State Successes: Heartland EMSC Coalition human trafficking three-part symposium draws 900+ nightly

  • Published February 28, 2022
Human trafficking

More than 24.9 million people — adults and children — are subjected to human trafficking around the world, including in the United States.

In honor of National Human Trafficking Prevention Month in January, the Heartland EMS for Children Coalition (HECC) hosted a three-night symposium series, “Human Trafficking: Prevention for First Responders and Healthcare Providers,” and provided 2.5 free continuing education credits to participants each night. HECC consists of six EMSC State Partnerships: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

The symposium drew more than 900 participants each night. The audience included first responders, prehospital practitioners, nurses, physicians, law enforcement, fire fighters, social workers, and child advocates.

“Virtual education has allowed us to reach a far larger audience than we would have been able to otherwise,” says Kjelsey Polzin, BS, Program Manager for Minnesota EMSC. “The strength and partnership of our amazing HECC region has been key to our success.”

Symposium speakers were Jennifer Canton, MSN, BSN, CCRN, CEN, TCRN, a sexual assault nurse examiner for pediatrics and adults, Wagner Larson-Silva, MSW, a community navigator coordinator at Call to Freedom, Teresa Davidson, ARNP, MSN, PNP, cofounder of Chains Interrupted and anti-human trafficking coordinator at Mercy Medical Center, and Anna Brewer, a former FBI special agent, along with two trafficking survivors.

Each State Partnership program manager issues continuing education credits to prehospital practitioners and Children’s Minnesota assists by providing credit (CEs/CNEs/CMEs) to all other disciplines.

“Together, we’ve provided over 27 hours of continuing education to thousands of professionals, including nurses, EMS providers, fire fighters, law enforcement, and social workers,” stated Brittney Nichols, MPH, BSN, RN, Program Coordinator for Kansas EMSC.

The symposiums grew out of HECC’s desire to provide timely, meaningful pediatric education to providers despite the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Past topics have included pediatric behavioral health crises, children and youth with special healthcare needs, poison prevention, traumatic burns, and respiratory emergencies. HECC also plans to offer more education in 2022 on the topics of:

  • child death and provider resilience,
  • adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and communication,
  • and mass casualty events and family reunification.

For questions or to learn more about launching virtual education in your region, email