Vital Connections

Founded in 2008 by Gibson McCullagh ’11 and staffed entirely by students, HWS EMS works closely with the Office of Campus Safety and local ambulance companies to provide emergency services to the Colleges. HWS EMS Medical Director Dr. Jeremy T. Cushman ’96 (second from left) is pictured with current members of the organization.

by Kristyna Bronner ’14

For Dr. Jeremy T. Cushman ’96, staying involved with the Colleges after graduation has been relatively easy. His wife, Susan Flanders Cushman ’98, is the director of introductory biology laboratories at the Colleges, and the couple lives in nearby Honeoye Falls, N.Y.

To say that Cushman is an active alumnus would be an understatement. He currently serves as president of the Hobart Alumni Association and visits campus frequently for events like matriculation, Charter Day and the Hobart Launch. In 2013, he even co-authored an eBook with his former adviser, Professor of Biology Jim Ryan, titled iAnatomy.

“As a student I felt very connected to the campus, its faculty, its staff and its students both in terms of the opportunities for volunteerism and collaboration, as well as leadership. That is why it’s really part of my fabric—I don’t necessarily think about it, I just do. It is still personally fulfilling to be able to give back to students and staff on campus, but I also expect it of myself. Others did it for me while I was there,” he says.

After graduating from Hobart, Cushman went on to receive his medical degree from the University of Maryland, where he completed his residency in emergency medicine. He then pursued an M.S. in emergency health services from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Today, he is associate professor and chief of the Division of Pre-hospital Medicine at the University of Rochester, EMS medical director for Monroe County and the City of Rochester, and was recently appointed as the Acting Commissioner of Public Health for Monroe County.

His professional career has allowed Cushman to remain engaged with the Colleges in a unique way – as medical director of HWS EMS.

Founded in 2008 by Gibson McCullagh ’11 and staffed entirely by students, HWS EMS works closely with the Office of Campus Safety and local ambulance companies to provide emergency medical services to the Colleges, responding to emergency calls 24 hours a day during the academic year. In order to participate, students must complete a semester of training, after which they receive their New York State EMT certification. Every EMS organization must have a medical director, and Cushman readily accepted the role.

“In my first year at HWS, I collaborated with a few graduating seniors after we recognized a need to start an EMS responseorganization on campus,” explains McCullagh, who is now the director of Special Projects and Strategic Initiatives at Pro EMS in Cambridge, Mass. “Dr. Cushman readily accepted the role as EMS Medical Director and adviser to the organization and quickly became a strong mentor personally. His advice and commitment truly made starting the service possible, and the work he continues to do with HWS EMS is invaluable.”

“This is what I do for my job, so what a great way for me to be able to give back to campus,” says Cushman. “My role for HWS EMS is something I do for a two county area with hundreds of providers and thousands of EMS calls. I don’t have to learn something new; I don’t have to pretend to be something that I’m not. I have this small area of knowledge and experience that not a lot of people may have; why not share it with my alma mater.”

As medical director of HWS EMS, Cushman meets with students involved in the organization at least once each semester. He works closely with the chief of the service, currently Evan Schwab ’16, and the service adviser, Director of Campus Safety Martin Corbett. He reviews patient care records on a regular basis, in addition to other medical care responsibilities.

Cushman, who worked as a volunteer at the local hospital and with the volunteer ambulance service during his time at the Colleges, believes HWS EMS provides an important opportunity for students beyond learning about emergency medicine.

“I think what’s always made the Colleges special are the opportunities for education outside of the classroom. Just as I had the opportunity to learn a lot as a volunteer, being part of HWS EMS does the same thing. These students are evaluating patients and providing medical care independently under high ethical and moral standards,” he says. “Despite the medical lessons learned, I think the life lessons they are able to experience is something that will hopefully contribute to their overall education and make them better people in the end.”


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