Family Advisory Network feature: Intermountain Region

  • Published April 27, 2021
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The Family Advisory Network (FAN) includes patient and family representatives from nearly all U.S. states and territories who support and inform efforts across Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC). This month, we’re featuring the work of the Intermountain Region (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada): Jeremy Sonenschein, MS, BS, EMT-P, a 20-year, dedicated EMS trainer in Nevada; Kris Bacheller, a 29-year EMT veteran in Wyoming with a passion for disaster preparedness; and Eddie Zamora, MPH, an EMSC Research and Evaluation Specialist with a personal connection to pediatric care.

Jeremy Sonenschein, MS, BS, EMT-P – Nevada

Jeremy Sonenschein is one of the newer FANs, having joined in 2019, but already he has done a lot of work for the EMSC. Sonenschein has dual passions in the EMS world: teaching and networking. When he is not networking, he is teaching people about what materials and learning opportunities are available regarding pediatric emergency care.

Currently, Sonenschein works at the EMS Training Center of Southern Nevada, teaching the next generation of EMS personnel. In addition to teaching, another part of his role at the training center is to meet and network with hospitals, local EMS agencies, health districts, and disaster planners. Not only does he promote resources available through his institution, but he also educates others about EMSC and other pediatric emergency medicine resources. In his three years in Las Vegas, Sonenschein has built many connections.

In addition to his main job, Sonenschein also spends time educating school employees about basic first aid and fire safety, as well as career day talks about his experience as an EMS and former fire service professional. He also coaches a youth hockey team, where he promotes injury prevention and keeps the team parents informed about health and safety measures that could help or affect their child. He has also volunteered with Doctors Without Borders and the American Red Cross to assist after disaster. We are so proud of all the wonderful work he has done throughout 2020!

Kris Bacheller, EMT/FF, PEPP CC, WWCC Adjunct – Wyoming

Kris Bacheller has been working throughout the pandemic to keep tabs on the needs and challenges families have been facing. This is a personal mission for Bacheller; as an EMS professional and teacher, she wants to be sure that she is guiding both local EMS agencies and the next generation of EMS professionals toward meeting the needs of children and families impacted by COVID-19.

This hasn’t always been an easy task, as the state EMS office was also impacted by COVID-19, and access has been difficult. Because Wyoming is a largely rural state, resources are spread thin. Transport times to local hospitals can be between 1.5 - 2 hours, and some people are hesitant to go to the larger cities like Jackson Hole and Cheyenne because infection rates are higher in those areas. This has led to some individuals either forgoing necessary care or looking for care in more rural areas, many of which have fewer resources available for them. She’s also been keeping tabs on the schools and has been happy to see that the school systems have been using their buses to transport food to children and families in need until regular school services could resume. Pandemic difficulties certainly haven’t stopped Bacheller. She’s a shining example of the frontier spirit and incredible resourcefulness exhibited by most Wyomingites. Her focus has been on getting resources to EMS and the public and ensuring that all EMS professionals, both current and future, have training in pediatric emergency preparedness. She has taught several of the American Academy of Pediatric’s (AAP) Pediatric Education for Prehospital Professionals (PEPP) classes throughout 2020 to EMS departments, and she serves as the PEPP Course Coordinator for Wyoming. She is also working with the AAP’s Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) group, which meets every two weeks with people from all over the nation to put together disaster management programs. Presently they are working on integrating telemedicine into disaster plans and reviewing recent disasters, such as the recent storm in Texas, to improve future planning for all disasters.

Bacheller maintains Wyoming’s EMSC Facebook page, where she focuses on seasonal safety topics and pushes out information from the nearest children’s hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. In case you thought Bacheller had enough on her plate with just these responsibilities, she also teaches future EMS professionals at her local community college and volunteers as an EMT. She is proud of the work that she does on behalf of EMSC to educate her state about pediatric emergency needs, but that wasn’t her crowning achievement for 2020. Bacheller is most proud of her 29-year career as an EMT, and that four of her six children have all followed her into the medical field. Congratulations on a job well done this year!

Eddie Zamora, MPH – NEDARC Representative

Did you know there is a National EMSC Data Analysis Resource Center (NEDARC) representative that works with the FAN? Meet Eddie Zamora, MPH, the NEDARC liaison who is here to help coordinate efforts between NEDARC and the FAN, specifically incorporating the FAN voices into NEDARC research, training, and education efforts.

Zamora has been with NEDARC for three years now, and he uses his community health and program evaluation background for improving internal processes and evaluating educational offerings. He specifically supports State Partnership managers in the southern United States, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands with data collection efforts for EMSC Performance Measures 2, 3, 6, 7, and the National Pediatric Readiness Project Assessment.

Zamora has a personal interest in making data accessible and using it to inform policy and programming efforts for pediatric disparities: he has a young child with special healthcare needs (WAGR syndrome), and as a parent, he wants to ensure that other children and families have the same access to healthcare that his child receives.

We have a wonderful advocate and resource in Zamora, and we are so happy to have him as a part of our FAN team.

To learn more about FAN, visit its webpage. If you would like to learn more about incorporating a FAN member into your efforts or share current work by a FAN member, please reach out to jennifer.talley@uhhospitals.org.

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