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2023 Vanguard Award Winners Announced


Amanda Riordan
Vice President, Membership

American Ambulance Association Announces Inaugural Vanguard Award Winners

Washington D.C. – The American Ambulance Association (AAA) is proud to announce the winners of the inaugural Vanguard Awards. The Vanguards honor those who blazed the trail for fellow women EMS professionals, and the 23 winners represent a diverse group of dedicated individuals who have made significant contributions to mobile healthcare.

“We are thrilled to recognize these trailblazers who have paved the way for women in EMS,” said Randy Strozyk, President of AAA. “Their dedication, perseverance, and commitment to excellence have not only elevated their own careers but have also helped to advance the entire profession.”

Lori Burns | National Vice President of Learning, Global Medical Response | Denver, Colorado
Denise Carson | President, Med-Tech EMS | Morrilton, Arkansas
Sherry Carson | President, Monticello Ambulance Service, Inc. | Monticello, Arkansas
Diana Cataldo | Founder/Treasurer, Cataldo Ambulance Service, Inc | Middleton, Massachusetts
Cindy Elbert | President, Cindy Elbert Insurance Services, Inc. | Peoria, Arizona
Linda Frederiksen | Executive Director, MEDIC EMS | Davenport, Iowa
Dia Gainor | Executive Director, National Association of EMS Officials (NASEMSO) | Falls Church, Virginia
Debby Gault | Retired/Consultant, AMR | Waterford, Wisconsin
Dr. Marianne Gausche-Hill | Medical Director, Los Angeles County EMS Agency | Santa Fe Springs, California
Blanche Hill | Co-Founder, Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Service, Inc. | Elmhurst, Illinois
Kristine Kern | Paramedic Professor, San Jacinto College | San Jacinto, Texas
Susan Long | Vice President, Emergency Medical Services, Allina Health EMS | St. Paul, Minnesota
Tracey Loscar | Deputy Director, MatSu Borough EMS | Palmer, Alaska
Pam McBeath | President/ CEO, Balentine Ambulance Service Inc. | Shreveport, Louisiana
Susan McHenry | EMS Director (Retired), State of Virginia | Highlands Ranch, Colorado (Honored Posthumously)
Carol Meyer | Director, Government Relations, McCormick Ambulance | Compton, California
Carol Pafford | Vice President Emeritus, Pafford Medical Services | Hope, Arkansas
Jamie Pafford-Gresham | President/CEO, Pafford Medical Services | Hope, Arkansas
Helen Pierson | Chief Executive Officer, Medic Ambulance | Vallejo, California
Julie Rose | Director of Policy & Advocacy, Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Service, Inc. | Ashtabula, Ohio
Lauren Rubinson | Founder and CEO, MedEx Ambulance Service | Skokie, Illinois
Janet Smith | Owner and President, On Assignment | San Diego, California
Debbie Vass | Chief Administrative Officer, Sunstar Paramedics | Largo, Florida

The Vanguard Awards are presented in collaboration with Women in Emergency Services (WiES), a newly-founded organization dedicated to supporting and advancing women’s careers in the emergency services industry through empowerment, networking, mentorship, and education.

The winners will receive complimentary registration to the American Ambulance Association Annual Conference & Trade Show in Las Vegas on June 26-28, 2023. They will also be recognized at the President’s Reception on the evening of June 27, and their profiles will be featured on the AAA website and social media.

“The Vanguard Awards celebrate the accomplishments of women who have broken down barriers and opened doors for future generations,” said Strozyk. “We are proud to honor their legacy.”

About the American Ambulance Association

The American Ambulance Association safeguards the future of mobile healthcare through advocacy, thought leadership, and education. AAA advances sustainable EMS policy, empowering its members to serve their communities with high-quality on-demand healthcare. For more than 40 years, AAA has proudly represented those who care for people first.

2023, Annual Conference & Trade Show, Vanguard Award

Amanda Riordan

Amanda Riordan serves as the Vice President of Membership of the American Ambulance Association. She joined AAA as Director of Membership in May of 2015. She has 15+ years of progressive experience in non-profit operations, membership development, marketing, operations, and credentialing.

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