Mercy Health Love County - News

Medic Wins International Academic Award

Posted on Friday, August 5th, 2016


Healthcare Academic Contest Winners: Taylor Westbrook, Mercy
Health/Love County EMS firefighter/paramedic, second from left,
won the gold medal in the public health division for postsecondary/
collegiate students at the HOSA International Leadership Conference
in Nashville in June, along with teammates Jeff Steinkamp, Ashley
West, and Michael Brain.

Taylor Westbrook had one shot at entering the international academic competition among students in the healthcare field, and he walked away a winner.

The Mercy Health/Love County EMS firefighter/paramedic brought home the gold medal in the Public Health event for postsecondary/collegiate students at the HOSA Inernational Leadership Conference in Nashbille in June.

Westbrook was part of a four-person team of aspiring Oklahoma paramedics that put together a presentation on melanoma (skin cancer). They impressed the judge with their script and acting in scenes that portrated the treatment and prevention of skin cancer.

The team won first place at HOSA Internationals. Earlier, they won first place in Oklahoma's statewide HOSA competition with their presentation.

HOSA is an international student organization for future healthcare professions (formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America).

Westbrook graduated from paramedic training in July. He was salutatorian of the class.

"I knew this would be my only time to compete in HOSA. To win in my only try is something I'll always remember," he said.

On the presentation team, Westbrook did the introduction, set the scenes, and gave the facts while the other team members acted the role of patient, doctor, and family member.

Westbrook said he jumped at the chance to compete when approached by his paramedic instructor. "I'm competitive and it's fun. In high school I took theater classes, and I experienced FFA speaking competitions and showing animals. This was very similar, just with healthcare," Westbrook said.

He and his teammates had been students at the Kiamichi Technology Center at Poteau.

The Kiamichi classes are beamed through television remote to the training center at EMS Station 2 at WinStar Casino, where Westbrook has been a fulltime firefighter/EMT for eight years.

Kiamichi's lead paramedic instructor Lisa Dyer had two international winners -- Westbrook's paramedic team in the Public Health Division, and an EMT team, based at Autry Technology Center in Enid, in the Emergency Technician Division.

Westbrook's teammates, all from Poteau, included Jeff Steinkamp, Ashley West, and Michael Brain.

The students selected their own topic and worked together from their remote locations to write and polish the 10-minute script before performing together for the first time at the Oklahoma HOSA competition.

"It very rewarding as an instructor to have students like these," said Dyer, who had had state-winning teams the past six years.

Westbrook is the first Mercy Health/Love County EMS medic to win a state and international academic competitin. Dennis Frazier, paramedic, placed second in medical math in the 2014 HOSA state competition.

Westbrook was among the first coworkers hired when Station 2 opened in 2008. He has been a driver/operator of fire trucks and has assisted paramedics as an EMT until now.

He said ambulance paramedic duties are being added to his day-to-day assignments.

EMT and paramedic training is a major part of the curriculum at the Mercy Health/Love County EMS training center. Any member of the public interested in entering these fields may apply for training. Contact Natasha West, training center coordinator, at 276-337. 

Tad Hall, PA, is the EMS director.