University of Arizona EMS - The History


            University of Arizona Student EMS (UASEMS) was an idea catalyzed in fall of 2010. Three founders - Melissa Ludgate, Justin Friedenthal, and Brandon Murphy met at Starbucks in the university bookstore to discuss what would become a leading and progressive collegiate EMS organization. By the end of the semester, UASEMS was beginning to form with the additional help of cofounders and department leaders Matt Darrow (founding Chief of Training), Laura Hanson (founding Chief of Operations) and Joey Menke (founding Chief of Personnel).


            UASEMS was first recognized as a club through the University of Arizona. However, it was quickly realized that providing emergency medical services to students on campus was not just a hobby but a profession. After a full year of work, UASEMS acquired medical direction from University of Arizona Medical Center. UASEMS began officially responding to 9-1-1 medical emergencies on campus in March of 2012. Operating hours were limited to 7pm – 2am Thur-Sat. Headquarters were based out of the student government office located in the student union memorial center. During the first semester in service all responders utilized EMS equipped bicycles and limited medical equipment to respond to emergency calls.


            In December of 2013, under the direction of Chief Brandon Murphy, the University of Arizona Student EMS made an official transition from a club to a recognized EMS service of the University of Arizona. UASEMS became University EMS (UEMS). UEMS began responding 24 hours, seven days a week and changed from utilizing EMS equipped bicycles to a student government electric golf cart. Due to the high volume of calls and consistent use, the electric powered vehicle was not practical for emergency response. UEMS soon acquired its own gas powered utility cart for 911 response. The dependability of the vehicle ensured UEMS responded to every call, every time.


             During the fall of 2014, under Chief Joey Menke, UEMS moved to a new location - a 24-hour EMS station with sleeping quarters, office space, and a day room located in the bottom floor of Kaibab-Huachuca dormitory. This station became the primary headquarters for UEMS response. The following semester, under Chief Matt Darrow, UEMS established Pima County Wireless Integrated Network (PCWIN) city and county dispatch systems into the UEMS organization communications model. During the fall of 2015, under Chief Zach Saxman, UEMS acquired a medically equipped Chevy Suburban. This rapid response vehicle became the primary mode for 9-1-1 response. The gas powered utility cart was maintained as a second unit for event and standby operations.  In the fall of 2016, under Chief Samantha Roberts, UEMS was recognized as a BLS unit for the City of Tucson and became the first collegiate EMS agency in the nation to receive dispatch information through the local fire department’s CAD (computer aided dispatch) system.


             In 2017, UEMS transitioned under an administrative partnership between the Associated Students of the University of Arizona (ASUA) and the Campus Health Service (CHS) while maintaining medical direction from Banner University Medical Center. UEMS increased its' integration into the UA infrastructure and became University of Arizona EMS (UAEMS). 


             UAEMS' remarkable growth has led to many firsts for collegiate EMS in an extremely short time span. University of Arizona EMS began as an idea around a coffee table and is now a leading collegiate EMS agency serving the University of Arizona campus. With countless hours of hard work, sleepless nights, and persistence, the founders' goal has been accomplished.


      Melissa Ludgate     Justin Friedenthal     Brandon Murphy

Matthew Darrow     Laura Hanson     Joseph Menke