Dr. Paul Pepe
Paul E. Pepe, MD, MPH, is a life-long academician, public health and public safety leader and a longstanding governmental public servant who has pioneered many multi-disciplinary advances in critical care, emergency services and disaster medicine over the past four decades. He continues to remain a highly-prolific and globally-respected leader in the realms of resuscitation research, emergency medical services (EMS), public health crises, disaster response and now event / mass gathering medicine.
Currently, Dr. Pepe not only serves as the Emergency Medical Services and Public Safety Medical Director for Dallas County government in Dallas, Texas, but also as Medical Director for Research, Education and Special Operations for numerous south Florida public safety agencies including those serving the jurisdictions of Broward, Palm Beach and Polk counties as well as the municipalities of Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Davie, Hollywood, Sunrise, Coral Springs and Parkland. This also includes support for the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Port Everglades and the Broward Sheriff’s Office S.W.A.T. team.
Most notably, he is the founder, program director and perennial moderator for the world-renowned EMS State of the Science: Gathering of Eagles conferences and, in turn, he serves as the global coordinator for the affiliated metropolitan EMS medical directors alliance and their day-to-day networking as discussed below.
Prior to his current focus on public health and public safety roles, he also spent two decades as an academic and administrative chair for medical school-affiliated Emergency Medicine (EM) programs at both the Medical College of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern) at Dallas. While in these positions, he had overall financial and programmatic oversight of the affiliated EM residency and fellowship programs (e.g., toxicology, EMS, ultrasound, disaster and event medicine) and the appointed faculty members and Division Chiefs. He not only helped to develop and steward the formal approval of two highly-successful EM residency programs (Dallas and Austin), but he also founded one of the original EMS fellowships as early as the 1980s. He has since mentored and trained dozens of EMS fellows and associate EMS medical directors who have now gone on to be quite successful in their own right.
More specifically, Dr. Pepe has worked as a full-time medical school faculty member for the past four decades and he rapidly achieved and further held tenured status for more than 30 years. He most recently retired (fall 2019) from the UT Southwestern School of Medicine in Dallas where he had spent the past two decades as a tenured Professor of Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, Public Health and also as the Riggs Family Chair in Emergency Medicine (EM). In conjunction with his academic and administrative duties, he also provided supervising attending physician services at the Parkland Hospital Emergency-Trauma Center for Dallas County, where, for many years, he also had oversight of about 150 faculty members and resident staff caring daily for hundreds of acutely ill and injured. He remains an adjunct Professor of Public Health in the Department of Management, Policy and Community Health at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center School of Public Health in Houston, Texas – and continues to be an award-winning prolific researcher.
A protégé of Drs. Michael Copass and Leonard Cobb, the legendary medical directors of the renowned Seattle EMS system, he served in the 1970s as a “street doctor” for Seattle who was responsible evaluating the performance of the EMS system’s highly-trained paramedics as an adjunct to his own primary role in creating innovative research in the realm of critical care medicine. Later, in the 1980s, he was recruited to the City of Houston, Texas, to become its inaugural Director of the Houston Emergency Medical Services System with a charge to drive similar advances in out-of-hospital resuscitative care. Under his leadership, Houston EMS crews dramatically increased the survival rates for both cardiac arrest and critical trauma patients while also simultaneously championing several other successful public health initiatives through paramedic on-scene surveillance and documentation for various causes of morbidity and mortality, including those for childhood drowning incidents and firearm injuries. These successes were largely accomplished by forging and continually innovating emergency care procedures, starting with 9-1-1 dispatch office functions and highly-choreographed innovative interventions on-scene to advanced intra-transport techniques and even modifying the receiving facilities’ management of the most critically ill and injured patients.
An omnipresent responder on the streets of Houston over the next decade, he rapidly became a role model for the future American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) subspecialty of out-of-hospital emergency care practice (EMS) for which he co-founded the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP) and helped to establish the first training fellowships in EMS. NAEMSP later became the new subspecialty’s professional society and it continues to promote current practice standards and advocacy for EMS. Dr. Pepe was not only the first nationally-elected President of NAEMSP, but he has since founded numerous premier educational offerings that have now trained thousands of newly-appointed and future EMS medical directors. Simultaneously, in the 1980s, Dr. Pepe also pioneered best practices for multi-casualty incident (MCI) management, law enforcement tactical medicine concepts and mass gathering healthcare preparedness. In addition, he brought clinical trials to the field environment.
Formally publishing the results of novel, scientifically-proven interventions and the associated increases in survival rates, he captured the attention of those responsible for care of high-level protectees including medical care provided for the President of the United States. Eventually designated as the Emergency Medicine and Trauma Consultant to the White House Medical Unit by successive physicians to the President, he was also sought by other nations for his expertise in out-of-hospital and protective emergency care. In turn, he was recruited by leaders in other high-profile arenas including the National Basketball Association (NBA) Trainers (NBATA) and the chief security officers for several major entertainment tours and other mass gathering events.
Over the prior four decades, he has simultaneously served as both a renowned full-time medical school faculty member and as a high-ranking state and/or local government official including services as the Commonwealth Emergency Medical Director for Pennsylvania in the 1990s during the administration of Governor Tom Ridge and later as the City of Dallas Director of Medical Emergency Services for Public Health, Public Safety and Homeland Security (2000-2015). In both of these positions, he successfully merged and leveraged the scientific assets of the medical institutions with the public service aspects of the respective governmental entities for improved public health security and safety.
