INDIANA – Dr. Eric B. Yazel, current health officer in Clark County, Ind., has been appointed as the new chief medical director for Indiana EMS, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.
Dr. Yazel brings to the role a rich history of public health experience, including leadership positions with health systems, hospitals, emergency medicine and more. As the Clark County health officer, Yazel has been recognized for his innovation as well as his success working through the local challenges presented during the height of COVID-19.
“I’m excited for Dr. Yazel to join IDHS as Indiana EMS medical director,” said IDHS Executive Director Steve Cox. “He is an energetic, experienced, and well-respected physician who has worked in emergency medicine and public health for many years, and we look forward to him bringing his record of successes to communities across the state.”
By statute, the IDHS executive director appoints the medical director position, which also must be approved by the Indiana EMS Commission. The Commission voted on May 13 to approve Yazel, and the state employee hiring process was finalized today. His first day at IDHS will be May 31.
Dr. Yazel is a graduate of Ball State University, Indiana University and the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
The EMS medical director is a critical position due to the leadership and strategy it provides emergency medical personnel across the state. Along with the Indiana EMS Section Director Kraig Kinney, the medical director will help guide laws and administrative rules governing the EMS system.
“I feel that I can really make a difference in this position,” Dr. Yazel said of his appointment. “We’re at a critical time for EMS right now. We have a lot of momentum, and I want to get out and be visible in the state to stay in tune with the boots on the ground and understand the challenges of all the EMS systems in Indiana.”
IDHS houses the Indiana EMS Section as well as the office of Indiana State Fire Marshal Joel Thacker.
“Dr. Yazel’s career path to this position will be a tremendous asset to him and to the state as he interacts with EMS agencies across Indiana,” Thacker said. “His experience with large urban services to smaller rural systems will help him to understand the diversity of Indiana’s EMS system.”
The continued growth of Mobile Integrated Health (also known as community paramedicine) and a re-emphasis on recruiting for EMS career paths are two priorities he outlined. He also hopes to improve morale among EMS personnel and better balance support and resources between urban and rural systems.
“I’m really honored to be coming into this position,” he said. “There are a lot of great EMS minds across the state, and I’m excited to learn and build on success to keep Indiana as one of the preeminent EMS systems in the country.”
Dr. Yazel fills the vacancy created in early April left by the departure of Dr. Michael Kaufmann.