A handful of student-run emergency medical groups have come and gone at USC, but the latest — Emergency Medical Services of USC — has recently taken steps that could help make it a permanent fixture at the school.
EMSC was started last semester to establish an EMT service for the university community. The program was in the recruiting and planning stages in the spring, but now EMSC boasts 25 trained members who hope to staff athletic events and concerts by next semester.
The organizers of EMSC hope the training sessions the group members participated in this summer will set them apart from previous groups that have attempted to act as an EMT service for the school.
“This has been tried various times in the past,” said Shane Keller, co-founder of EMSC and a senior majoring in neuroscience. “But once we actually went through with the training this summer, the administration knew that we were serious about this. We received their full support and approval as an organization this September.”
The 25 students who participated in the summer training were taught by four instructors from the California Institute of Emergency Medical Training, according to Maya Babla, co-founder of EMSC and a junior majoring in communication and international relations.
Babla said the group also enhanced its relationship with university officials this summer, which she suspects will give EMSC greater staying power than similar groups that have come and gone.
Catherine DeFrancesco, a senior clinical administrator and a member of the group’s professional oversight committee, said the group has the support of Dr. Lawrence Neinstein, the executive director of the University Park Health Center, and others at the health center, as well as USC’s Department of Public Safety. This is the first emergency medical services group, she said, to make such strides toward running a fully functioning service.
“I have been here for 12 years and am aware of two other groups of students that have tried this,” she said. “This is the first time that the requirements necessary for an endeavor of this nature have been fulfilled.”
Babla said having the university’s support is helping the group continue to progress.
“We made huge strides in working with the university administrators to find the right niche for EMSC on campus,” Babla said. “What’s great is that everyone’s on board — not only are the students excited and see a need for this program, but the administration does too, and we’re ready to launch a program that’s here to stay.”
That launch will ideally take place next semester, Babla said. EMSC expects to have the training and number of people necessary to provide medical services at athletic events, big concerts and other activities on campus.
“We want a program that is comprehensive and affects a lot of students,” Keller said. “Although in the months and years to come, we hope to run a 24-hour [medical emergency] service.”
To start, Babla said, EMSC hopes to staff recreational sporting events, though the group has yet to set any concrete plans.
“Right now we are beginning the process of talking with the departments to make official the events we will volunteer at,” she said.
Though they recognize their plans are ambitious, Babla and Keller said they understand they are laying the foundation for a group that could make an impact in the future.
“USC does a lot to ensure that we as students are safe, healthy and well, though we found that this specific component [emergency medical care] was missing,” Babla said. “The second component is, in my experience, this university affords us every opportunity to do more, take risks and learn, all with the underlying sentiment of what we can do to give back. I can’t think of a better way to give back than to save lives and provide this type of service.”