George W. Contreras is a healthcare professional and established educator with over twenty-eight years of experience in the fields of emergency medical services, disaster management, public health, higher education, international disaster response, health services administration and consulting. He currently serves as Assistant Director of the Center for Disaster Medicine at New York Medical College, Assistant Professor at The Institute of Public Health in the School of Health Sciences and Practice and Assistant Director of the Advanced Certificate in Emergency Management. Prior to his current role, he served as tenured Associate Professor and Director of Allied Health at Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York, the largest urban public education system in the United States. Under his leadership, he created and implemented the first college-based paramedic program in Brooklyn, New York, which received national accreditation in March 2017- the highest honor for a college-based paramedic program, and the first associate-degree Polysomnographic Technology Program in New York City which also received initial national accreditation in July 2018. He is also adjunct faculty at Metropolitan College of New York’s (MCNY) Master of Public Administration (MPA) in Emergency and Disaster Management since 2004.
He started his career in healthcare as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with the Central Park Medical Unit, became a Paramedic, and eventually rose through the ranks to become Director of Emergency Medical Services at St. Clare’s Hospital in midtown Manhattan. He then served as the first Senior Emergency Manager (within the Bureau of Emergency Management) for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene until he left for a position as Director of the first Office of Emergency Management at NYU Langone Medical Center- one of the largest healthcare systems in New York City.
Professor Contreras is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences regarding emergency medical services, disaster management, public health and simulation. Most recently, in June 2019, he was an invited speaker at International Conference on disasters and emergency medical services (EMS) in Quito, Ecuador, where they are planning to launch a new subway system in December 2019. In September 2018, he received special recognition by the Mayor of Miranda for his contribution to emergency preparedness in that city. He has authored and co-authored several articles, book chapters and manuals on topics such as emergency medical services, curriculum development, mental and public health, and disaster management.
Professor Contreras has actively participated in various disasters in New York City and abroad including the 1993 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, the TWA 800 plane crash, Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, the historic snowstorm in January 2016, and the September 11th terrorist attacks. On September 11th 2001, he worked as a paramedic at Ground Zero and was fortunate enough to survive as the second tower collapsed. He lost many colleagues that tragic day and hopes that we can all learn from our actions moving forward.
Professor Contreras earned a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Public Health in Community Health Education, and a Master of Science in Health Services Administration (with Honors). He is currently pursuing his DrPH degree in Health Policy and Management. He is a certified FEMA instructor in COOP and Weapons of Mass Destruction. He is an American Heart Association (AHA) certified instructor for Basic Cardiac Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support in addition to a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) instructor. He is a National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) certified instructor in PHTLS, AMLS, AHDR, TECC, GEMS, and PTEP (a new course focusing on psychological trauma). Professor Contreras is certified by the New York State Bureau of EMS as a Certified Instructor Coordinator (CIC) and is FEMA-certified Master Exercise Practitioner (MEP). He is also credentialed as a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) by the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM). His professional career combines frontline experience with interpersonal skills which allow him to collaborate and communicate with stakeholders at all levels from the public and private sectors alike. His research interests include international disaster response, curriculum development, simulation and collaboration as tools in the fields of EMS, disaster management and higher education. He continues to pursue his life-long passion and still works as a 9-1-1 paramedic in New York City where he is able to serve the people who live, reside and visit NYC on a regular basis.
Publications, Presentations, Grants and Awards
Contreras G, Lopez A, and Perez M. A Different Spin to Emergency Nursing: Spain, Part 2. Journal of Emergency Nursing. November 2018. 44(6): 659-661.
Contreras G, Lopez A, and Perez M. A Different Spin to Emergency Nursing: Spain, Part 1. Journal of Emergency Nursing. September 2018. 44(5): 526-528.
Contreras G. Actuación ciudadana sanitaria inmediata en actos terroristas: la compaña estadounidense “STOP THE BLEED”. Rescate Vial. Sept 2017; 47(3):42-44.
Contreras G, Bellomo T and Cichminksi L. Epidemic! Opioid Overdose in America. Nursing Made Incredibly Easy! March/April 2017. 15(2): 27-31.
Casal Codesido JR, Contreras G and Terron Marin. Actuacion ante un incidente de múltiples víctimas- IMV. In Vazquez Lima MJ and Casal Codesido JR eds. Guía de Actuación en Urgencias. 5th ed. Editorial Medical Panamericana. ISBN 9788491100492. 2017; 959-963.
Contreras G. Sobredosis de opiáceos: los técnicos de emergencias médicas (TEM) se enfrentan a una epidemia de salud pública en EEUU. ZONA TES. January 2017; 6(1): 36-41.
Contreras G. Un paramédico del servicio de emergencias médicas (SEM) de Nueva York reflexiona: 15 años después del 11S. Rescate Vial. Sept 2016; 43(3):20-24.
Contreras G. El Servicio de Emergencias Médicas de Nueva York: Un Servicio Diferente con Paramédicos al Frente. ZONA TES. January 2016; 5(1): 43-49.
