October 18, 2022
October 12, 2022 – Orlando, Florida – The California Paramedic Foundation has announced the 2022 Nicholas Rosecrans Award Winner—Gerard Carroll, MD of Cooper University Health EMS. Dr. Carroll received the Rosecrans honor in recognition of their first-of-a-kind prehospital buprenorphine program, which has now spread to multiple locales across the country. The California Paramedic Foundation conferred the Award to Dr. Carroll during the opening keynote ceremonies of the 2022 EMS World Expo in front of thousands of EMS industry attendees from around the world.
In 2019, Dr. Carroll and Cooper University Health EMS launched the first EMS-administered buprenorphine program in the United States. Dr. Carroll and his team realized that many opioid use disorder patients in the 9-1-1 system typically refuse transport to local emergency departments that offer buprenorphine and addiction services. In response, they implemented a paramedic-delivered buprenorphine and referral service to reach out-of-hospital patients with a high risk of overdose.
Buprenorphine acts as a bridging medication for individuals battling opioid addiction. The drug works rapidly to reduce withdrawal symptoms by binding opioid receptors and also blocks the actions of opioids like fentanyl and heroin, providing critical time for those facing opioid addiction to seek and receive addiction resources and treatment. The medication has proven to be effective in intervening in opioid addiction and overdose risk.
A recent study authored by Dr. Carroll in the Annals of Emergency Medicine analyzed the effectiveness of the Cooper EMS buprenorphine program. The study found that patients treated in the Cooper EMS program demonstrated decreased opioid withdrawal symptoms and increased outpatient addiction follow-up care following buprenorphine administration and referral.
The Cooper EMS buprenorphine pilot serves as a model to EMS organizations across the country seeking to implement their own EMS-integrated bridging medication programs. To that end, Dr. Carroll has worked nationally to support such initiatives by sharing the Cooper EMS buprenorphine program, implementation best practices, and lessons learned.
California Paramedic Foundation Director John Ehrhart noted at the ceremonies, “Dr. Gerry Carroll and Cooper EMS are true pioneers in EMS prevention, and their program serves as a model to EMS organizations throughout the United States facing the brunt of the opioid epidemic. Their program is a vibrant example of EMS prevention programs that flip the traditional reactive 9-1-1 system on its head by preventing injury and illness before they occur.”
The Nicholas Rosecrans Award has nationally recognized EMS organizations delivering excellence in injury and illness prevention programming for over 20 years. The Award is named after a young toddler whose tragic drowning spurred EMS injury and illness prevention programs in Southern California. Each year, Nicholas’ mother Lynn Artz attends the EMS Expo to personally award the winner. The California Paramedic Foundation, RedFlash Group, EMS World, and Air Methods Corporation sponsor the Award to raise national attention and support for excellent EMS prevention programs. Information on the history of the Award and its winners can be found at CAparamedic.org/nicholas-rosecrans.