistical process control method and change management. Before starting her Performance Excellence journey, Sharon was an advocate for children with special needs, a med/surg nurse, an OR case manager and a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. Sharon received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Certificate and Master of Science in Quality Assurance with California State Univ., Dominguez Hills. She is a Juran Institute/Kaiser Permanente certified lean six sigma black belt and a certified Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM) instructor.
SHIRA SCHLESINGER, MD
Dr. Shira Schlesinger is the Director of EMS & Disaster Preparedness at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in south Los Angeles, Associate Fellowship Director for the Harbor-UCLA/LA County EMS Fellowship, and Medical Director for the South Bay Disaster Resource Center and for the Newport Beach Fire Department. She provides medical advisement and education in EMS and disaster preparedness to community members and to prehospital and hospital personnel from EMTs through physicians. Dr. Schlesinger sits on several advisory and regulatory committees, sharing her passion for prehospital care and preparedness with others. She is the Vice Chair of the California EMS for Children Technical Advisory Committee, a member of the EMS Committee of the American College of Emergency Physicians and member of the Executive Committee of the Council of Accreditation of EMS Programs. Dr. Schlesinger is dedicated to advancing prehospital and hospital care in the context of overall public health, to bolster community empowerment vis a vis the healthcare system with the belief that such empowerment will improve health outcomes of patients and families in these communities. In pursuit of this goal, she lectures extensively on topics at the interface of EMS, Disaster Preparedness, and Public Health.
TABITHA CHENG, MS
Dr. Tabitha Cheng attended UCLA for undergraduate studies in Chemical engineering, working simultaneously as an EMT in Inglewood transporting for LA County Fire and then for UCLA’s campus ambulance from 2004 to 2011. She graduated medical school from the UCLA/Charles Drew University PRIME Program and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society. Dr. Cheng completed her Emergency Medicine residency training at UCLA, graduating as chief resident in 2018. Then she completed an EMS fellowship in 2019 at UCSD and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship in 2022 at Harbor-UCLA. Dr. Cheng is currently a faculty member in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Harbor-UCLA. She is the Associate Medical Director of the UCLA Center for Prehospital Care and Burbank Fire Department's Medical Director. Dr. Cheng is an active member of the California EMS for Children technical advisory committee, the National Prehospital Pediatric Readiness Steering Committee, the Knowledge Management and Prehospital Domain of the EMS for Children Innovation and Improvement Center, and the NEMSIS pediatric dashboard technical advisory committee.
Tyler McCulloch, MSN, RN, MICN is the current President-Elect for California Emergency Nurses Association. He has served as Inland Empire Chapter president for the last 6 years. He is a clinical supervisor at Southwest Inland Valley Hospital, in Wildomar, CA. Over the past 5 years he has grown to love event medicine, where he has worked music festivals with over 80,000 attendees. Tyler holds a master’s degree in nursing which he finished in 2020. He frequents the States Capitol as an advocate for Emergency Nurses across the state.
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