Contreras, G. Preparing for a Disaster or Catastrophic Event. Bellevue Wealth Management Group at Morgan Stanley. Summer 2013. Special Edition. P.1-4.
Foltin GL, Arquilla B, Uraneck K, Contreras GW et al. Pediatric Disaster Toolkit: Hospital Guidelines for Pediatrics in Disasters. 2006. 1st edition. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. This publication was supported by grant number U3RHS05957-01-00 from the Health Resources and Services Administration.
“Emergencias en Mega-Ciudades: El 11 Septiembre en Nueva York y sus Mecanismos de Respuesta”. Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar (UASB). Quito, Ecuador. June 27, 2019.
“Atención de emergencias en estructuras de transporte subterráneas: experiencias en el metro de Nueva York y una visión hacia el metro de Quito”. Third Annual Workshop on Geophysics, Engineering and Disasters. Universidad Central del Ecuador (UCE). Quito, Ecuador. June 25, 2019.
“Using the Past to Prepare for the Future: A 2018 Pilot Study to Improve the Hospital Response for Mass Casualties via a Multi-Dimensional Approach”. Contreras GW, Pohlman KL, Mandel-Ricci J, Markenson DS and Reilly MJ. Abstract accepted as poster presentation for World Association of Disaster and Emergency Medicine 2019 Congress. Brisbane, Australia. May 8, 2019.
“Manejo de Incidentes en Sistemas de Transporte Subterráneos”. Invited speaker at EMS World Americas Third Annual Conference. Quito, Ecuador. March 30, 2019.
“Using the Past to Prepare for the Future- Applying Lessons Learned to Better Prepare Hospitals and their Staff for Mass Casualty Incidents and Triage”. Contreras GW and Pohlman K. Abstract accepted as oral session at 2019 Preparedness Summit. St Louis, Missouri. March 26, 2019.
“From the Battlefield to the Homefront- Using Lessons Learned to Prepare Law Enforcement for Operational Medicine Delivery in Austere Environments and Disasters. Pohlman K and Contreras GW. Abstract accepted as oral session at 2019 Preparedness Summit. St Louis, Missouri. March 26, 2019.
“Disaster Relief: Getting to the Recovery Stage”. Invited speaker at 2019 International Conference on Disaster Medicine and Hurricane Resiliency. American University of Caribbean School of Medicine. International Caribbean Center for Disaster Medicine. St. Maarten. March 10, 2019.
“Stop the Bleed: An International Collaboration”. Contreras GW, Crespo Martinez J, Gomez Ortigosa LA, Marin Gurrea MA. Poster abstract accepted and presented at Sociedad Española de Medicina de Urgencias y Emergencias (SEMES). Pamplona, Spain. November 22, 2018.
“Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Lessons Learned from Terrorist Attacks in NYC”. Invited guest lecturer within the Master’s Program in Security, Emergencies and Disasters” at the University of Malaga, Spain. November 22, 2018.
“Stop the Bleed Train-the-Trainers” Program of the American College of Surgeons at the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) Annual Conference. Nashville, TN. October 1, 2018.
“Active Shooter Course: A Multidisciplinary Approach to a Mass Casualty Incident”. Invited speaker and instructor at The Second International Course in Tactical Medicine. Miranda, Spain. September 26-30, 2018.
“Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in New York City. Universidad Central del Ecuador (UCE). Quito, Ecuador. July 5, 2018.
“Disaster Mental Health during Mass Casualty Incidents” 12th Congress on Security, Catastrophes and Emergencies. University of Malaga. Malaga, Spain. May 31, 2018.
“New York City and Emergency Medical Service (EMS): Lessons Learned from September 11th Attacks”. Barcelona Emergency Medical Services. Barcelona, Spain. May 28, 2018.
“Emergency Medical Services in New York City; The Role of Paramedics in Prehospital Care”. Corporation Universitaria Adventista (UNAC). Medellin, Colombia. April 24, 2018.
“Kinematics of Trauma: Colombia’s Newest Public Health Issue”. International Conference on Trauma. Medellin, Colombia. April 23, 2018
“Disaster Mental Health and Mass Casualty Incidents”. Second International Conference of Red Cross. Institute of Ecuadorian Red Cross. Quito, Ecuador. February 22, 2018.
“Mass Casualty Incidents and Emergency Management”. Second International Conference of Red Cross. Institute of Ecuadorian Red Cross. Quito, Ecuador. February 20, 2018.
“The Role of Paramedics during Terrorist Attacks.” First International Course in Tactical Medicine. Miranda, Spain. October 29, 2017.
“EMS in the USA: The Role of the Paramedic”. Fundación Universitaria de Ciencias de Salud. Bogota, Colombia. September 24, 2017.
“Lessons Learned from September 11th Attacks.” EMS World Americas Inaugural Conference. Bogota, Colombia, September 24, 2017.
“Psychological First Aid during Mass Casualty Incidents” Sixth International Psychotherapy Congress. Lima, Peru. November 23, 2016.
“Fifteen years after the September 11th Attacks; Lessons Learned”. Special invited lecture. University of Ponferrada. Ponferrada, Spain. June 13, 2015.
