Student medical group petitions for increased emergency medical services


Source: Sophia Settle

Members of Northwestern Emergency Medicine Organization and NU athletic trainers at Dance Marathon. More than 200 students have signed a petition to expand NEMO’s medical services on campus.

Ally Mauch, Assistant Campus Editor

A petition to expand medical services on campus received more than 200 signatures as of Tuesday night, said Weinberg junior Sophia Settle, the petition’s author.

The petition — addressed to the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of Risk Management, the Office of the General Counsel, University Police and Northwestern University Health Service — calls for the University to allow a squad of student emergency medical technicians to respond to calls on campus. The petition also requested that an EMT course be offered to students.

Settle, co-president of Northwestern Emergency Medicine Organization, said the emergency medicine interest group wants to expand its services at NU.

“Anyone who has talked to me for five minutes knows emergency medical services is my passion, my love, my life,” Settle said. “For the past eight months, I’ve been working to set up an EMT (basic) training course and squad on Northwestern’s campus, but I’ve faced quite a bit of resistance from University administration.”

NEMO is currently composed of EMTs and general members, but does not offer an EMT course, Settle said. Though the organization has offered some services on campus, providing medical support at Dance Marathon for the past two years, Settle said the goal is to eventually be the University’s primary emergency response group.

Settle said the petition will serve as a way to let administrators know that there are many students at NU who advocate for EMT courses in addition to having an on-campus EMT squad.

Kelly Schaefer, assistant vice president for student engagement, said her office has been communicating with NEMO since Spring Quarter.

“We’ve been working with NEMO … to hear about what their student group offers in terms of what services they want to bring to the Northwestern community,” Schaefer said. “I really appreciate the advocacy that this student organization has displayed for themselves.”

Schaefer added that she looks forward to continue working with the organization.

Weinberg junior Casey Benzaken, a member of NEMO, said being in the group allows her to take what she learns in premedical courses and apply it in a practical way.

“Emergency medicine in general is a really interesting thing that students are able to get involved with,” Benzaken said. “I felt a disconnect between being a premed in my premed classes and actual medicine, and I think NEMO bridges that gap because you get the first-hand experience.”

Benzaken said it is “exciting” to see students supporting the group’s goal by signing the petition.

Settle said the student EMT squad could help those who do not know who to call in an emergency or who choose not to call because they fear retribution.

“I want to make sure there is never a situation in which a student needs medical attention but for whatever reason … is scared to seek it out,” Settle said. “I believe students should have every medical resource available to them, and an on-campus EMT squad would provide students with faster, more approachable medical response during campus emergencies.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @allymauch