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STATE EARNS NATIONAL HERO'S AWARD

Distinction goes to Tennessee's emergency program for children.

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Tennessee's Emergency Medical Service for Children (EMSC) project has been honored with a 2002 State Achievement Award. EMSC is part of a national initiative designed to reduce child and youth disability and death due to severe illness or injury.

Tennessee EMSC received the National Hero's Award in a Dallas meeting of representatives of the federally funded program.

"Emergency care is different for children. Children need different-size equipment and they are monitored differently," says Rhonda Phillippi, executive director of the Children's Emergency Care Alliance, a nonprofit organization that supports the EMSC mission in the state.

The presentation coincides with National EMS week, May 19-25, which celebrates 30 years of emergency medical services.

"We are proud that Tennessee's EMSC efforts have been recognized with this award," said Phillippi. "The award is important because only one or two are given each year, and this is only the fifth year that awards have been distributed."

Tennessee's EMSC program began in 1994. Four years later, the state passed legislation to ensure quality emergency pediatric care. As a result, partnerships have been established with the Rural Health Association of Tennessee and the Tennessee Hospital Association to provide grants for education and equipment for 54 of the state's primarily rural counties.

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