Clarkson University Awarded $412,500 Grant to Expand First Responder Training Programs

POTSDAM, NY, Dec. 21, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Clarkson University has been awarded $412,500 from the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that will support the education necessary to address the EMS healthcare crisis in the North Country.

“This $400,000 in federal funding is just what the doctor ordered for the Lewis School of Health Sciences to help take Clarkson’s healthcare workforce education to the next level. In combination with the $7-plus million I delivered to the Lewis School last year, this award will help Clarkson grow their nationally renowned rural healthcare training programs by adding four simulation labs to better train EMT and paramedic students,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, D-NY. “This will help combat healthcare worker shortages in the North Country by training new emergency healthcare workers and is the shot in the arm St. Lawrence County needs to help our communities build a better future.”

“Clarkson University and our Lewis School of Health Sciences strive to have an impact on our communities as well as the career trajectories of our students. In partnership with St. Lawrence Health, we are the provider of EMS training for our regional community and just launched a new paramedic training program,” said Marc P. Christensen, Ph.D., P.E. “In a more rural community, one of the greatest challenges in teaching clinical skills and scenarios is access to real patient populations during the learning process. With our federal and New York State partners supporting the NBRC and USDA initiatives, our development of simulation labs will allow our students and community first responders to encounter and practice real world scenarios with frequency.”

The 2023 Catalyst grant award funding will be used to develop a high fidelity training center for Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Paramedic education. The training center will allow Clarkson to train 300 EMTs and 60 paramedics over the next three years to fill open EMT and paramedic positions in the North Country.

“Many times in a rural setting, it can be difficult to educate EMS students in the field while lacking an urban call volume,” said Doug Wildermuth, Director of EMS & Experiential Learning at Clarkson. “This opportunity will enable us to recreate the frequency and realism of an EMS scenario with the student directing the care of each simulation and ultimately determine the outcome of the patient based on their treatment methods. These are excellent opportunities for our students to learn from.”

Using this funding to develop dedicated EMS simulation laboratories to train EMT and paramedic students and provide advanced training for certified professionals will increase the number of full time EMS providers in St. Lawrence County, which will result in a decreased Emergency Medical Services (EMS) response time and decreased call turnover in the county.

Clarkson’s existing programs, which include EMT and Continuing Medical Education (CME), have provided educational training for 136 new EMTs and 321 certified EMS providers in the past 12 months, with the largest impacts in St. Lawrence, Franklin, and Jefferson counties.

Recently, Clarkson hosted its first Paramedic Program Open House - Advancing Rural Healthcare Solutions. The program’s open house featured Clarkson’s first cohort of Paramedic students and the faculty and partners in Clarkson’s healthcare network dedicated to this new program.

Critical to the success of the grant application was the work done to create schematic designs of the simulation labs as part of the Clarkson Civil & Environmental Engineering capstone course in the Spring of 2023.  

Sixteen students, including Haley Meshcon ‘23, working for Pike Construction at the nearby Canton-Potsdam Hospital expansion, Sean Donnelly ‘23, and Lydia Day ‘23 developed drawings and specifications for the labs, working closely with the Lewis School leadership and faculty to ensure they are forward leaning inclusive of the latest medical technology.  

“The opportunity to help design such an impactful project for healthcare in Northern NY is so meaningful to me,” said Meshcon.

Learn more about Clarkson’s Paramedic Program by visiting