Meet Chief Medical Director Dr. Nick Simpson
To the communities whom we serve:
On August 31, 2020, I was appointed Chief Medical Director at Hennepin EMS. This is a tremendous honor and a privilege. Hennepin EMS is an organization whose history dates back to 1894. We take pride in providing patient care over 266 square miles, 14 municipalities, and to a population that surges to nearly 1.5 million people.
I recognize that Hennepin EMS carries the great responsibility of providing care to people with many unique backgrounds and in many different settings within our service area. We do not take this duty lightly.
The multi-faceted diversity across our service area is one of the things that makes Hennepin EMS unique. In fact, this is one of the things which draws many people to work at our service. Members of the various communities that we serve have different beliefs, perspectives, strengths, and challenges. We acknowledge that there exist clear inequities in these communities that affect essentially every aspect of our patients’ lives. It is no secret that these vast systemic injustices are also borne out in health disparities. We are committed to reshaping our own systems in an effort to reduce these injustices. Hennepin EMS is resolved to break down barriers and improve dialogue. The steps we are taking lead us toward a more equitable future.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “The future depends on what you do in the present.”
Since starting in this role, I have had numerous discussions with community leaders, community members, patients, students, administrators and other healthcare professionals. Hennepin EMS is committed to listening to feedback and to constant improvement. As such, we are actively trying to learn more about how we can best provide for you and your loved ones. Hennepin EMS has implemented ongoing specific training around the historical trauma affecting our communities. We have partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and provided specific training to better understanding mental health crises. Additionally, we have instituted Implicit Bias training for all EMS personnel. We are finalizing developments to modify our uniforms as well as establishing a formal EMS specific advisory group. Furthermore, Hennepin Healthcare as a whole has undergone extensive review of the research infrastructure from several outside agencies.
I have heard concerns from many of you. I want to state clearly that Hennepin EMS only administers medical therapies for medical reasons. This includes the medication Ketamine. At Hennepin EMS, we perform a mandatory review of every encounter involving the use of a sedative medication so that we may apply any lessons learned to future education, training, and protocols.
It is disheartening to hear that some would hesitate to call 911 in a time of need out of fear. We appreciate that when someone calls 911, it very well may be one of the worst days of their life. These interactions are frequently shrouded in fear and uncertainty. Calling for help is not something that should instill further apprehension, so we are taking steps to reduce this. It is an honor to serve our communities and it is with great humility that we respond to those in times of need.
We are also committed to our staff. It is an unfortunate reality that our personnel experience trauma and tragedy on a daily basis. The adversity that is encountered by Hennepin EMS is extraordinary. The only thing more impressive is their courage, compassion, and resilience. Despite this, all public safety personnel are at higher risk to express that burden of trauma in the form of suicide. Therefore, the mental health and wellness of our people is a priority. Hennepin EMS is expanding the support network and options for our personnel.
I am committed to doing my part to continually improve patient care, medication and equipment standards, education, training, and community engagement. I plan to pursue those efforts using data-driven methods including evidence-based medicine & best practices.
Most of all, I want our communities to know that if you are ever in a situation where you need emergency help – you are encouraged to call 911. You can expect that Hennepin EMS will answer that call swiftly and compassionately while providing exceptional medical care. I am excited about what the future holds for Hennepin EMS and our communities together.
Nick Simpson, MD FACEP FAEMS
Chief Medical Director, Hennepin EMS