Nomenclature of the EMS Profession

This 2019 project, the result of a recommendation from the National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC), brought together key EMS stakeholders to discuss the nomenclature used to describe the EMS profession.


In 2017, the National EMS Advisory Council made a recommendation to the NHTSA Office of EMS and the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS to change the nomenclature. The full recommendation, entitled “Changing the Nomenclature of Emergency Medical Services is Necessary,” addresses many issues surrounding the nomenclature of emergency medical services.

NHTSA and the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) Maternal Child and Health Bureau convened dozens of EMS-related organizations and requested public comment from the EMS community at large to address this topic.


The Nomenclature of the EMS Profession stakeholder meetings in 2019 resulted in a vigorous discussion of issues that strike at the heart of what the profession is, and what it will become—the final report briefly summarizes those conversations.

Final Summary Report

Who Was Involved

Funding was provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Office of EMS, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s EMS for Children Program.

The series of discussions regarding the Nomenclature of the EMS Profession were facilitated by EMS educator and researcher Baxter Larmon, PhD.

The following national EMS organizations appointed a representative to the Stakeholder Work Group.

  • Academy of International Mobile Health Integration
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Ambulance Association
  • American College of Emergency Physicians
  • American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma
  • Association of Air Medical Services
  • Association of Critical Care Transport
  • Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services
  • Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems
  • Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the EMS Professions
  • Emergency Nurses Association
  • EMS for Children Innovation & Improvement Center
  • International Association of EMS Chiefs
  • International Association of Fire Chiefs
  • International Association of Fire Fighters
  • International Association of Flight & Critical Care Paramedics
  • National Association of County & City Health Officials
  • National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians
  • National Association of EMS Educators
  • National Association of EMS Physicians
  • National Association of State EMS Officials
  • National Collegiate EMS Foundation
  • National EMS Management Association
  • National Fire Protection Association
  • National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians
  • National Volunteer Fire Council

It was important that all organizations involved with EMS had an opportunity to provide input to this effort. Although the Stakeholder Working Group size was limited, an Organizational Liaison Group was created to provide a path for multiple entities to engage in the discussion. The organizations below were invited to assign a representative to participate in this group. Liaison responsibilities included attending three facilitated meetings and participating in public comment periods.

  • Air & Surface Transport Nurses Association
  • Air Medical Physician Association
  • Ambulance Manufacturers Division of the NTEA
  • American Academy of Emergency Medicine
  • American College of Cardiology
  • American Heart Association
  • American Public Health Association
  • American Red Cross
  • American Society for Testing and Materials
  • American Trauma Society
  • Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials
  • Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
  • California Paramedic Foundation
  • Center for Patient Safety
  • Commission on Accreditation for Pre-Hospital Continuing Education
  • Community Paramedicine Association and Registry
  • International Academies of Emergency Dispatch
  • International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • International Association of Emergency Managers
  • International City/County Managers Association
  • International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • International Association of Emergency Managers
  • International City/County Managers Association
  • International Paramedic Registry
  • International Trauma Life Support
  • National Association for Search and Rescue
  • National Association of State 911 Administrators
  • National Emergency Management Association
  • National Emergency Number Association
  • National EMS Pilots Association
  • National League of Cities
  • National Native American EMS Association
  • National Rural Health Association
  • National Safety Council
  • Paramedic Health Solutions
  • Paramedic Network
  • Parent Heart Watch
  • Prehospital Care Research Forum
  • Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation