He was looking to expand his staff. We had dinner one night, and we talked about the kind of things he was looking forward to doing at DHS. I talked with him about some of the programs I had been working on in Michigan. I interviewed and was accepted for the position of the deputy chief medical officer in September 2006.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 36 – No 05 – May 2017
KK: When were you offered this new role at NHTSA?
JK: The position is a career civil service position. When the previous director of OEMS retired, they posted it, as they do all federal leadership positions. I had worked very closely with the folks in this office while I was at DHS, so I knew about the posting of the position, and I applied for it. There were roughly 30 folks who were considered for it, and I was lucky enough to get it.
KK: We‘re all lucky that you‘re in this role. How does the role you‘re in differ from the role that, for instance, Dr. Ricardo Martinez had several years ago?
JK: The position that Dr. Martinez had actually was the same position that Jeff Runge subsequently filled. They were both administrators of NHTSA. Ricardo was the first emergency physician to be in that position, and Jeff was the second. The position of the administrator really is the leader of NHTSA, which is one of the components within the Department of Transportation. NHTSA focuses primarily on motor vehicle standards and motor vehicle safety issues.
KK: When did you officially start?
JK: I started with NHTSA on Sept. 4, 2016.
KK: What are you hoping to accomplish in this role?
JK: OEMS at NHTSA is the federal agency that has been involved in emergency medical services activities and oversight the longest. This office was created shortly after the National Academy of Sciences paper that was published in 1966 called “Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society.” We really focus on global policy and strategic issues of EMS systems growth, development, refinement, and all of the things that support the infrastructure for EMS at the local level. We have developed the EMS scope of practice and the EMS agenda for the future. We‘re focusing very significantly now on issues related to EMS data management and being able to help build up a more robust national infrastructure for EMS data collection and performance measure development and how we can improve data linkages with health information exchanges.