Governor’s EMS Award Winners Announced at the 42nd Annual Virginia EMS Symposium

Regional EMS Award Winners from the ODEMSA Region Garner Awards in Four Award Categories at the 2022 Governor’s EMS Awards, Including a $5,000 Scholarship

Regional EMS Award Winners Take Home the Gold in Four Award Categories at the 2022 Governor’s EMS Awards!

November 15, 2022

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA (November 13, 2022) – The Old Dominion EMS Alliance (ODEMSA), one of Virginia’s Regional Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Councils, today announced that four Regional EMS Award Winners were honored with four distinct and distinguished Governor’s EMS Awards.

The 2022 Governor’s EMS Award winners were announced at the 42nd Annual Governor’s EMS Awards Ceremony in Norfolk, Virginia. These awards, given in Governor Glenn Youngkin’s name, recognize and celebrate the EMS providers and organizations from across the Commonwealth of Virginia for their outstanding achievements in EMS and their exceptional excellence and dedication.

“It is an honor and privilege to accept this award [for Innovation Excellence in EMS] on behalf of the ODEMSA Region and its many stakeholders that played an active role in the planning, implementation, and execution of the Hospital Diversion Plan. The accolades cannot go to an individual or a single entity. The true champions are the individuals that make up the Region’s EMS agencies, response organizations, hospital systems, committees, telecommunication centers, and countless other organizations and individuals involved in the extended activation of the Patient Distribution Center from late 2021 into early 2022. The teamwork, innovation, collaboration, and “out-of-the-box thinking” that came from this event is a testament to our region and the people who make it what it is,” said Heidi Hooker, Executive Director of the Old Dominion EMS Alliance. “I am so proud of the men and women who won awards tonight, not only from our region but across the Commonwealth. Tonight’s awards highlight only a handful of the amazing organizations and healthcare providers. Every year, these awards prove that ODEMSA is a premier Regional EMS Council and part of one of the nation’s greatest collaborative State EMS systems.”

The Governor’s EMS Awards were presented in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services Annual EMS Symposium. This weeklong training event is the largest EMS training event in the Commonwealth and one of the largest in the nation.


The Governor’s EMS Award for Physician with Outstanding Contribution to EMS

The Frank M. Yeiser Trophy

Michel Aboutanos, M.D.

VCU Health

Dr. Michel Aboutanos is the chief of the Division of Acute Care Surgical Services at VCU, the Medical Director of the VCU Trauma Center, and the Director of the VCU Injury and Violence Prevention Program.

He is a passionate advocate for EMS. Previously, Dr. Aboutanos was the Medical Director for the VCU Paramedic Program from 2013 to 2018. During that time, he oversaw the education of hundreds of paramedics that are actively working and volunteering in the region today.

He was committed to the EMS community by assuring that providers receive the highest level of education and clinical experience, by advocating for the availability of clinical rotations throughout the hospital. As the Medical Director of the Center for Trauma & Critical Care Education (CTCCE) from 2013 to 2020, Dr. Aboutanos served as the Physician Course Director for Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS) courses, helping to bring this standard trauma education to hundreds of EMS agencies and training countless EMS providers.

Dr. Aboutanos is an active member of Virginia’s State EMS Advisory Board, and his leadership role has helped shape and support prehospital care of trauma patients.

The Governor’s EMS Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Emergency Preparedness and Response

The James A. Nogle, Jr. Trophy

Ken Smith

HCA Health, CJW Medical Center

For over 20 years, Kenneth (Ken) Smith has worked as the Emergency Management Coordinator for HCA Health, CJW Medical Center. He ensures that the safety and well-being of hospital staff, visitors, and first responders is taken into consideration when developing and implementing standard operating procedures, meeting accreditation guidelines during training events, and conducting emergency response exercises.

Ken is also an active member of the Old Dominion EMS Alliance’s MCI Committee and the Hospital Diversion Committee, where his experience and expertise has helped push forward the mission for both groups. In addition,

Ken participates in the Old Dominion EMS Alliance Peer Support Team where he responds to activations, assists with training, and provides support to team members.

He is also an active member of Forest View Volunteer Rescue Squad.  

