Pro EMS Medical Director Dr. Gary Setnik Receives Two Teaching Awards From Harvard Medical School

For the past 20 years, Dr. Gary Setnik, South Middlesex EMS (SMEMS) Medical Director, has helped Harvard Medical School students prepare for the realities of their careers as physicians by teaching a course on Emergency Medical Care. His dedication to the students was recognized by the school this year with the granting of two awards.
 
Setnik shared The Best Clinical Teacher at Mount Auburn Award as well as the Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching, established in memory of Charles McCabe, M.D. Setnik’s accomplishments were recognized at both Harvard Medical School’s graduation and at the school’s Faculty Awards ceremony in June.
 
The Emergency Medical Care course, currently Harvard Medical School’s second-largest elective, was created about 40 years ago at the behest of students who wanted more experience with the practical application of their skills before becoming interns.
 
With that objective in mind, when Setnik took over the course, he employed a variety of teaching tools to help the medical students get ready for emergency situations they might encounter as house officers. The activities range from lectures that can be accessed online; to case- and procedure-based simulation training; to the use of an online textbook -– which Setnik created himself.
 
“I have received notes from many students over the years telling me how helpful certain elements of the course were to them in their subsequent training years,” he said.
 
One former student – called upon to assist a fellow airline traveler who suddenly became ill – later thanked Setnik for teaching them how to handle emergencies in flight.
 
Part of Setnik’s class also involved paramedics from Pro EMS, who were asked to teach and certify the students in BLS and ACLS.
 
“The [Pro EMS] paramedics are outstanding instructors – truly amazing,” he said. “I would not have received these two awards had it not been for the participation of those individuals.”
 
In his role as SMEMS Medical Director, Setnik provides medical oversight to the local area’s EMS organizations, including Cambridge, Belmont, Arlington, Watertown and Lexington. He credits Chris Kerley, director of the Pro EMS Center for MEDICS, for the high caliber of its providers.
 
“Chris is one of the primary reasons our training has been so successful. He has the highest standards, and that shows in every one of the medics and in their techniques.”
 
Having worked at both Harvard Medical School and Mt. Auburn Hospital for 32 years, Setnik currently serves as the Department of Emergency Medicine Chair at Mt. Auburn Hospital. He is also an assistant professor at the medical school.
 
As SMEMS Medical Director, Setnik’s responsibilities include participating in quality assurance programs, signing off on medics’ credentials, and leading monthly morbidity and mortality rounds with SMEMS Executive Director John Conceison.
 
Setnik and his wife live in Winchester, MA. They have three children, one of whom is an emergency physician in New Hampshire. They also have four grandchildren.
 

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