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By Raphael M. Barishansky, MPH, & Skip Kirkwood, MS, JD, EMT-P, EFO, CMO The leaders of tomorrow will need a lot of advanced knowledge and the tools to solve a range of problems In the May issue, we looked at the importance of four-year college degrees for EMS professionals. This article examines the next step—advanced degrees—for those looking to move up in the EMS world. There’s a lot to consider when trying to ﬁgure out if pursuing a graduate degree is the right path for you. That’s especially true for those in EMS. Many of us wonder These are the folks to whom we sometimes point and say, “They about the value of graduate education, and the impact it can did it without degrees—why can’t I?” There are two answers to have on our careers. Some typical questions are: What types of this question. graduate degrees are out there? What will a graduate degree The ﬁrst is that the original generation of EMS leaders was help me achieve? Will it help advance my career? What will it inventing modern EMS as they went along, and many grew up teach me? Do I really need a graduate-level degree to succeed within organizations and systems that could have done better The authors are featured as a supervisor, manager or executive in the diverse world of with some science and academics in the mix. The second is speakers at EMS EXPO 2010, EMS? that many of the early leaders in fact had academic credentials Sept. 27–Oct. 1 at the Dallas Convention Center, Dallas, TX. Our industry is undergoing some profound changes right to support their accomplishments—Jim Page, Jay Fitch, David For more information, visit now. The ﬁrst generation of EMS executives is starting to retire. Boyd, John Chew, Bill Brown, Walt Stoy, Gregg Margolis and www.emsexpo2010.com. www.emsresponder.com EMS JUNE 2010 39 graduate education Baxter Larmon come to mind, all with at least master’s degrees, knowledge about our business. In many cases, important deci- and several with doctorates. sions are based on things like anecdotal information, personal EMS is now competing for scarce resources in a challenging opinion, charisma and rhetorical skill. Sit and chat for a few environment—one where those who allocate resources demand minutes, and you can probably come up with a whole menu of proof that money spent will result in an appropriate return. Proof topics that cry out for good research. What deployment model is “It entails of value requires research, analysis and advocacy—skills learned only in the higher-education environment. If our industry is to effectively meet the challenges of the future, it will need leaders most effective at delivering response performance? Do dynamic deployment and streetcorner posting improve it? What is the impact of that model on our line personnel? Does the size of the who can work effectively in environments where their “competi- ambulance inﬂuence the delivery of patient care? What about a lot of tors”—city, county and state department heads, program direc- the health and safety of personnel? A graduate degree will help work, and tors, and other managers—possess graduate academic creden- equip you to answer these questions and more. tials as a matter of course. it won’t A graduate degree attests not only to knowledge of a speciﬁc DEGREES TO CONSIDER be easy.” subject matter, but also to one’s commitment, tenacity and Before you say, “That’s not for me!” consider the many degree dedication. It suggests that no matter what the degree is in, options available. the holder has the ability to do research, think critically, write • Master of Public Health (MPH) is often seen as a health- persuasively and understand and advocate for complex concepts speciﬁc MBA, but that’s not the case. This degree is designed and processes. to educate the graduate student in the ﬁve core public health The EMS community has a tremendous need for leaders. One disciplines: health services administration/management, biosta- does not become a leader just through education, but having core tistics, epidemiology,
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