The Tennessee Ambulance Service Association recognized Robbie Tester, senior director of LIFE FORCE, Erlanger Regional Operations Center and Erlanger Emergency Management with the John Bond EMS Administrator of the Year award at their annual conference Wednesday.
“Over the past year, we have seen firsthand just how crucial strong leaders are to healthcare, specifically emergency response situations,” said Erlanger President and CEO Dr. William Jackson. “At Erlanger, we are privileged to have Robbie, a dedicated servant leader, guiding our exceptional teams at LIFE FORCE, EROC and emergency management. His commitment in prioritizing our quality, safety and overall operational excellence is unsurpassed.”
Mr. Tester received the John Bond EMS Administrator of the Year award recognizing his significant contributions to EMS administration. 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. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Mr. Tester’s role included a position in the emergency management team guiding the health system, working with community leaders, and coordinating with other health systems creating a unified response focused on protecting the community and access to healthcare.
Mr. Tester first joined 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, expansion of its footprint from two to six full-time helicopter bases serving over 60 counties, development of a regional operations center, new services such as critical care response vehicles, event medicine, and additional special operations. As senior director of LIFE FORCE Air Medical, EROC, and Emergency Management his responsibilities include overseeing the air medical service, disaster management response for both internal and regional, Erlanger Regional Special Operations Team, event medicine, the University of Tennessee College of Medicine at Chattanooga associate professor where he facilitates and coordinates training for the EMS Fellowship Program, and numerous other pre-hospital operations.
Mr. Tester recently received the Association of Air Medical Services Excellence in Transportation Leadership Award recognizing him as a superior transport leader. Last year, he was named in the local Red Cross Heroes awards for his contributions, service, and leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Erlanger air medical program, LIFE FORCE, has six helicopter bases: Winchester, Tenn., Sparta, Tenn., Cleveland, Tenn., Andrews, N.C., Blue Ridge, Ga. and Calhoun, Ga. The crew is comprised of a pilot, flight nurse, and flight paramedic at each base who provides 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.