The Rapidian

GRPS, Life EMS Ambulance, and Spectrum Health Announce New EMT Course Offering

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Grand Rapids Public Schools announced a new partnership with Life EMS Ambulance and Spectrum Health designed to offer an EMT course to high school seniors beginning this fall.
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Donovan Cummings, an incoming 9th grade student, spoke to the media about the student benefits of the

Donovan Cummings, an incoming 9th grade student, spoke to the media about the student benefits of the /Tracy Gershon/GRPS

On June 28, 2011, Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) announced a new partnership with Life EMS Ambulance and Spectrum Health designed to offer an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course to high school seniors beginning this fall.

Graduates of the two-semester course will be eligible to become fully licensed EMTs, a position that is often a springboard to a high-demand paramedic career or other areas of healthcare.

“This is an exciting collaboration that only bolsters our health science offerings and our school-to-work pathways of learning,” said Dr. Bernard Taylor Jr., Superintendent of schools. “When the first students graduate from the program in 2012, up to 30 high school seniors will be fully certified EMTs, ready to begin a rewarding career in pre-hospital care. We hope those graduates choose to provide that expert care right here in our community.”

The cost of the course, including student uniforms and textbooks, is being funded by a grant from Spectrum Health.

Donovan Cummings, an incoming 9th grade student in the School of Health, Science, & Technology (HST), expressed the value which this new partnership provides for students like himself. With dreams of someday becoming an orthopedic surgeon, Donovan put a lot of thought into his high school decision and ultimately decided that the School of Health Science and Technology was the best place for him.

“I did a lot of research before choosing which high school I wanted to attend,” he said. “Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids, those school districts offer a wide range of classes. But they don’t have a medical program like they have here.”

“After graduation I would like to attend an Ivy League school like Harvard or Yale. From there I plan to go on to Medical School and continue my dream of becoming an orthopedic surgeon,” said Donovan. “But, it all has to start somewhere: for me the journey begins in the HST program.“

Donovan is just one of many students who have chosen to enroll in the HST program in an effort to successfully place themselves in an important medical career. GRPS, Spectrum Health, and Life EMS Ambulance collectively look forward to the HST program’s continued growth in the years to come.

The course will be taught by an instructor from Life EMS Ambulance’s Education Centre and a GRPS staff member. Students will receive instruction in the Health Career lab located within the School of Health, Science and Technology, a new Center of Innovation located on the Central High campus. Students will also have access to hands-on clinical training with Life EMS Ambulance and hospitals in the Grand Rapids area.

“Any time we can help strengthen the talent base of our community, we heighten the quality of life and development of the region,” said Mark Meijer, president of Life EMS Ambulance.

Meijer, a graduate of Creston High School, began exploring a medical career during his senior year of high school working for a local ambulance company. A few years later, Meijer founded Life EMS Ambulance which today has approximately 350 employees and serves an eight-county area encompassing over 3,500 square miles of West Michigan.

“Part of strengthening the talent base is making diversity a focus,” said Meijer. “Partnering with the GRPS allows us to ensure the paramedic career path is accessible to anyone who is interested,” he said.

This program is modeled after a similar partnership at Grandville High School, an innovative collaboration spanning more than a decade.

“This is a win-win for students and the community,” said Shawn Ulreich, BSN, MSN, Vice President of Patient Services with the Spectrum Health Hospital Group. “We believe it’s a wonderful model of community collaboration at its finest. EMTs are a vital part of the health care system. We are proud to be part of such an important program.”

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