Congratulations to Penn MERT on winning the NCEMSF Community Engagement Award!
DPS congratulates the University of Pennsylvania Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT), a student-run, service organization providing emergency medical services to the University community, on winning the NCEMSF Community Engagement Award!
The NCEMSF Collegiate EMS Community Engagement Program of the Year Award recognizes efforts by the campus EMS group who had the most creative, effective, and/or innovative program or initiative for engaging with their community. Penn MERT won this award in recognition for two new innovative Community Outreach initiatives, in addition to their existing outreach programs.
The first initiative is the Opioid Overdose and Reversal (Naloxone/Narcan) Training and Distribution Program. MERT worked with physicians and public health experts at Penn Medicine to develop the bystander naloxone training program. Additionally, they secured a grant from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to acquire a renewable supply of naloxone to distribute for free at these trainings. The training program consists of information about the opioid crisis, how to detect an opioid overdose and administer naloxone, and integrates rescue breathing and CPR. The program supplies Narcan to trainees actively trying to obtain naloxone, but face financial, insurance-based, or societal barriers in doing so. It is currently the only naloxone training and distribution program run by a collegiate EMS program.
The second community engagement initiative is a Correctional Facility First Aid Training Program. Correctional facility inmates represent a population that are at an elevated risk of witnessing injuries, overdoses, or medical emergencies, but often lack resources and face barriers in learning how to address these situations. To address this, MERT developed a training program that would provide first aid training to inmates at Philadelphia correctional facilities. The pilot training received extremely positive feedback from the inmates and PDP supervisors, and a plan to provide monthly trainings throughout PDP facilities has been set in conjunction with the PDP Deputy Commissioner of Restorative and Transitional Services and the PDP Human Services Program Administrator.