AAMS Recognizes 2 LIFE FORCE Members During National Conference
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Robbie Tester received the AAMS Excellence in Transport Leadership Award. He is pictured with Dr. William Jackson, Erlanger president & CEO.
The Association of Air Medical Services recognized Robert Berger, flight paramedic; and Robbie Tester, senior director of LIFE FORCE, Erlanger Regional Operations Center and Erlanger Emergency Management for extraordinary service in the air medical service during the national 2020 Air Medical Transport Conference held Wednesday.
“Erlanger is exceptionally fortunate to have associates of this caliber leading from the front with LIFE FORCE,” said Erlanger President and CEO Dr. William Jackson. “Their dedication to the crew and community are unsurpassed. I sincerely appreciate Robert and Robbie’s commitment in prioritizing our quality, safety and overall operational excellence.”
Berger received the Jim Charlson Safety Award for outstanding contributions to transport safety. Mr. Berger joined LIFE FORCE in June of 1995 as a flight paramedic on the then newly created base in Sparta. He assisted in driving the NICU transport team until LIFE FORCE 2 moved into their new base at the Upper Cumberland Regional Airport in 1996. From 1995 through 2008, he has served in various capacities for several Upper Cumberland Emergency Services, including working as a part-time paramedic for Putnam County EMS, volunteer firefighter for Putnam County Fire Department and volunteer firefighter for North End Fire Department. Mr. Berger has served as chair of the LIFE FORCE Safety Committee since 2008. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing the safety program that includes a safety officer at each base and a safety committee. He is also engaged in keeping the staff informed about safety practices, updates, industry standards and any distribution of safety related items.
Mr. Tester received the AAMS Excellence in Transport Leadership Award recognizing him as a superior transport leader. As a 21-year Erlanger Health System employee, Mr. Tester has served in myriad leadership roles. He currently leads a team comprised of over 100 personnel in a variety of EMS roles and capacities. He first came to Erlanger as chief of Emergency Medical Services and was responsible for the health system’s ground EMS component. Following his dream to fly as a paramedic, he applied for the first open flight paramedic position in 11 years. He remained in that position full-time until accepting a leadership role as medical crew manager. He continued to lead the LIFE FORCE program with increasing responsibilities as LIFE FORCE administrator, then to his current senior director role. Under Mr. Tester’s leadership, the LIFE FORCE program has navigated a strong partnership with Med-Trans Corporation, expanded its footprint from two to six full-time helicopter bases serving over 60 counties, developed a regional operations center and has added new services, such as critical care response vehicles, event medicine and additional special operations. As senior director of LIFE FORCE Air Medical, the Erlanger Regional Operations Center, and Emergency Management, his responsibilities include LIFE FORCE Air Medical, Erlanger Regional Operations Center, disaster management, both internal and regional response, Erlanger Regional Special Operations Team, event medicine, the University of Tennessee College of Medicine at Chattanooga associate professor, where he facilitates and coordinates training in the EMS environment for the EMS Fellowship Program, and numerous other pre-hospital operations.
The AAMS Jim Charlson Safety Award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the overall enhancement, development or promotion of safety within the air and critical care ground transport community. The AAMS Excellence in Transport Leadership Award recognizes air and ground critical care transport leader who has demonstrated a superior level of knowledge and management prowess, high-quality leadership through visionary and innovative approaches, customer service, safety consciousness, marketing ingenuity, community service, commitment to the emergency medical community as a whole.
Erlanger air medical program, LIFE FORCE, has six helicopter bases: Winchester, Tn., Sparta, Tn., Cleveland, Andrews, NC, Blue Ridge, Ga. and Calhoun, Ga. The crew is comprised of a pilot, flight nurse and flight paramedic at each base, who provide on-the-scene and in-flight critical care treatment such as trauma service, heart and stroke intervention, cutting edge pediatric care and high risk labor and delivery services to the patients in the helicopters. The support team for the program also consists of communication specialists, aviation and maintenance technicians and an educational, outreach and leadership team.
Robbie Tester and Robert Berger are pictured on Oct. 21 when Mr. Berger was presented with the Jim Charlson Safety Award