2004 National Heroes Awards Recipients

Lou Romig, MD
2004 EMSC Provider Leadership Award

Lou Romig, MD is an emergency department attending physician at Miami Children's Hospital; the medical advisor to the Miami Dade Fire Rescue Department; the medical director for the South Florida Regional Disaster Medical Assistance Team; and the medical director for the Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, and Fort Jefferson.

Dr. Romig is a nationally-recognized speaker and author, specializing in Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) issues and pediatric aspects of disaster medicine. She is the owner/director of Team Life Support Inc., a company dedicated to serving the needs of children and EMS professionals in the out-of-hospital environment.

In 1995, Dr. Romig gave to the EMS community one of its most important training programs to emerge in the last decade, the JumpSTART triage tool. JumpSTART aims to save pediatric lives during a multiple casualty incident. The tool parallels the START system, developed by the Newport Beach Fire and Marine Department and Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, CA, but utilizes decision points appropriate to the wide variations of normal physiology within the pediatric age group.

JumpSTART is now in widespread use throughout the U.S. and Canada and actively advancing around the world. French, Spanish, and Japanese translations of the algorithms are available for download from the JumpSTART web site. It is published in Brady's new "Prehospital Emergency Care" and the newly revised Advanced Pediatric Life Support (APLS) course developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Dr. Romig is a health care provider, an educator, and a proven leader. In his nomination letter, Lieutenant Eddy Ballester described Dr. Romig as, “the type of person and physician for which a template should be formed to assure that others follow her lead.”

Elizabeth Edgerton, MD
2004 Outstanding EMSC Research Project Award

"Not All Child Safety Seats Are Created Equal: The Potential Dangers of Shield Booster Seats."

Elizabeth Edgerton, MD's study provides information about the increased risk of injury associated with shield booster seats when compared with forward-facing child safety seats. Previous studies indicated that children are often transitioned to shield booster seats before reaching the 40-pound weight limit for their forward-facing safety seat.

This study hopes to reverse this dangerous trend. It found that children in shield booster sheets had nearly eight times the odds of being seriously injured compared with children in forward facing safety seats. Hospital stays and acute care charges tended to be much higher among children in shield booster seats. Furthermore, children in shield booster shields had five times the odds of being admitted to the intensive care unit and 16 times the odds of being hospitalized for more than two days. Children in shield boosters also had four times the odds of sustaining a head injury and 29 times the odds of sustaining a chest injury.

Dr. Edgerton's study was published in the March 2004 issue of Pediatrics. It, in addition to the 20 articles and book chapters Dr. Edgerton has in publication, led to her recent selection as director of the Department of Health and Human Services' U.S. Prevention Task Force.

Dr. Edgerton received her medical degree from Wayne State University Medical School in Detroit, MI, completed her pediatric residency at HARBOR-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, CA, and received a Master's in Public Health from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Cyndy Wright-Johnson
2004 EMSC Project Coordinator of Distinction Award

Since 1993, Cyndy Wright-Johnson has served as the program director for the EMSC program at the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) in Baltimore, MD. She is recognized at both state and national levels as an expert in the EMS delivery of pediatric emergency care. Since 1993, Ms. Wright-Johnson has been awarded more than $1.2 million in grants on which she served as the project director or principal investigator. In 2001, under her leadership, the state of Maryland's EMSC program received the "EMSC State Achievement Award."

Cyndy has built and continuously supports a network of EMSC programs, one in each of Maryland's five regions. In addition, she has provided guidance and leadership to the eight states of the Mid-Atlantic EMSC Region. Under her initiative, MIEMSS has formally recognized the Pediatric Emergency Medical Advisory Committee, which consults with the agency on all pediatric issues.

Hundreds of EMS providers in Maryland have benefited from the continuing education programs she has organized and instructed through the EMSC program. More than half of these programs have occurred in the evenings or on weekends.

Petra Menzel
2004 EMSC Project Coordinator of Distinction Award

Since 1999, Petra Menzel has made a huge and positive difference in Virginia's EMSC program, first serving as its program coordinator and then as its program director. Under her leadership, she has secured more than $1 million in grant funds. She is the EMSC liaison with the Virginia Office of EMS and Virginia's eleven regional EMS councils. She is a member of the state's EMS Symposium Planning Committee, the Virginia Disaster Response Committee, and the KIDS Count in Virginia Advisory Committee.

