This post was contributed by Oregon Tech.
Two faculty from Oregon Tech’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) department recently presented on research related to an Open Oregon Educational Resources OER grant project they are participating in. The research focused on racial and ethnic disparities in the imagery used in emergency medical technician (EMT) textbooks. The study, titled “Black, Asian, and Female Individuals are More Likely to be Depicted as Patients in EMS textbooks while White Men are Presented as EMS Providers,” was conducted by Jamie Kennel, Ph.D., and Chris Hamper, and also had direct research support from several EMS students including David Olvera-Godinez, Josh Michlitsch, Wilson Morris, and Kendall Womack.
Kennel stated, “While accounting for differences in population data, most racial minority groups and women were more likely to be depicted as an injured or sick patient rather than an EMS provider in two of the primary EMS training textbooks used across the country to train new EMTs. This is directly at cross purposes when the EMS industry desires to diversify its predominantly white male workforce.”
Kennel and Hamper teach and conduct research in the EMS department, a partnership between Oregon Tech and Oregon Health & Science University, and are currently part of a team that received a 2023 Open Oregon Educational Resources grant designed to ensure equity in who is represented as the EMS medical expert.
The Open Oregon Educational Resources grant team, which is made up of faculty from Blue Mountain Community College, Oregon Tech, and Mt. Hood Community College, is creating a new EMS Lab Manual to cover new Oregon state competencies. The manual will contain content addressing the treatment of populations that are largely ignored or neglected in existing national EMS textbooks such as LGBTQ patients, obese patients, and non-English speaking patients. Also, given Dr. Kennel’s past research on racial treatment differences in EMS in Oregon, the new lab manual will also include material that new EMTs and EMS instructors need to know to help reduce racial treatment bias, including challenges associated with the use of stereotypes in patient care, myth busting race as biologically relevant to EMS practice, cognitive load theory, and aversive racism.