2023 Paramedic Competition finals held at Expo!
The Office of Emergency Medical Services, North Carolina College of Emergency Physicians, and North Carolina Association of EMS Curriculum Educators conducted the 31st Annual Paramedic Competition on April 30, 2023, at the Four Seasons Convention Center in Greensboro, NC. The winning teams from 5 regional preliminary sites competed against the 2022 defending champions.
2023 North Carolina Paramedic Competition Champions!
Pender EMS and Fire Inc.
McKenzie Shipp and Owen Feest
Overview of the NC Paramedic Competition
The North Carolina Paramedic Competition has been challenging participants since 1991. Every year two-person paramedic teams compete at 5 regional preliminary sites across the state with the winners earning the opportunity to advance to the finals held at the NCOEMS annual EM Today Conference. Teams are graded on professionalism, didactic knowledge and their clinical management as they face realistic scenarios, environments and simulations within a set time limit. The competition gives teams the opportunity to represent their agency on a statewide platform, and their hours of training improve the quality of patient care provided in their communities, benefiting the citizens and guests of North Carolina.
How it Works/Rules
Two person teams are registered by a North Carolina paramedic provider agency and compete in the preliminary competition. All entrants must be currently credentialed as a North Carolina paramedic and must remain affiliated with the agency which submitted their registration.
At the Preliminary Competition site teams are judged and scored in three categories: a practical scenario, a short written examination, and professionalism. Standing orders are assumed for all treatments for the scenario. The lead Judge will answer questions during the scenario, but will only confirm requested orders even though the requested order may be incorrect.
Judging criteria for the competition include the NC Medical Board Approved EMS Skills/Medications, PALS/PEPP Standards, US DOT NHTSA National EMS Education Standards, ACLS Standards, BCLS Standards, NC OSHA Standards, ITLS/PHTLS Standards, and 2022 NCCEP Standards for Medical Oversight and Data Collection.
Teams receiving the highest cumulative score at each of the five preliminary sites will advance to the finals along with the returning state champions from the previous year. The finals are held at the Expo in Greensboro, NC. The public is invited to attend the final competition.
Paramedic Competition judges
Karin L.H. Collom
Originally from California, Karin moved to NC during her high school years and attended Appalachian State University. While there, she took an EMT class on campus taught by Ed Browning and after observing in the ER, decided on a career as an ER nurse.
Karin moved to South Carolina and finished her associate degree in nursing, BS in Health Education from USC, Paramedic Certification and her Masters in Education from Furman. Karin’s love of pre-hospital emergency medicine and ER nursing led to a career as an RN in the ER at GHS and teaching paramedic programs for the State of SC.
It would be many years later that she would meet her husband, Matthew, at the South Carolina EMS Today conference while lecturing on Pediatric Emergencies. In the following years, Karin had the privilege of winning the SC Paramedic Competition (defeating the champion team of Rusty Hollingsworth) and was awarded National Paramedic Educator of the Year.
Karin has been the NC Paramedic Competition lead judge dating back to the very first event in 1991.
Alonzo W. Smith, Sr.
Alonzo W. Smith, Sr. is a graduate of Boggs Academy in Keysville, Georgia and Knoxville College in Knoxville Tennessee. After graduation he worked the majority of his professional career at the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control – Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division. He served as State Director of EMS for many years until his retirement in June of 2010. He holds numerous professional certifications and has been recognized and received numerous awards for Leadership and Excellence in EMS. He continues to serve on state committees involving EMS. Currently he serves as the Assistant Director for Richland County Emergency Services. He is an avid sports fan and attends numerous sporting events during the year. He has officiated High School Basketball for over 20 years. Alonzo currently serves on the Boggs Academy National Alumni Association (BANAA) Board of Directors and is Chairman of the Leadership and Special Projects committee. He similarly serves on the Executive Committee of the South Carolina EMS Association. He is an active member of Northminster Presbyterian Church and currently serves on the Budget and Oversight Committee, Back Pack Ministry, Offering Steward, and is Moderator of the Deacons. Alonzo is also an active Life Member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Some of his other interests when he has time include jogging, racquetball, listening to jazz and training his Airedales. He is married to the former Joslynn Williams. They have two sons Alonzo W. Smith, Jr. & Daniel M. Smith and their families.
Al has been a NC Paramedic Competition Judge dating back to the very first event in 1991.
