Remembering EMS leader, icon and visionary, Dr. Craig Manifold

EMS leaders reflect on Manifold’s dedication to civilian and military EMS, and his commitment to giving back


The EMS community has suffered a great loss today, as Dr. Craig Manifold passed away. An EMS medical director and assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Health Sciences, School of Health Professions at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Dr. Manifold was also the medical director for the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), and a retired brigadier general with the Air National Guard.

A NAEMT statement described Dr. Manifold as “a true patriot on and off the battlefield, seeking to unite people and organizations in the interest of providing better medical care.”

We asked EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board members, columnists and contributors to share their tributes to reflect on Dr. Manifold’s legacy. Here’s what they had to say. Our condolences go out to Dr. Manifold’s family, friends and colleagues.

The EMS profession received another gut punch today with the devastating news of the passing of Dr. Craig Manifold.

A servant's heart

Dr. Manifold was one of the brightest clinical and tactical minds in EMS. When engaging in a conversation with Dr. Manifold, you could see the fire and passion in his eyes about the clinical side of EMS. He also had a servant’s heart in every respect. 

Dr. Manifold’s presence in the EMS profession was prolific.  e was involved and committed to so many aspects of EMS and always more than willing to step up, volunteer for initiatives, and then actually get it done!

A constant advocate for military relations, education, advocacy and public policy, Dr. Manifold’s depth of knowledge was balanced perfectly with his sincere interest in people. He would be equally interested in a conversation about assuring clinical competency for EMS professionals, as he would be discussing your family’s most recent vacation.

He was also often the voice of reason during challenging conversations. It was not uncommon for Dr. Manifold to insightfully build a communication bridge, bringing disparate thoughts and people together for a united cause.  

Dr. Manifold’s profound impact on the EMS profession cannot be overstated – his legacy will live on through the numerous educational programs he’s helped develop and implement, as well has his example of service to others!

Matt Zavadsky, MS-HSA, EMT, chief strategic integration officer MedStar Mobile Healthcare in Fort Worth, Texas; and president, NAEMT 

A sage and steady mentor

Craig Manifold was a friend, mentor and confidant. His all-too-short 57 years on this earth were filled with amazing contributions to EMS, the military, emergency medicine, science, research and his wonderful family.  I, among many, am heartbroken. To me, and I'm certain many others, Craig was a sage and steady mentor, one with words of wisdom, sometimes encouragement, and other times, caution with my well-known tendency to push the limits of every endeavor. He was also a genuine friend, one of the rare decent human beings who I so much enjoyed meeting for a scotch and a fine cigar. Craig was entirely unassuming and, in the many national groups and committees we together served on, would often say, "I'm here to do whatever you need me to." His legacy is one I could only wish to rival and, without question, will serve many generations to come. Godspeed to Dr. Craig Manifold.

— Mike McEvoy, PhD, NRP, RN, CCRN, Saratoga County, New York, EMS coordinator; chair, IAFC EMS Section; and treasurer, National Registry of EMTs

A true patriot and friend

Dr. Craig Manifold was both a colleague and a friend. Craig served the EMS profession well and his country with pride. To me he was also “General Manifold,” as an Air National Guard Brigadier General and former active-duty medical officer, he was a true patriot and was able to bring his experience of military medicine to the civilian world. He was an enthusiast of all things EMS and I interviewed him many times, most recently just last week where he very kindly agreed to assist to play the medical director to my investigative reporter to record a segment on ketamine to assist leaders in the event of a media call on this politically charged issue. Craig knew all too well that politics can trump common sense and was keen to get in front on that particular issue. 

He was also a great proponent of advocacy and walking the hill to promote our industry and its own health and well-being. He was a regular speaker at the internationally acclaimed Gathering of Eagles each year and was a willing contributor to all areas of EMS education and development across the nation. His voice and knowledgeable views have been heard by us all and we will remember him. Both the military and civilian EMS community has lost a friend, mentor, educator, medical director and general, and he will be missed by many. He is now soaring above us like the true eagle that he is. Rest in peace brother.

Rob Lawrence, executive director, California Ambulance Association; chair, American Ambulance Association Communications Committee

Thank you for your service

Dr. Craig Manifold, in addition to being the NAEMT medical director, served EMS in and around San Antonio, Texas. Manifold was the EMS medical director for UT Health San Antonio, and his Twitter banner has the patches or insignias of 13 police, fire, EMS and air medical agencies. I admire and appreciate his career of service to his country, public safety and those in need of emergency medical care. I regret not having taken the opportunity to tell him in life, "thank you for your service."

 — Greg Friese, MS, NRP, editorial director, Lexipol

Setting the standard

Dr. Manifold set the standards for dedication, commitment and professionalism for the EMS career field. I had the pleasure of getting to know Dr. Manifold and working with him a number of times. He was always a teacher and a role model, and set the standards for others to follow. This is a big loss for our career field and a hole that will not be filled any time soon.

Chris Cebollero, President/CEO, Cebollero & Associates

A powerful vision

Today is a sad day in the EMS Community as we’ve lost an industry leader, icon and visionary. Dr. Craig Manifold was a force to be reckoned with; matching his physical size to his powerful vision. And yet, equally inspiring was Dr. Manifold’s commitment to EMS excellence and his loyalty to the U.S. Military’s medical operations. Dr. Craig A. Manifold, Brigadier General (BVT), retired, spent his career giving back to EMS – as a volunteer firefighter EMT, medic in the U.S. Air Force, emergency physician and EMS medical director, and an expert in emergency, critical care and military deployment medicine. Thank you for your service, Dr. Craig Manifold. We’ll take it from here.

Kris Kaull, chief marketing officer for Pulsara, EMS1 co-founder, flight paramedic

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