It’s a Small World After All

The EMS industry is a small town in a globalized world of connectivity. Professionals in the industry are bound to cross paths at some point in their careers, whether from catastrophic forces of nature, such as The Johnstown Flood, or through innovative training and research at the Center for Emergency Medicine in Pittsburgh. Many build each other up for success with ingenuity and technological advancement during their colorful journey through the medical and EMS realm. Kevin L. Parrish, now a Lead Clinical Research Associate at Sanofi Pharmaceutical, portrays a vibrant past that started in Indiana, PA. Additionally, as a little-known fact, a lot of history that has paved way to the advancement of medical services started out in Southwestern Pennsylvania ranging from leaders to medical technologies.

Since it is common for those in the EMS industry to learn and become adaptable in their medical duties, launching his career path in 1975 at 17 years-of-age, Parrish started at Citizens’ Ambulance in Indiana, PA., right after his graduation of high school, is no surprise. With no experience, he started as an EMT in learning and absorbing the fast-paced industry around him and soon became a paramedic. Forty-three years later, Parrish continues his legacy through medical research.

At the time in 1977, Parrish crossed paths with other Savvik Says profile, John Z. Zaragoza, by working by his side during the flood zone for six weeks in providing safety and emergency medical services to the community. Both men are now leaders in their specific fields today but reside in completely different parts of the U.S. from Florida to Pennsylvania, even though each has Southwestern, PA. roots.

Owner of Citizens’ Ambulance in Indiana, PA, Jerry Esposito, started a program known as Freedom House Ambulance, which led to the development of city EMS in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with the help of Doctor Peter Safar in the late 1970’s.  Today, Dr. Safar is considered to be the father of modern CPR.

While in the doctoral program at The University of Pittsburgh, Parrish’s area of study focused on CPR. Safar was on his committee while he was working on his PhD that helped carve out the defining moments in his passion for medical advancements. The University of Pittsburgh has been nationally recognized for its paramedic-training program, in which Parrish has been on faculty at the Center for Emergency Medicine since 1982 while molding and coaching the future generations of EMS leaders.

From there, Parrish worked at Actronics, Inc. in 1985 as the Director of Product Development for computerized education and human simulators. In 1997, Actronics was sold to a Norwegian company known as Laerdal. Parrish became the Director of US Clinical Research for Laerdal Medicine, in which he directly led efforts nationwide while helping counterparts of facets worldwide.

“Find your passion, and enjoy what you do in life,” says Parrish. “The EMS industry provides a lot of opportunities and innovative work that requires time, patience and determination. The combined intelligence and efforts of others while focusing on your own journey becomes rewarding in the end for advancement for all.”

Today, Kevin Lee Parrish works at Sanofi Pharmaceutical, the third largest pharmaceutical company in the world. His beginning in Southwestern Pennsylvania, along with his colleague support, has carved the path of excellence for the advancements in the medical and EMS Industry. Intelligence and guidance has been a gift, and has helped him along his journey through the medical realm. He has earned these opportunities through hard work and determination that allows him to manage a team of research associates at Sanofi Pharmaceutical that monitors research sites for safety and compliance of FDA regulations, IRB regulations, and all ethical research. Who knew that Southwestern PA would provide the powerhouse of minds that have made great strides for the advancement of EMS?

The hero image is kind of a special picture…. I am standing next to Tore Laerdal, CEO of Laerdal Medical corp showing off our new SimBaby, human infant simulator.  I wrote the functional specifications for SimBaby, translating what doctors and nurses wanted to see the simulator do medically to the software and hardware engineers at Laerdal so they could build it.  One of the more interesting features was Simulating a seizure.

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