Rusty Hollingsworth is a Nationally Registered Paramedic in Beaufort SC. He took his initial EMT training during his senior year of High School in 1979. He became a Paramedic in 1980, worked his way through the ranks at Beaufort County (SC) EMS and retired in 2009 as the Director of EMS. He was awarded South Carolina EMS Director of the year in 2008. Representing Beaufort County EMS in the South Carolina Paramedic Competition, he and his partner were three time winners. He is a long time EMT and Paramedic instructor and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Technical College of the Lowcountry in South Carolina. He still maintains volunteer status at Beaufort County EMS.
Rusty has been a NC Paramedic Competition Judge since 2000.
Donna Ownby is the director of Beaufort County Emergency Medical Services (BCEMS) located in Beaufort, South Carolina. Beaufort County Emergency Medical Services was established 43 years ago. In their history they have had 3 directors. Donna is the third director and the only female.
Donna got her start in emergency medical services (EMS) in 1982 as a Basic Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). She did not remain a basic EMT for very long as she received her Paramedic certification in 1983.In addition to being a Paramedic, Donna obtained an Associates Degree in Nursing in 1993. For the next 25 years she worked as a Paramedic and an emergency room nurse. In 2009 she gave up the second career of nursing to dedicate all of her time and resources to being Director of Beaufort County Emergency Medical Services where she remains today.
Donna has been a NC Paramedic Competition Judge since 2001.
John’s experience spans over 40 years of fire service, EMS, prehospital education, hospital ICU and air medical transport leadership. He currently serves as a member of the NC OEMS Advisory Council representing the air medical and critical care transport industry. In January of 2022 he retired from Mission Health in Asheville as the Supervisor of Air Medical Services and remains active in EMS education at Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College. John, and his wife Gail, live in Weaverville NC where they enjoy gardening along with raising animals and bees.
Paramedic Comptetition Medical Directors
At the core of our competition has always been a dedicated physician Medical Advisor. Physician input is imperative to assure that clinical presentations are complex, realistic and accurate.
Roy Alson MD, Phd
Dr. Roy Alson is a Professor of Emergency Medicine at Wake Forest University and Medical Director for Forsyth County EMS. He was the initial Medical Advisor for the Competition and along with Ron Lewis and a number of evil minded EMS personnel, developed the scenarios for the competition from its inception until he stepped down after 15 years of participation.
Jason Stopyra, md
Emergency Medical Services has been a major part of my professional life. I started as a street medic, then advanced to EMS director before I went to medical school. During my medical school and residency training I continued to explore my love for EMS. After graduation, I entered private practice at a community hospital and quickly became the county’s EMS Medical Director. I have enjoyed this role for nearly 12 years and been actively involved in everything from Tactical Medical Support to curriculum development for the Community Paramedic Program. During this time we have continued a great tradition of excellent patient care provided to our citizens through 911 Emergency Response, Disaster Preparedness, Aeromedical and Critical Care Transport.
In 2013, I accepted an academic position with Wake Forest Baptist Health with a concentration in Emergency Medical Services. Shortly after this, I was honored to accept the position of EMS Medical Director for an additional county service. As a Board-Certified EMS Physician, I look forward to continuing to advance the care that paramedics provide their communities both during emergencies and in disease prevention.
Dr. Stopyra was the Medical Advisor for the NC Paramedic Competition from 2005 until 2016.
Bryan B. Kitch, MD, FAEMS
Bryan began his medical career in the early 2000’s working volunteer and paid fire/ems in central Pennsylvania. He attended medical school in Albany NY and moved to eastern NC in 2011. He completed his residency and fellowship at East Carolina University. Currently board certified in Emergency Medicine and EMS, he serves as an Assistant Professor for ECU Emergency Medicine. Bryan is the EMS medical director for Hyde County, Assistant Medical Director for Pitt and Beaufort County. He also serves as the Eastern Healthcare Coalition SMAT medical director.
Dr. Kitch has been the NC Paramedic Competition Medical Advisor since 2016.
Previous State Champions
Mecklenburg EMS Agency
John Stroup III
*Cancelled Due to COVID
Mecklenburg EMS Agency
John Stroup III
Pender EMS and Fire Inc.
The North Carolina Office of EMS would like to recognize the following for their dedication and commitment to our competition.
Catawba Valley Community College
Johnston Community College
Surry Community College
Fayetteville Technical Community College
Brunswick Community College
Guilford Technical Community College
Guilford County EMS
WakeMed Center for Innovative Learning