2005 National Heroes Awards Recipients


Robert Wiebe, MD
2005 EMSC Lifetime Achievement Award

This award is given to an individual who is a national advocate for Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC), and who has devoted a significant part of his or her life to promoting and advancing pediatric emergency care. This individual must have worked to change the manner in which we care for children throughout the entire continuum of care, be on numerous committees and boards at the state and national levels, and have EMSC-related works published in journals, textbooks, and/or other publications

Rober Wiebe, MD, has promoted the emergency needs of children over a long and very productive career.

At the national level he sits on the Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine (COPEM) for both the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the latter of which he served as chair for four years. He served on the AAP’s Pediatric Education for Prehospital Professionals Steering Committee and Advanced Pediatric Life Support (APLS) Joint Task Force. He currently is a member of the AAP’s Committee on Continuing Medical Education.

To have served so many is an astounding contribution and tribute to Dr. Wiebe’s dedication and inability to say no when his talent and experience are needed to improve the lives of children.

Dr. Wiebe has been very influential in EMSC initiatives regarding office preparedness for primary caretakers. He patiently worked for years on the preparation of the ACEP/AAP joint statement on the Care of the Child in the Emergency Department: Guidelines for Preparedness. This breakthrough document will have long-term, far-reaching effects on the emergency care of children throughout the country.

He also worked on the AAP/ACEP Emergency Information Form and many other documents regarding children with special health care needs. He spearheaded the concept and organization of a national meeting for AAP COPEM chairs, which for the first time brought representatives of 50 states together with the sole purpose of improving EMSC.

Dr. Wiebe has served as the principle investigator or co-investigator on five EMSC Targeted Issue grants. He has also mentored many young investigators through the process of getting their first EMSC grants.

Dr. Wiebe is an extraordinary EMSC educator who has delivered numerous lectures on EMSC, and has authored more than 50 journal articles and 16 books or chapters.

Dr. Wiebe has made an impact on all areas of emergency care, from the EMT to office providers and emergency physicians.

Dr. Wiebe’s legacy to EMSC is that of a leader who never sought the personal spotlight but quietly persevered to increase public attention and evoke coordinated action at the highest national levels on the behalf of children.

Sue Hohenhaus
2005 EMSC Project Coordinator of Distinction Award

This award honors a person that has a comprehensive understanding of his or her state’s EMSC-related issues, and has successfully integrated EMSC into state EMS programs for the long term. In addition, the recipient of this award must have excelled at collaborating with other organizations and developed an EMSC state program or product that serves as a model for the nation.

For five years, Sue Hohenhaus served as the EMSC state coordinator for the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services. Through her dedicated efforts, Sue has improved the knowledge of the public and providers on critical pediatric issues, advocated for a seamless inclusion of EMSC into emergency care systems, and assisted in the creation of many well-known and widely-used products, including Office Preparedness for Pediatric Emergencies, the North Carolina-Tennessee Pediatric Advanced Life Support Course, and the Pediatric Mass Casualty Incident Guidelines, to name a few.

While with the North Carolina Office of EMS, Sue made herself well-known on the “frontline.” She traveled the state, visiting hospitals and EMS stations, and often running calls with the EMS crews. Her dedicated efforts helped providers to "buy" into the EMSC initiatives she spearheaded.

In addition to targeting frontline workers, Sue understands the importance of educating and securing the support of other key collaborators involved in the continuum of care, including doctors, nurses, and injury prevention specialists. Sue is described as "having the ability to connect with people where they are, whether it is a parent in the emergency department or an EMS provider on the scene or a potential funder in a corporate board room."

Sue also has a special interest and expertise in pediatric safety, and her work as the project coordinator for the EMSC Enhancing Pediatric Patient Safety Grant at Duke University is setting the national standards in this new and critical area. In addition, Sue co-wrote the new safety portions for the forthcoming PEPP Course, a program that is intended to establish safety principles for more than one million BLS and ALS pre-hospital professionals.

Beth MacDonald
2005 EMSC Family Member Volunteer of the Year

This award is given to a family member who has provided exemplary service that has made a significant positive impact on addressing the emergency medical needs of the children in his or her community.

For the past 12 years, Beth MacDonald has served as a parent leader and as a tremendous resource to Delaware’s young children and their families. Her volunteer activities include: parent representative of the Delaware EMSC program; state coordinator and regional representative of Family Voices; chair of the Medicaid Managed Care Panel; chair of the Interagency Coordinating Council, the governor-appointed advisory council for the Birth to Three Early Intervention System. In addition, she volunteers with the Delawareans with Special Needs organization, the Coordinating Council for Children with Disabilities, and the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Subcommittee on Medical Homes and works with Partners in Policy, a leadership training program for adults with disabilities and parents of young children with developmental disabilities.

As a parent of a child who is ventilator-dependent, Beth’s passion is to make life better for children with special health care needs and their families. Her most noted EMSC accomplishment is the useful guidance she provided in the development of the Special Needs Alert Program. Her thoughtful insight has greatly improved the program, making it much more user-friendly and family-centered. Beth works constantly to promote the Special Needs Alert Program at home, at work, at schools, and to paramedics throughout the state.

Nels Sanddal
2005 EMSC Provider Leadership Award

The EMSC Provider Leadership Award recognizes a clinically-based health professional who has dedicated his or her time, talent, and energy to achieve the highest level of care for children in the community. This individual has helped assure the best possible care for sick and injured kids, and provides leadership in addressing priority EMSC issues.

In her nomination form, Mary Jean Erschen describes Nels as “a living legend to the EMSC community.” The number of children’s lives that Nels has touched throughout the years is too numerous to count. He has always been very willing to serve children in any way that is asked of him.

