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DHS news release

Feb. 6, 2008

General contact: Bonnie Widerburg, 971-673-1282
Program contact: Ritu Sahni, 971-673-0522

Oregon emergency medical services physician named to national advisory committee

Oregon's EMS medical director has been appointed to a new national committee that will advise the federal government on emergency medical services issues.

Ritu Sahni, M.D., M.P.H., will serve a two-year term as a member of the National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC), a newly formed advisory body to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA coordinates emergency medical service activities at the federal level and has as its goal improving the performance of EMS systems nationwide.

"It's an honor to be named to the advisory council and have a voice in shaping NHTSA policies and funding," said Sahni. "This is also an opportunity to further link Oregon EMS to national activities and resources, and to help us again become leaders in state EMS systems."

Sahni is medical director of state Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Systems in the Oregon Department of Human Services. He also is Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University and serves as medical director of the Lake Oswego Fire Department.

Sahni is one of five physicians appointed to the 26-member board who represent diverse EMS agencies and the consumer perspective. Another Oregonian, Kyle Gorman, executive officer of Clackamas County Fire District No. 1 also was appointed to NEMSAC.

Among issues NEMSAC will consider during the next two years are:

  • A national EMS needs assessment and strategic planning;
  • EMS standards, guidelines, benchmarks and data collection development;
  • Methods to improve community-based emergency medical services;
  • Strategies to strengthen EMS systems, such as workforce development, education, training, exercises, equipment and medical oversight;
  • Improved coordination and support of EMS activities among federal programs; and
  • Other issues or topics as determined by NHTSA and NEMSA.

NEMSAC provides a formal, ongoing way to gather information from a knowledgeable and independent perspective. Members meet at least twice a year in meetings open to the general public.