When Gary Kleinman ’80 and Jennifer Yolles ’79 first proposed the formation of a campus emergency medical service staffed by trained and licensed students, their idea met with “significant opposition from administrators,” Kleinman remembers.But in 1977, they were allowed to organize a student club. Then, Kleinman recalls, “The blizzard of ’78 happened, and for the better part of a week, this small group of students was really the only emergency presence on the East Side of Providence.” When a student fractured her ankle badly after jumping into a snowbank from a third floor window, the volunteers located a snowmobile and a backboard and got her to the hospital. Brown EMS had arrived.
The group eventually got a license from the Rhode Island Department of Health and the University provided insurance. They started making rounds with mopeds and backpacks, treating everything from allergic reactions to a heart attack to a fall through a third-floor skylight.
“The only thing we never did was an emergency delivery,” Kleinman says, “though we came close a couple of times.” Today, Brown EMS has an ambulance and seventy student EMTs. EMS alums are invited to celebrate the 40th on Reunion Weekend—for info and to register, visit brown.edu/ems
Photo by Erik Gould