New EMS Bachelor’s Degree Program Starts This Fall at UA College of Medicine – Tucson

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A new bachelor’s degree program in emergency medical services, offered by the Department of Emergency Medicine in the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, will start this fall.

The Arizona Board of Regents approved the Bachelor of Science major and minor in EMS during its April meeting. The undergraduate degree program is the first offered by a UA College of Medicine – Tucson clinical department and the second in the medical school.

Enrollment is open to individuals who have a current state or national certification as a paramedic or have completed an associate’s degree in paramedic care at a regionally accredited community college or university.

The program is designed to enhance EMS professionals’ leadership and clinical skills, preparing them to lead EMS systems into the future, said Joshua Gaither, MD, UA associate professor of emergency medicine. One of a few programs in the nation administered through a clinical department, the EMS major and minor offer students opportunities to be mentored by and learn from UA emergency medicine faculty members, fellows and residents who are EMS clinicians and researchers at the cutting edge of EMS care.

“Our graduates not only will be able to deliver patient care in the field, but gain the additional subspecialty knowledge to oversee large, complex EMS systems and apply advances in evidence-based medicine to their EMS systems,” he said. “They will have the ability to analyze complex situations and systems, describe them in context that outsiders will understand and think critically and `outside the box.’”

In addition to expanding job opportunities, Dr. Gaither, who serves as EMS fellowship director in the UA Department of Emergency Medicine and medical director for multiple local EMS agencies, expects the degree will provide a pathway to train future EMS personnel.

Samuel Keim, MD, head of the UA Department of Emergency Medicine, said the curriculum is designed to teach and train paramedics to be better prepared to handle the realities of a new era in prehospital medicine. “The goal is to train EMS providers in the art and science of EMS, prepare for the future of EMS and be sufficiently educated to lead and participate in the development and operation of emergency medical systems,” he said.

Find more information on the Bachelor of Science in EMS here.

About the UA College of Medicine – Tucson
The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson is shaping the future of medicine through state-of-the-art medical education programs, groundbreaking research and advancements in patient care in Arizona and beyond. Founded in 1967, the college boasts more than 50 years of innovation, ranking among the top medical schools in the nation for research and primary care. Through the university's partnership with Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health-care systems in the country, the college is leading the way in academic medicine. For more information, please visit

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