Today, as the longstanding coordinator of the Metropolitan EMS (9-1-1 system) Medical Directors global alliance, he actively leads a de facto physician coalition consisting of the medical final decision-makers for medical preparedness, training and patient care protocols for the 50 or so largest U.S. cities as well as their European metropolitan counterparts (e.g., London, Paris, Berlin, Milan, Amsterdam, etc.) and those of several other nations worldwide (including Australia). The de facto alliance is rounded out by medical directors from key federal agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service and FBI. With this alliance, he has not only helped to establish local contacts and medical advance plans for major events and other special operations, but, more critically, he facilitates real-time communications and rapid changes in best practices for stroke, cardiac and trauma resuscitation worldwide as well as just-in-time directives and training for national crises (e.g. COVID-19, Ebola and post-Katrina landfall events).
Simultaneously, he has fostered the development of civilian tactical medical response and even S.W.A.T. doctors being incorporated into law enforcement tactical response and the development of toxicological, environmental and travel medicine expertise for mass gathering care providers. With this recognized expertise and experience, he has been requested to be an imbedded physician for large entertainment tours (e.g., U2) and, over the years, he has assisted with developing the contingency medical advance plans for tours like the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Lady Gaga and others.
As previously alluded, Dr. Pepe has held key leadership support roles in major U.S. disasters including hurricane Katrina, the Dallas police ambush shootings and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School tragedy in Parkland, Florida. For the Parkland event, he had been serving as medical director for special operations for both the Broward Sheriff’s Office (S.W.A.T.) and the Coral Springs/Parkland Fire Rescue Department (EMS) components. Fortuitously, a little more than hour prior to the MSD shootings, he had just finished relevant training with the S.W.A.T. medics regarding some specialized triage techniques for MCIs. He subsequently helped the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services develop a now-published update regarding recommended triage strategies for mass casualty and active assailant events (“Mass Casualty Trauma Triage: Paradigms and Pitfalls”).
Beyond his out-of-hospital emergency care and disaster medicine activities, he is an extremely distinguished academician with nearly 500 full-length published scientific papers, including many landmark publications such as the original “Chain of Survival” treatise, the first description and measurement of Auto-PEEP, permissive hypotension in trauma, re-appraisal of mouth-to-mouth breathing for bystander CPR, the Chicago airport AED study, on-scene management of pediatric cardiac arrest and the first clinical translation of “heads-up CPR”. In the past two years, he has personally presented more than a dozen scientific papers at major national and international meetings including those with best abstract recognitions from major professional societies. Most recently, he has received back-to-back (2020 and 2021) Star Research Achievements from the Society of Critical of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) for his scientific presentations and the 2021 Best Poster Award from NAEMSP covering a multitude of disciplines.
He is best renowned for a grass-roots, street-wise style in planning, implementing and overseeing a systems approach to saving lives, both operationally and through more than two dozen successful clinical trials. In turn, his programs have consistently resulted in some of the highest cardiac arrest and trauma survival rates worldwide and he eventually became an inaugural steering committee member for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) PULSE initiative and the NIH’s subsequent Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (ROC). The ROC eventually produced dozens of major ground-breaking studies and spin-off work he later authored. Similarly, he co-chaired and wrote the executive summary for the NIH’s ground-breaking national stroke plan in 2002 (Ensuring the Chain of Recovery for Stroke) and a similar treatise for the 1st World Congress on Drowning Task Force on Resuscitation.
Over the past several years, his vanguard research efforts in Florida have helped to introduce innovative clinical studies, including those that helped to immediately double one’s chances of survival following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (e.g., in Palm Beach County). He also helped to establish one of the highest reported survival rates for children with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (e.g., in Polk County). Along with Broward County colleagues, efforts are now underway to routinely bring whole blood to the civilian prehospital setting for trauma patients experiencing critical life-threatening conditions. He continues to author related publications or report the results of these important public health advances (and other successes based in the Florida communities) at major national and international conferences. In addition, as an award-winning speaker, he continues to be one of the most sought-after lecturers worldwide on EMS, out-of-hospital critical care, public health emergency crises and disaster medicine worldwide.
Beyond being recognized as a veteran medical leader in multiple U.S. disasters and as a co-founder of the National Disaster Life Support family of courses, he has been cited for heroism in the U.S. Congressional Record. He has frequently received national and international awards and commendations from numerous professional organizations across a myriad of disciplines. Board-certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary (Critical Care) Medicine, Emergency Medicine and the subspecialty of Emergency Medical Services, he has created a multi-specialty approach to research and education. Exemplary awards and honors have come from a spectrum of professional societies including the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (Excellence in Research), the Society for Critical Care Medicine and the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland. Designated as a Master of both the American College of Critical Care Medicine and the American College of Physicians (MCCM, MACP), he continues to lead many inter-disciplinary scientific panels for stroke, cardiac arrest, neuroprotection and EMS systems.
Several years ago, when receiving an award for lifetime achievements from the American College of Emergency Physicians, presented in Washington, D.C. by then U.S. Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, Dr. Pepe was already being cited as the most accomplished emergency medical services physician of our generation. He continues that legacy on a daily basis.
Paul E. Pepe, MD, MPH
National Emergency Medical, Trauma and Health Security Consultant
National Basketball Association Trainers Association (NBATA)
11318 Dujon Lane,
Dallas TX 75218-1390
Phone: 469 442 9382
Alternate Number: 469 995 1700