The Governor’s EMS Award for Innovation Excellence in EMS

The Old Dominion Emergency Medical Services Alliance

Virginia Regional EMS Council
(Serving Health Planning Districts 13, 14, 15, & 19)

The Old Dominion EMS Alliance (ODEMSA) Regional Hospital Diversion Plan has been in place since 2001. Its purpose is to maintain an orderly systematic and appropriate distribution of emergency patients transported by ambulances during a single or multiple hospital diversion situation within the ODEMSA Region.

When stakeholders within the region conceived the plan, it was never anticipated that any one specific event would last for more than a few days to a week. However, in August of 2021, the longest period of diversion began due to the increase EMS volume, staff, shortages, and supply chain disruptions. The extended Patient Distribution Center (PDC) activation lasted from August 10, 2021, through February 28, 2022.

Through the innovation of the Regional Council and the collaboration with their stakeholders, the plan achieved its initial goal.  The ODEMSA region was able to pull off the longest diversion plan activation to date and maintained a cohesive the EMS and hospital system, while mitigating EMS crew wait times and reducing hospital surge.

The Governor’s EMS Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS by a High School Senior

The Dr. Carol Gilbert $5,000 Scholarship

An additional award is presented at the ceremony to recognize the outstanding contributions to EMS by a high school senior. This is a scholarship award provided by the State EMS Advisory Board.

Michael Lansing

Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad

For Michael Lansing, volunteering provides him a sense of purpose that has impacted other areas of his life.

After becoming, a lifeguard and taking a BLS course through the Red Cross, Michael saw an opportunity to enroll in Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad’s EMT class, and soon knew EMS was for him. Michael enjoys doing what he can to help those in need and is passionate to learn about the different health conditions that people experience.

If given the opportunity to improve the EMS system in Virginia, Michael would increase the promotion of EMT courses to potential students in the school systems and increase advertisement for volunteer opportunities.

Michael is currently furthering his academic education at the University of Richmond and hopes to obtain his Paramedic certification at a later date. His goal is to one day become a physician.

Michael believes that EMS is more than responding to 911 calls and saving lives. It’s having the opportunity to better the life of another person. 


About the Old Dominion Emergency Medical Services Alliance

Established in 1978, the Old Dominion EMS Alliance (ODEMSA) is a nonprofit charged by state law to assist in developing and implementing an efficient and effective EMS delivery system. There are a total of 11 Regional EMS Councils across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Old Dominion EMS Alliance is one of the largest and most diverse and is defined as the 9,000-square-mile region made up of Virginia Health Planning Districts 13, 14, 15, and 19.  The region involves 26 hospitals, over 100 EMS agencies, and over 6,000 EMS providers. To learn more, visit ODEMSA on the web, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Our service area includes the counties of:  Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charles City, Charlotte, Chesterfield, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Halifax, Hanover, Henrico, Goochland, Greensville, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, New Kent, Nottoway, Powhatan, Prince Edward, Prince George, Surry, Sussex; the cities of Colonial Heights, Emporia, Hopewell, Petersburg, Richmond, and South Boston; and the towns of Ashland, Farmville, and South Hill.

Standing Committees within the ODEMSA structure include Air Medical, Peer Support/CISM, Hospital Diversion, Medical Direction, Mass Casualty Incident (MCI), Pharmacy, Performance Improvement, Training and Education, STEMI Steering, and Stroke Steering.

About the Virginia Office of Emergency Services

The Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) is responsible for planning and coordinating an effective and efficient statewide EMS system. Their programs and services are designed to assure quality prehospital patient care, from when the call is received by the 911 center to the delivery of the patient to the trauma center or hospital. For more information, please visit the Virginia Office of Emergency Services on the web.

About the Governor’s EMS Awards Program 

The annual Governor’s EMS Awards Program began in 1986 and has been endorsed by each Governor to recognize the outstanding contributions of individuals, agencies and community organizations and businesses that provide or help support emergency medical care in Virginia. For more information, please visit the Governor’s EMS Awards Program page on the web.

Media Contact:

J. Ryan Scarbrough
Regional Projects Coordinator
Old Dominion EMS Alliance (ODEMSA)
(804) 560-3300 x104

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