Paramedicine program changes leadership

This summer, the Cochise College Paramedicine program welcomes a new director to the team, and it’s a prospect that has been bittersweet for the department.

The move was decided after Cochise College saw room for growth in the program, which is an endeavor that could potentially lead to more opportunities for students but would mean a larger time commitment for the Director of the Paramedicine program.

Joshua Meeker is the former Paramedicine Director who worked part time at Cochise College. The former director also serves at Sierra Vista Fire and Medical Services as the fire captain and has worked there for the past 25 years. He says the change was needed.

“The program has really gained a lot of momentum in the last several years to the point where it needs growth that a part-time person cannot give it. It needs more attention than that so I’m really excited about handing it off and seeing it grow further,” said Meeker.

Since 1970 the program has educated many of the local emergency response EMTs and paramedics including the new Paramedicine Director, Bruno Talerico.

Talerico has a long history in the community as he comes to the position with more than 40 years of experience. The new director earned his EMT license at Cochise College in 1977 and before he accepted his position as full time Director of the Paramedicine Program, Talerico worked at the college as an instructor in nursing.

Talerico and Meeker learned last year that the program was up for accreditation. Talerico said the preparation process is like a continuing self-study report containing a top to bottom, front to back, analysis of the program which goes over faculty’s qualifications, enrollment numbers, student success rates and the post-graduate success rates.

“They told us we were up for accreditation and our site visit would be in about a year so we needed to start preparing,” said Meeker. “We submit the report, it gets their executive analysis; the site visitors come to the facility to verify the report.”

Although the process could have potentially been difficult during this transition period, Talerico said it was quite the contrary, and instead, he made use of the in-depth analysis, required by the accreditation process, in order to learn about the program.

“I am coming in with a lot of strengths that I would have to learn on my own in other circumstances. From a learning standpoint, I got to go through the whole process with Josh, so I have a much more solid understanding of how the program works,” said Talerico.

The accreditation process will continue on through this year, with final results to be dispersed in early 2018. Meeker says the accreditation site visit went extremely well as they received zero violations.

“As an observer, I can say that I appreciate all of Josh’s hard work. That is going to make my job a lot easier because I am coming into a program on solid ground,” said Talerico.

“He is bringing a lot to the table too. For the last 40 years, he has bookends of EMT certification and in the middle there has been nothing but emergency medicine and teaching to paramedics who want to continue education. Bruno’s resume is very impressive so he is going to be bringing a lot to the program. Just him alone,” said Meeker.

Though Meeker admitted to feeling bittersweet about leaving his position, he stressed the fact that he believes Talerico is the right guy for the job. The two hope to continue to keep in contact as they both guide students and paramedics in the workforce.