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.

dark blue horiz line290x10

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.

dark blue horiz line290x10

Virginia Office of EMS Announces Cancellation of the 2020 Virginia EMS Symposium

Dear Virginia EMS Stakeholders, 

It is with great disappointment and deliberation that the Virginia Office of EMS announces it has cancelled the 2020 Virginia EMS Symposium, scheduled November 11-15, in Norfolk, due to the current public health climate surrounding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Prior to making this decision, we carefully considered a number of factors. Our instructors, registrants, host city, hotels and businesses of Norfolk, volunteers, exhibitors and staff are instrumental in making the Virginia EMS Symposium one of the largest and most comprehensive EMS training events in the country. Due to many unknown factors in the months ahead, and the amount of advanced planning and commitment required to hold such a complex event, we determined that cancelling this year’s event would be in the best interest of the health, safety and well-being of all Virginia EMS Symposium participants. 

The Virginia EMS Symposium presents an opportunity to gain quality education, network with fellow EMS personnel and publicly recognize the dedication and service you all provide on a daily basis. We greatly appreciate your understanding in our decision to cancel this year’s event and we are confident that the wonderful partnerships the Virginia EMS Symposium program has produced will be maintained in future years.

The Virginia Office of EMS thanks all EMS personnel, including volunteers, staff members and instructors for their continued dedication to the Virginia EMS system, especially throughout this public health crisis. 

Please continue to visit the Virginia Office of EMS website and social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) for updates on EMS certification, the 2020 Governor’s EMS Awards and the 2021 Virginia EMS Symposium.


Gary Brown, Director
Virginia Office of EMS


dark blue horiz line290x10


Still Seek Help in an Emergency

While all of us are being asked to stay home to protect ourselves during this COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to know that if you have a time- sensitive medical emergency you need to get help immediately. That means going to the Emergency Room (ER) right away.

So what is a time-sensitive emergency? A heart attack, stroke or traumatic injury. In all of these cases, time is of the essence and you need to seek medical attention immediately. Don’t let fear delay you from getting the medical help you need.

Here’s what you need to do if you are having a time-sensitive emergency:

First call 9-1-1, the dispatcher is trained to help you decide if your medical emergency warrants a trip to the ER. If it does and you can’t drive yourself to the hospital, then an EMS agency will come pick you up and take you there. All EMS agencies are prepared and able to provide SAFE treatment and transport to the hospital. The Regional EMS Councils continue to work closely with the hospitals to ensure SAFE care through the transition into the emergency department.

Your visit to the ER will be different because of COVID-19. You will be screened before you even go into the emergency room and given a mask to protect you from possible exposure to the virus. All of the dedicated medical personnel you meet will be dressed in appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and because of the virus hospitals are not allowing visitors to come with you. Taking care of you and your immediate medical need is what the health care system was designed to do.

So while staying home is the best way to prevent COVID-19, when it comes to a medical emergency seeking help immediately is always the best and safest way to go.

dark blue horiz line290x10


Page 2 of 3

Main Menu

Back To Top