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Essential Principles to Create an Equitable, Inclusive, and Diverse EMS Workforce and Work Environment: A Position Statement and Resource Document

Prehosp Emerg Care. 2023 Mar 3:1-10. doi: 10.1080/10903127.2023.2187103. Online ahead of print.


Position StatementEmergency medical services (EMS), similar to all aspects of health care systems, can play a vital role in examining and reducing health disparities through educational, operational, and quality improvement interventions. Public health statistics and existing research highlight that patients of certain socioeconomic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, and race/ethnicity are disproportionately affected with respect to morbidity and mortality for acute medical conditions and multiple disease processes, leading to health disparities and inequities. With regard to care delivery by EMS, research demonstrates that the current attributes of EMS systems may further contribute to these inequities, such as documented health disparities existing in EMS patient care management, and access along with EMS workforce composition not being representative of the communities served influencing implicit bias. EMS clinicians need to understand the definitions, historical context, and circumstances surrounding health disparities, health care inequities, and social determinants of health in order to reduce health care disparities and promote care equity. This position statement focuses on systemic racism and health disparities in EMS patient care and systems by providing multifaceted next steps and priorities to address these disparities and workforce development. NAEMSP believes that EMS systems should:Adopt a multifactorial approach to workforce diversity implemented at all levels within EMS agencies.Hire more diverse workforce by intentionally recruiting from marginalized communitiesIncrease EMS career pathway and mentorship programs within underrepresented minorities (URM) communities and URM-predominant schools starting at a young age to promote EMS as an achievable profession.Examine policies that promote systemic racism and revise policies, procedures, and rules to promote a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment.Involve EMS clinicians in community engagement and outreach activities to promote health literacy, trustworthiness, and education.Require EMS advisory boards whose composition reflects the communities they serve and regularly audit membership to ensure inclusion.Increase knowledge and self-awareness of implicit/unconscious bias and acts of microaggression through established educational and training programs (i.e., anti- racism, upstander, and allyship) such that individuals recognize and mitigate their own biases and can act as allies.Redesign structure, content, and classroom materials within EMS clinician training programs to enhance cultural sensitivity, humility, and competency and to meet career development, career planning, and mentoring needs, particularly of URM EMS clinicians and trainees.Discuss cultural views that affect health care and medical treatment and the effects of social determinants of health on care access and outcomes during all aspects of training.Design research and quality improvement initiatives related to health disparities in EMS that are focused on racial/ethnic and gender inequities and include URM community leaders as essential stakeholders involved in all stages of research development and implementation.

PMID:36867425 | DOI:10.1080/10903127.2023.2187103

By Nevin Manimala

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