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Published: July 27, 2022

A Partnership With the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay

A new community paramedicine training program for the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay was developed by graduate students in the physician assistant medicine (PAM) and instructional design programs at The University of Tampa to further improve access to care. The Crisis Center will use this training program to onboard newly-hired paramedics.

Crisis Center of Tampa BayTwo UT programs joined forces to help the community. Photo courtesy of Johnna Yealy

Community paramedicine is a relatively new and evolving health care model that expands the roles of paramedics to assist populations lacking access to basic primary health care. For example, patients without health insurance often visit emergency departments either for non-emergent issues or as a direct result of their lack of preventive health care. A service was needed to help reduce the emergency costs for hospitals and offer medical care for the underserved. Community paramedics can lift this burden by conducting in-home wellness checks, chronic disease monitoring, providing preventative care and other basic services.

“Paramedics traditionally provide immediate, short-term care to patients. The community paramedicine program is a longer process that helps connect people struggling with ongoing conditions to traditional medical and behavioral health care,” said Clara Reynolds MBA ’10, president and CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. For the past 50 years, the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay has provided crisis intervention, EMS and trauma counseling services to the Tampa Bay community.

Students in the PAM graduate program at UT were required to complete a capstone project that would have a significant impact on health or well-being. Johnna Yealy, chair, associate professor and founding director of the PAM program, is on the community paramedicine task force at the Crisis Center and recommended building a training program as a project for her students.

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