Victoria fire chief becomes head of state emergency medical advisory council

May 16, 2010 at 12:16 a.m.

Whenever Gov. Rick Perry is looking for some input on trauma and emergency medical services issues, Victoria Fire Chief Vance Riley is his new go-to man.

"It's a great honor, and it's very humbling," Riley said.

In February, Riley was re-appointed to the governor's Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Advisory Council for a term of six years and named council chairman.

This week in Austin, Riley will lead his second meeting as chairman. The board meets quarterly.

The council, founded in 1999, is comprised of 11 people from various medical and emergency sectors who are appointed to the council by the governor.

In addition to developing a strategic plan for statewide trauma and emergency management, Riley described what he thinks is the council's biggest accomplishment to date.

"The biggest accomplishment of the council has been to bring stakeholders from a variety of fields and interests from all across Texas into a process where everyone's needs are heard," Riley said. "Texas is a leader in this area."

Riley, who has already served on the council for four years, will become the council's second chairman since its inception, replacing Edward Racht, a well-known emergency room doctor and international EMS and trauma consultant.

"He provided great leadership for the entire state in trauma and EMS," Riley said. "There's a lot of pressure to maintain and improve what he started as chairperson."

Riley shared his thoughts on taking on his new position.

"I'm excited because I believe being appointed as chairperson reflects well on Victoria," he said. "I not only want to represent the Texas fire chiefs, but also our region at the state level."

Many people had positive things to say about Riley's new appointment.

"I think it's great for our area and it's a good accomplishment for him personally," said Carolyn Knox, the trauma program manager at Citizens Medical Center. "It's huge for our area to have him in that position."

Emergency services coordinator for Citizens Medical Center Robbie Kirk pointed out some issues he would like Riley to address as he takes on the position of chairperson.

"One of the main things, from the hospital side of things, is to maintain the funding we secured through the legislature for compensated trauma care," said Kirk, who also serves on the GETAC Disaster/Emergency Preparedness Committee.

Knox also had issues she hopes Riley and the council will address.

"I think that overall, awareness is an issue," said Knox, who also serves as the regional chairwoman for Texas Trauma Service Area S. "There needs to be an increased level of awareness and prevention and funding."

Specifically, Knox said more light needed to be shed on the issue of drunken driving.



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