Dr. Ernest named state EMS medical director

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | February 18, 2016

Image with caption: Eric Ernest, M.D.

Eric Ernest, M.D.

UNMC's Eric Ernest, M.D., has been named the medical director of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services' emergency medical services program.

One of a kind

Dr. Ernest recently passed the American Board of Medical Specialties EMS subspecialty exam and is now dual board-certified in both emergency medicine and emergency medical services. This makes him currently the only fellowship-trained EMS-board certified physician in the state of Nebraska.

An assistant professor of emergency medicine at UNMC, Dr. Ernest practiced as a paramedic for three years and has a bachelor's degree in EMS. Following his residency at UNMC in emergency medicine, he was an EMS fellow at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., before returning to UNMC.

"Having worked as a paramedic, I can incorporate a lot of that experience into the role of the medical director and be able to relate to the nuances and intricacies of delivering care in the pre-hospital environment," he said. "Conversely, I can take the innovations and developments in the field of emergency medicine and translate those to the pre-hospital arena as well."

Dr. Ernest already was serving as medical director for several agencies, including the Bellevue Fire Department, Sarpy County dispatch, Cass County Emergency Management Agency, and as assistant medical director for the Omaha Fire Department. All of which gives him insight into the challenges of both rural and urban pre-hospital medicine as he takes the statewide position.

Read a Bellevue Leader story on Dr. Ernest.

"The goal of bringing a certain level of expertise into more rural areas is exciting," he said. "For instance, the goal in cardiac care when someone is having a heart attack is to get them to a cardiac catheterization lab within 90 minutes. Sometimes you can struggle to do that in an urban area. In Cass County recently, we actually had a time of 78 minutes, which is phenomenal for a rural area."

Dr. Ernest will work with stakeholders throughout the state to improve Nebraska's EMS system. His role at UNMC will not change.

"We will work with our stakeholders within the health care system to examine how we tackle rural and urban EMS issues and develop models to meet those challenges."

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Marc and Julie Ernest
February 18, 2016 at 9:28 AM

Our warmest congratulations Dr. Ernest!

Patti Carstens
February 18, 2016 at 8:08 AM

Congratulations!