Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Health Sciences

Committee Chair

Tishra Beeson

Second Committee Member

Casey Mace

Third Committee Member

Douglas Presta


First responder paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and firefighters provide emergency services to communities everywhere, often in life-threatening circumstances. At the same time, these first responders face high-stress life and death situations and may also endure unique workplace hazards like racism, sexual harassment and discrimination, verbal and physical patient assault, and extreme sleep deprivation. These hazards make prehospital providers vulnerable to mental illness, a fact proven by preexisting research that found more than 85% of first responders reported negative mental health symptoms and outcomes directly related to their career. Not only are prehospital providers at high risk of mental illness; they also have some of the highest rates of alcoholism and suicide of any profession. Current first responder training programs do not provide any education to prepare students for the challenges they may face after they start working. This thesis aims to assess whether implementing an original curriculum providing education on these hazards would increase EMT students’ knowledge of specific related topics using a pre and post-test survey instrument. For this research, 35 EMT students at a community college completed the educational intervention and the pre and post-test. The results of this pilot program showed no statistical significance based on test scores, but qualitative responses regarding participant perceptions of the intervention’s effectiveness in preparing them to face these challenges were overwhelmingly positive. With modifications to the test questions and a larger sample size, this program may effectively prepare first responder trainees to face these hazards and maintain better mental health throughout their careers.