Southwestern College Receives Ambulance from AMR

EMTs, paramedics, Otay Mesa and college leadership cut ribbon in front of new ambulance donation.
Superintendent/President Dr. Mark Sanchez, Dean Silvia Cornejo, Governing Board Member Roberto Alcantar and AMR leaders cut ribbon on donated ambulance.

Representatives from AMR cut the ribbon and handed over the keys to a fully-equipped ambulance to Southwestern College’s EMT/paramedic program Wednesday. The van-style ambulance will serve as a hands-on educational resource and recruitment tool for new students interested in the field of emergency medicine.

“We are extremely grateful to AMR for this very generous gift,” said Southwestern College Superintendent/President Dr. Mark Sanchez, “AMR has long been a great partner in our effort to produce top-notch EMTs and paramedics for the San Diego region, especially the South County. Their commitment to partnering with Southwestern College in educating the next generation of our workforce is truly valued.”

The ambulance, which is wrapped in an eye-catching design created by graphic arts students at Southwestern College, features an EKG monitor and defibrillator, an IV kit, a stretcher, a trauma kit to treat broken bones and stop bleeding and an airway kit to facilitate proper ventilation.

“Southwestern College has one of the oldest and largest training programs in the county,” said Claudia Rempel, government and community affairs and operations manager for AMR. “We’re pleased to once again be able to support their efforts to recruit and train the next generation of emergency medical professionals.”

Wednesday’s donation ceremony was the 20th anniversary of AMR’s first donation of a simulation ambulance to the college. At the time, it was the only simulation ambulance of its kind in the western United States, Rempel said. It is permanently mounted within one of the program’s classrooms.

Hands-On Training Makes a Difference

Program graduate Maria Mora, who is now employed as an EMT with AMR, said the hands-on resources were critical for her education.

“My favorite days in the program were the simulation days,” said Mora, who is also aspiring to be a physician’s assistant. “Loading and unloading the gurney and using the other equipment on the rigs were critical to my success.”

Mora is the kind of diverse student the program and AMR are looking to recruit.

“With this new ambulance, we’ll be able to take our training program to the next level,” said Jason Hums, director of the college’s paramedic and EMT programs. “And it will be especially useful as a recruiting tool as we seek to increase diversity in the field of emergency medical services to better represent the communities we serve.”

Governing Board President Roberto Alcantar agreed.

“Resources like this bring equity to our community,” Alcantar said. “In some of our communities, people are fearful of calling 911. With resources like this, we are teaching our students how to better serve our community.”

AMR has also provided financial incentives to a diverse student population with their Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship Program. Each year, the company offers 10 $1,000 scholarships, which can be used by students to offset the cost of tuition, and for books and uniforms.