Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network (LVHHN), through the George E. Moerkirk Emergency Medicine Institute, trains pre-hospital providers in the community in first response treatment. The Emergency Medicine Institute (EMI) was founded in 1987 by the late Dr. George E. Moerkirk. In 1998, the institute was renamed the George E. Moerkirk Emergency Medicine Institute in honor of its founder, the father of emergency medical services in eastern Pennsylvania. Dr. Moerkirk created the area's first paramedic training program in 1975, taking volunteers with basic life support skills and turning them into certified paramedics. The institute he created and directed until his death in 1994 is a leading training facility for both prehospital and emergency medicine. The GEM-Emergency Medicine Institute staff at Lehigh Valley Hospital consists of four program coordinators, two administrative secretary's and over 1200 adjunct faculty members. Administrative oversight for Emergency Management is provided by Teresa Wigoda, administrative director of Emergency Medicine.
Administrative and operational oversight for the Emergency Medicine Institute and the Division of EMS is provided by the Director, Division of EMS and EMI, Marianne Kostenbader, RN, BSN, PHRN, CEN. Clinical direction is provided by the Medical Director, Robert J. Tomsho, DO, MS.
EMI’s Paramedic Program became the region’s first program to become nationally accredited by CAAHEP in 2007. EMI provides paramedic education to approximately 20 paramedics a year with the very first class graduating in 1976. Thomas Rothrock, RN, MSN, PHRN, NRP is the Program Administrator and is also a program co-coordinator along with Joseph Rycek, RN, BSN, PHRN, NRP. The institute also provides training to over 140 emergency medical technicians (EMT's) and first responders in the six-county region every year. EMT Co-coordinators are Douglas Gernerd, NRP and Scott Brokaw, NRP. EMI provides education to more than 18,000 physicians, nurses and other allied health care providers every year. To date, EMI currently offers over 30 different forums of educational opportunities for health care providers of all levels.
In 2015, EMI opened up a satellite site in the Business and Education Center at the Lehigh Valley Hospital Hazleton Campus to expand EMS education to prehospital providers in the Luzerne County region. During the months of September through May, continuing education courses are held at our Cedar Crest, Hazleton and Muhlenberg sites for EMS providers. Since its inception, the GEM-Emergency Medicine Institute has expanded its student population to include various community groups, industries, businesses, physician's offices, schools, and health care organizations. Incorporated in the education of our students are adult, pediatric and infant simulators. Education through the use of simulation allows for a more realistic educational experience for the student.