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Jay Fitch receives NAEMT’s Lifetime Achievement Award

He accepted the association’s prestigious honor on Nov. 10 at its annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

CLINTON, Miss. — Joseph “Jay” Fitch, Ph.D. was presented with the 2014 Rocco V. Morando Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT). This is NAEMT’s most prestigious award and recognizes a lifetime of commitment and contributions to emergency medical services. This award is generously sponsored by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).

Jay Fitch has had an impressive career driven by his passion for education, public safety and enhancing the EMS profession. Spanning nearly 45 years, he began his career as a volunteer firefighter in Virginia, became a police officer in Missouri, emergency medical technician in Washington, D.C. and later, one of the first certified Paramedics in South Carolina. In 1979, he advanced into management, operations and consulting positions, where he left his mark with improved systems, enhanced clinical performance, and program design.

Currently, a partner and officer with varied EMS groups, Fitch is widely recognized as the pioneer of Fitch & Associates, a company started in 1984 to provide management and information services to healthcare, government and professional associations.

“Jay Fitch embodies the passion and dedication of our nation’s EMS that has — and will — inspire future generations, said Severo “Tré” Rodriguez, executive director of NREMT. “My predecessor, Rocco, would be proud to have Jay be given this prestigious award. Thank you for your leadership and commitment to our nation’s EMS.”

Known for an understated but hands-on consulting approach, Fitch’s enthusiasm for EMS has contributed to his lengthy list of achievements, including a master’s degree in public administration from Missouri’s Webster University; leading the turnaround of a troubled EMS system and being named EMS Director in St. Louis, Mo. at the young age of 24; inspiring thousands of EMS leaders through lectures and articles; bringing together our nation’s EMS thought leaders as program chair of the Pinnacle Leadership Conference; serving as author and editor of highly respected reports and publications; and developing learning programs for EMS supervisors and managers. In the early 1980s, Fitch was also instrumental in helping NAEMT transition into an independent national association.

Two founding partners at Fitch & Associates made the following comments. Richard (Rick) Keller said, “Jay’s journey through EMS has extended beyond four decades and around the world. He continues to be passionately committed to improving emergency services for both the patient and the caregiver.”

Christine Zalar continued, “to know Jay is to be consumed by his passion and vision for improving EMS. He has been a driver of leading-edge solutions to problems not yet even fully understood. Jay’s commitment to leadership development has been unwavering since the firm launched. His message to caregivers, clients, students, and colleagues has not changed: “First, take care of the patient — we’ll figure out the rest from there.”

Named after the inaugural recipient and founding NAEMT member, Rocco V. Morando, the Lifetime Achievement Award was first presented 30 years ago in Mississippi. This year’s presentation in Nashville, Tenn. was made on November 10 during NAEMT’s General Membership Meeting. This signature event, held during the NAEMT Annual Meeting, celebrates accomplishments and recognizes the contributions of members toward the success of the association and the betterment of the EMS profession.

“I’ve worked with Jay for decades and with every year, gain more respect for the vision, talent and dedication he brings to our EMS profession,” said NAEMT President Don Lundy. “He’s never lost sight of the importance of EMS to our communities, and has worked tirelessly to help strengthen infrastructures and mentor leadership — all to make EMS systems work better. It is a distinct pleasure to announce Jay Fitch as the recipient of the 2014 Rocco V. Morando Lifetime Achievement Award.”

The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) is the only national membership association for EMS practitioners, including Paramedics, EMTs, First Responders, and other professionals working in prehospital emergency medicine. More than 30,000 NAEMT members work in all sectors of EMS, including government third service agencies, fire departments, hospital-based ambulance services, private companies, industrial and special operations settings and in the military. NAEMT is the united voice representing all EMS practitioners on the issues that matter most. For more information, visit