SBVAC members conduct training in a mock call scenario, which includes transportation to the hospital. (PHOTO CREDIT: STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY)
SBVAC members conduct training in a mock call scenario, which includes transportation to the hospital. (PHOTO CREDIT: STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY)

Twelve active members of the Stony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps (SBVAC) attended the 20th Annual National Collegiate EMS Foundation conference that was held in Washington, D.C., from Feb. 22-24.  At this conference, SBVAC was presented with the National Collegiate EMS Foundation’s (NCEMSF) Organization of the Year.

“We are very honored to receive national recognition,” Daniel Wolbrom, chief of operations at SBVAC, said.  “We continue to provide the highest quality of pre-hospital medicine on a daily basis, and our members are honored for being recognized.”

This three-day conference included an EMS skills competition and more than 100 lectures given by medical, EMS, public health and government experts, according to Wolbrom.

“I personally attended many lectures, and found them to be highly educational,” Wolbrom said. “My 11 fellow members also feel the same way, and we hope to use the knowledge we gained at the conference to share with our members who were not in attendance.”

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SBVAC is a 90-member, student-led volunteer emergency response unit that primarily serves the Stony Brook University Campus. Since its founding in 1970, SBVAC has grown into a collegiate EMS agency that provides a high standard of emergency response to Stony Brook and its surrounding communities.

The team of volunteer students responded to almost 1,300 calls last year.  SBVAC assists more than 8,000 residents on campus and a community that includes an average of 30,000 people.

This response unit is trained for every type of emergency, from abdominal pain to cardiac arrest, and is prepared to administer the highest level of pre-hospital medicine.

“Many people assume because we are student-run and based on a college campus we do not treat serious incidents, which is false. On a large campus with tens of thousands of people, we treat patients with every type of illness or injury, and take what we do seriously,” Wolbrom said.  “We are frequently faced with having to make life-affecting decisions, and do so knowing we are very well trained and prepared.”

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This award came at a timely manner for the members of SBVAC, who have faced many challenging calls in the past few months with events such as Superstorm Sandy and Winter Storm Nemo, which both hit the Stony Brook community hard.

SBVAC was selected for this award from more than 100 collegiate EMS organizations across the nation.

“It is a great honor for us to receive this award,” SBVAC President and a Stony Brook University senior double-majoring in sociology and women’s studies, Frankie Rivera, said. “We have tried to provide the best care that we can despite the major weather storms we have had in the past year. It means a lot to the members who braved both storms and made themselves available to serve the campus.”

Wolbrom explained that SBVAC has had a lot of success over the past 43 years.  This can be seen through the increase in application rates, call volume, record-low response times and the improvement in patient care and equipment.

Along with the 12 members of SBVAC that were in attendance at the National Collegiate EMS Foundation conference, Joshua Moskovitz, MD, MPH, ex-chief and lifetime member of SBVAC, also joined the students.

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Dr. Moskovitz, who is currently an emergency medicine physician at North Shore University Hospital, was also recognized at the NCEMSF conference, receiving the President George J. Koenig Jr., DO, Service Award.

According to a press release from SBU, “previously, SBVAC received the ‘Striving for Excellence’ Award at the 2001 NCEMSF annual conference; the Suffolk County EMS Agency of the Year Award (2002); the New York State EMS Agency of the Year Award (2003) by the New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Emergency Services; and a first-place finish at the 2011 NCEMSF Advanced Life Support Skills Competition.”

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