He has consistently been a role model and mentor to many professionals in the EMSC community, including state coordinators, regional advocates, and federal and national leaders.

In addition to his work as an EMS instructor, Nels has led or assisted in the design and development of numerous EMSC projects, including those that have received national recognition. His claim to fame in the EMSC world is his work in developing the Intermountain Regional EMSC Coordinating Council. His efforts through the council have led to many successful regional initiatives to improve the systems of emergency care for our children.

Since 1993, he has served as an advisor, director, or lead investigator for eleven pediatric-related grants and contracts. His most current project is to develop an interactive CD-ROM for prehospital care providers based on the pediatric triage program JumpSTART.

Nels is a nationally-recognized speaker and author, specializing in pediatric EMS issues, children with special health care needs, and suicide.

Leslee Stein-Spenser
2005 State EMSC Policymaker of Distinction Award

The State EMSC Policymaker of Distinction Award honors an individual who has been a state public official within the past five years; has advanced state legislation promoting EMSC programs or related measures; and has a statewide, regional, or national reputation for safeguarding the health and well-being of children.

For 18 years, Leslee Stein-Spencer served as chief of the Division of EMS and Highway Safety for the Illinois Department of Public Health. During this time she worked tirelessly to develop the Illinois EMS system as well as its trauma and disaster preparedness programs. In 1994, after long recognizing the need for pediatric preparedness, Leslee pushed for and succeeded in obtaining initial EMSC funding.

Throughout the years, Leslee’s support, guidance, and political skills were incredibly helpful in navigating the Illinois EMSC program through multiple hurdles and challenges. Due to her leadership and vision, she worked to establish a state EMSC Advisory Board, mandate prehospital pediatric protocols and equipment and supplies, establish EMT pediatric educational requirements and launched a very challenging pediatric facility recognition process, among others.

Through her efforts, a dedicated EMSC manager position was secured within the Illinois Department of Public Health in 1999. Most recently, she allocated funds to support a pediatric disaster preparedness coordinator. She also took the extra effort to assure that the interests of children were represented on all terrorism task force committees.

Although Leslee worked at the administrative level, she never forgot or lost touch with the first responders. During her tenure as chief, she also worked as a nurse in a local emergency department several evenings a month. It was her way of connecting with and understanding the needs and issues of frontline personnel.

Leslee faithfully attended the Annual EMSC Grantee Meetings, serving as a presenter on several occasions; volunteered her time as an EMSC grant reviewer; and advocated EMSC issues through the National Association of State EMS Directors.

Nebraska-Iowa Kiwanis Foundation
2005 EMSC Community Partnership of Excellence Award

The EMSC Community Partnership of Excellence Award recognizes an organization that has taken a leadership role in, and made significant contribution to, improving emergency care for children and their families. In addition, the recipient of this award must demonstrate an ability to work collaboratively with a state EMSC program to improve pediatric emergency care in one or more states.

Since 2000, the Nebraska-Iowa Kiwanis Foundation has partnered with the EMSC program to provide needed basic-level pediatric equipment and education to EMS services located in Nebraska and Iowa. Each year since then, community-based Kiwanis clubs, matched by Foundation funds, have been able to distribute needed pediatric equipment to EMS services. To date, more than 400 services in Iowa and Nebraska have received the valuable gift of equipment, and another 100 services are scheduled to receive basic-level equipment and education in the near future.

But the generosity didn’t stop within the Heartland. When the Foundation’s Milford Hanna and Jim Underwood heard that the territory of Samoa needed the same resources that were used by Nebraska and Iowa EMS personnel, they once again stepped up to the plate and made it possible for the Nebraska and Iowa EMSC programs to present Samoa with the first of six pediatric equipment bags.

In her nomination letter, Katrina Altenhofen stated: "No where in our wildest dreams did we think that a ‘10-minute’ speech on EMSC and the needs of EMS would lead to this collaboration."

"These two gentlemen have served as the backbone . . . to bring these wonderful resources to the volunteer EMS community."

Partners for Child Passenger Safety Research Team
2005 Outstanding EMSC Research Project Award

This award highlights an individual or team who has completed a significant EMSC-related research study that confirms current practice or has the potential to impact the provision of pediatric emergency care at a national or international level. The project’s research findings must also have been published within the past 15 months.

This year’s winning research project is the Partners for Child Passenger Safety research team based at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Through the unique collaboration known as Partners for Child Passenger Safety or PCPS, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company address the fact that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and disability in children older than one year in the United States.

PCPS is the first academic-corporate partnership that conducts surveillance on children in crashes to determine how and why children are injured or killed. The multidisciplinary team of scientists at PCPS is dedicated to preventing child injuries and improving pediatric emergency care through understanding the occurrence and mechanisms of child passenger injury.

PCPS created the first national child-specific crash surveillance system. This system provides the highway safety community with a nationally-representative database on children in car crashes.

PCPS findings have been published in numerous peer-review journals. In 2004 alone, two PCPS studies were published. The first, “Recent Trends In Child Restraint Practices In the United States,” appeared in Pediatrics. Later, “Optimal Restraint Reduces the Risk of Abdominal Injury In Children Involved In Motor Vehicle Crashes” appeared in Annals of Surgery.

PCPS created and launched a new educational resource for educators, parents, and caregivers on the Children’s Hospital web site. The site provides user-friendly child passenger safety information in both English and Spanish, including videos on correct child safety seat installation.

PCPS research findings have helped advance the use of child restraints, understanding of child injury mechanisms, and legislative reform. Twenty-eight state and two federal laws, providing both new and improved child passenger safety legislation, are now in place thanks in part to PCPS efforts to provide solid scientific evidence regarding children in crashes.