February's Greater Williamsburg HeartSafe Alliance Board Meeting Cancelled

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The Greater Williamsburg HeartSafe Alliance board meeting scheduled for Thursday February 18, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. has been cancelled.  The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on March 18, 2021 at 11:30 a.m.

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Peninsulas EMS Council Adds Two New Board Members

The Peninsulas EMS Council, Inc. (PEMS) met last evening by Conference Call in compliance with the Governor’s social distancing guidance and voted to accept two new Board members, Captain Bradley Beam, NRP, of the Williamsburg Fire Department and President Shannon Kennedy, Ed.D., of Rappahannock Community College.

Captain Beam is a 26-year Fire/EMS veteran.  He began his career in Southwest Virginia where he worked for Martinsville Fire and EMS for nearly 13 years. While at the Martinsville Fire and EMS, he served as Firefighter/Paramedic and Deputy Fire Marshal.  Since 2012, he has been serving the Williamsburg Fire Department where he is currently a Captain overseeing the EMS Division.  From 2013 to 2015, Captain Beam also worked for the Peninsulas EMS Council as an EMS Field Coordinator – Clinical Care.

Captain Beam earned his Associates degree in EMS From Patrick Henry Community College, and is preparing to enter his last semester at Radford University where he is pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Services.  He is a National Registered Paramedic and a Virginia Certified EMS Education Coordinator.  Captain Beam is a member of the PEMS Policies, Procedures and Protocol Committee and also serves as the Chair of the PEMS Emergency Operations Committee.  Captain Beam will represent Peninsula Licensed EMS Agencies on the Board of Directors.

Dr. Shannon Kennedy serves as President of the Rappahannock Community College (RCC).  She has been with the College since last July. Prior to coming to work at RCC, Dr. Kennedy worked at Cleveland Community College, Gardner-Webb University, the Uptown Shelby Association, and Shelby Headline News, all located in North Carolina.

A native of Baltimore, MD, Dr. Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Millersville University, a Masters of Fine Arts in English Education from Gardner-Webb University, and a Doctor of Education degree in Adult and Community College Education from NC State University. Dr. Kennedy serves on the American Association of Community Colleges Commission on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity.  In North Carolina, she was involved in the Children’s Homes of Cleveland County, Destination Cleveland County, Inc., the United Way, the Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce, and the Shelby Rotary Club.

In 2011, Dr. Kennedy was honored with the Athena Award, which recognizes women for leadership and community service.  She also received both the H. Eugene LeGrand Lifetime Achievement Award and the JT Scruggs Volunteer of the Year Award from the United Way.  She received the Distinguished Woman Award from the Cleveland County Commission for Women and, the Distinguished Rotarian Award.  Dr. Kennedy will represent Northern Neck Businesses on the Board of Directors.

The Peninsulas EMS Council is a 501(c) (3) non-profit, tax exempt organization, designated by state statute to be an integral part of Virginia’s comprehensive EMS System.  The Council integrates and coordinates resources to ensure a system of rapid response and expert patient care from the sixteen jurisdictions, 10 hospitals and more than 57 Emergency Medical Services agencies on the Peninsula, Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck, in partnership with the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services and the State EMS Advisory Board.

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PEMS Announces New Regional Medical Director


The Peninsulas Emergency Medical Services Council, Inc. (PEMS) is pleased to announce that it has a new Regional Medical Director, Dr. Amir Louka, a Dual Board Certified Emergency and EMS Physician from Virginia Commonwealth University.  Dr. Louka, becomes the latest in a long line of distinguished physicians who have provided focused medical leadership to the PEMS Council’s Board of Directors and staff in the continued development of the comprehensive, coordinated regional emergency medical services delivery system.  Dr. Louka follows Dr. Cheryl Lawson, of Riverside Regional Medical Center who recently retired after serving as the PEMS Regional Medical Director for 13 years. 

The PEMS Regional Medical Director acts as a consultant and advocate for high quality patient care in the regional EMS system (the 16 cities and counties of the Peninsula, Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck).  In that capacity, Dr. Louka is well qualified to serve the region.  He graduated from the College of William and Mary and Eastern Virginia Medical School before completing a residency and a fellowship in Emergency Medicine at the Virginia Commonwealth University, where he joined the staff in 2018.  

Dr. Louka became involved with the PEMS Council in 2019 when he became the Operational Medical Director for the James City County Fire Department and a member of the PEMS Medical Advisory Committee. In March of 2020, when the region began to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Louka joined several of his fellow Operational Medical Directors and created a COVID-19 Protocol Task Force to evaluate the rapidly changing clinical environment and to ensure providers had the best information as well as the most up-to-date medical guidance.   

An active member of the National Association of EMS Physicians, Dr. Louka is acutely aware of current issues facing EMS systems throughout the country. Additionally, he is an active EMS provider himself, regularly standing duty as a volunteer field physician in Virginia Beach. Through varied field experience at all levels he has gained a deep understanding of the day-to-day challenges of prehospital care and the unique burden borne by providers and their agencies.

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