As a member of the School Nurse Institute Partnership, Petra has enhanced school health by helping the Partnership to conduct "Managing School Emergencies" training programs. These programs have reached an estimated 500 school nurses. She also has surveyed all public schools to determine their emergency and disaster preparedness levels and identified areas needing improvement. These survey results were distributed to legislators during the 2002 Virginia General Assembly to justify funding support for enhanced emergency preparedness.

Petra has mentored masters of public health students and with them created a web-based data report that identifies top causes of pediatric morbidity and mortality in each of Virginia's EMS regions. In addition, she collaborated with the Virginia Office of EMS on three EMS satellite training videos regarding children's injuries. In 2003, Petra was recognized by then-Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore with the "Governor's Award for Outstanding Contributions to EMS for Children."

Cynthiana Lightfoot
2004 EMSC Family Member Volunteer of the Year

Cynthiana Lightfoot has served as the parent representative for the District of Columbia's EMSC State Partnership Grant since its inception in 1998. The former elementary school teacher began her volunteer work at Children's National Medical Center in 1990, and continues to devote time to the pediatric patients currently staying in that facility.

During the last 14 years, however, Ms. Lightfoot has significantly expanded her role in regards to sick and injured children. She is currently a registered paramedic who rides with DC Fire and EMS; an instructor for EMT-Basic and EMT-Intermediate courses at Children’s National; and a certified teacher for some of the most sought after programs in pediatric pre-hospital education, including Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Pediatric Education for Pre-hospital Professionals, and Special Children's Outreach and Pre-hospital Education.

Cynthiana also is a respected child health care advocate. She has attended several EMSC grantee meetings and the most recent National Congress on Childhood Emergencies. She is the chair of the Community Advisory Board for the Chesapeake Applied Research Network for EMSC, a member of the Center for Pre-hospital Pediatrics' Healthcare Disparities Committee, and a representative of the City Council where she is currently advocating for the development of a trauma plan.

She is relentless and successful in her endeavors to fund and sustain the DC’s EMSC efforts. She has lobbied the DC government for appropriate funding to properly train DC Fire and EMS providers in pediatric care, and helped pushed for legislation regarding Do Not Resuscitate orders and the availability of and education for automatic external defibrillators.

Her passion for pediatric care goes beyond being a healthcare provider, educator, and advocate. Cynthiana also aids the DC community directly through her work as a child car seat technician, educating families in the proper installation of car seats.

EMSC Technical Advisory Committee, Sacramento, CA
2004 EMSC Community Partnership Award

The EMSC Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) was established in 1991 when the California EMS Authority received its first EMSC Targeted Issues Grant. At the time, its primary purpose was to help the EMS Authority develop a comprehensive set of guidelines to help local EMS medical directors and administrators implement pediatric-specific components within local and regional EMS systems. Thanks to their vision, knowledge, and organizational skills, TAC members succeeded in developing the "EMSC Model" in only two years and released the guidelines to the public in April 1995. In 1996, as part of a second EMSC grant, TAC members assisted the California EMS Authority by providing consultation visits to counties and regions, encouraging them to implement the EMSC Model guidelines. TAC members also organized and chaired workshops, secured speakers, and presented the latest pediatric information at meetings and symposiums throughout the state. Through their tireless efforts, the EMSC Model is now available nationwide to assist other states in developing EMSC systems.

The committee continues to meet quarterly and provides technical assistance to local EMS agencies, develops and distributes guidance documents, coordinates the Annual EMSC Conference, provides expert testimony to state officials, urges legislators to retain EMSC funding, and furthers the goals and objectives of the EMSC Program through educational and outreach activities.

TAC is composed of a variety of professionals in the pediatric field, including physicians specializing in emergency medicine, critical care, surgery, and anesthesiology; emergency and critical care nurses; EMS administrators and medical directors; pre-hospital personnel; and a family advocate. Members each have their own very busy schedules but have volunteered an estimated 15,000 hours to advance EMSC issues throughout the state.

Thanks to the tireless work of TAC members, EMSC was formally recognized with the enactment of the California Emergency Medical Services for Children Act in 1996. TAC is now a standing subcommittee of the California EMS Commission and is recognized in the Commission bylaw. TAC is also credited with institutionalizing EMSC in 47 of the 58 California counties.