This abstract was presented at the 2008 National Association of EMS Educators conference.

Does Paramedic Student Ethnicity Impact the Likelihood of Providing ALS Interventions to Caucasian Versus Non-Caucasian Patients?

Timothy Brisbin, Kim McKenna, Chad S. Kim, Timothy Howey, A. Lauren Crain, Charles Soucheray, Erik Hanson

Introduction: The 2005 National Health Care Disparities Report documents variation in the quality of care provided to different ethnic groups. Few investigations have focused on how health care provider ethnicity relates to the level of care given to patients.

Hypothesis: Paramedic student ethnicity will influence the level of care provided.

Methods: Between January 2000 and December 2007, paramedic students participating in FISDAP, a national computerized student tracking system, used a web page to prospectively report their field experiences. The student’s preceptor also completed a paper evaluation. Instructors at each of the participating training programs verified the data by comparing the computerized records with the paper evaluations. Inclusion criteria consisted of student consent, successful graduation, instructor verification of student records, and student-reported leadership on the ambulance call. A generalized linear mixed-model regression, using patient and provider ethnicity as variables, was used to predict whether or not advanced life support (ALS) procedures would be performed.

Results: 115,923 runs were analyzed from 1,446 students. Student ethnicity was not related to the likelihood of ALS treatment (p = 0.345). Student age and gender were also statistically insignificant (p = 0.391, p = 0.125). There were statistically significant (p < 0.001) relationships between patient ethnicity, age, and gender and the likelihood of ALS treatment.

Conclusion: Student ethnicity, age, and gender did not predict whether ALS procedures were performed. Patient ethnicity, age, and gender predicted the level of care provided. The preceptor’s ethnicity was not recorded in this data set. A further study analyzing the preceptor’s influence on patient care would further clarify these data.