“Emergency Medical Services and Disaster Response: NYC Experience”. 28th National Congress of the Spanish Medical Society of Emergency Medicine. Burgos, Spain. June 10, 2016.
“Emergency Management during Mass Casualty Incidents” 11th Congress on Security, Catastrophes and Emergencies. University of Malaga. Malaga, Spain. April 27, 2016.
“The Role of Paramedics in Emergency Medical Services (EMS)”. Special invited lecture. University of Granada. Granada, Spain. October 21, 2015.
“Emergency Medical Services in New York City”. 10th Congress on Security, Catastrophes and Emergencies. University of Malaga. Malaga, Spain. May 28, 2015.
“Lessons Learned from September 11th, 2001 in NYC Emergency Medical Services”. Barcelona EMS. Barcelona, Spain. April 7, 2015.
“NYC Emergency Medical Services: A Different Approach to Emergency Care”. 22nd Annual EMS Conference. Mojacar, Spain. May 3, 2014.
“September 11th: The Role of a Paramedic During a Terrorist Attack”. 22nd Annual EMS Conference. Mojacar, Spain. May 4, 2014.
“NYC Emergency Medical Services: Prehospital Care Experience of the Traumatic Patient”. First International Trauma and Disaster Conference. Barcelona, Spain. October 23, 2013.
“Disaster Mental Health- Post Earthquake and Tsunami: Lessons Learned from Chile”. 6th Annual National Emergency Management Summit. Washington, DC. September 6, 2012.
“Different Models of Emergency Medical Services: NYC EMS Experience”. 24th National Congress of the Spanish Medical Society of Emergency Medicine. Oviedo, Spain. June 14, 2012.
“International Emergency Management Practices”. 14th Annual Emergency Management Higher Education Conference. FEMA Emergency Management Institute (EMI). Department of Homeland Security. Emmitsburg, MD. June 7, 2011.
“Lessons Learned from September 11th”. National Emergency Management Summit Opening Plenary Session. September 13, 2011.The Fifth National Emergency Management Summit September 12-15, 2011.Brooklyn, NY.
“Before and After September 11th Attacks: Lessons Learned from NYC Emergency Medical Services (EMS). 3rd International Congress on Emergencies. Zaragoza, Spain. May 21, 2008.
“Emergency Management in Kenya”. Third Annual Emergency Management Symposium. NYU Medical Center. New York, NY. September 19, 2007.
2017-2018 U.S. Department of Education. Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Educational Act: “Providing EMS Degree Program Students with Technical Resources and Hands-on Support Strategies for High Growth Careers”. $65,000.
2016-2017 New York State Department of Labor Career Advancement Funds. “Project TPC3: Transforming Professional Certification into College Credit”. $50,000
2016-2017 U.S. Department of Education. Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Educational Act: “Providing EMS Degree Program Students with Technical Resources and Hands-on Support Strategies for High Growth Careers”. $80,000.
2015-2016 U.S. Department of Education. Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Educational Act: “Providing EMS Degree Program Students with Technical Resources and Hands-on Support Strategies for High Growth Careers”. $110,000.
2014-2015 U.S. Department of Education. Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Educational Act: “Providing EMS Degree Program Students with Technical Resources and Hands-on Support Strategies for High Growth Careers”. $180,000.
May 2014 City University of New York (CUNY). Health and Human Services Grant. Training for the Real World- A Pilot Project Focusing on Interprofessional Education between Nursing and Paramedic Students. $35,000.
Nov 2013 City University of New York (CUNY). Health and Human Services Grant. Using Simulation to Promote Interprofessional Education in Allied Health. $11,000.
May 2012 Ecuadorian Consul General in New York. Provision of Education and Training to Ecuadorian Nationals. $200,000.
May 2011 Kingsborough Community College. President Faculty Innovation Award. Transcultural Experience for Nursing Students. $15,000.
Sept 27, 2018 Special Recognition Award for ongoing efforts to improve emergency medical care in Spain presented by the Mayor of Miranda, Spain.
Dec 11, 2017 KCC Faculty Achievements Recognition Award
Sept 11, 2017 Citation from Brooklyn Office of Borough President Eric L. Adams
Dec 14, 2016 KCC Faculty Achievements Recognition Award
May 3, 2017 CUNY Chancellor Certificate of Recognition for securing major institutional grant funds during academic year 2016.
Aug 26, 2016 Citation from Brooklyn Office of Borough President Eric L. Adams
Dec 10, 2015 KCC Faculty Achievements Recognition Award
Aug 29, 2015 Proclamation from Brooklyn Office of Borough President Eric L. Adams.
Dec 9, 2014 KCC Faculty Achievements Recognition Award
Dec 12, 2013 KCC Faculty Achievements Recognition Award
May 6, 2013 CUNY Chancellor Certificate of Recognition for securing major institutional grant funds during academic year 2012.
Dec 10, 2012 KCC Faculty Achievements Recognition Award
Dec 6, 2011 KCC Faculty Achievements Recognition Award
Feb 4, 2011 Dean’s Award of Appreciation. Universidad Técnica de Manabí. Portoviejo, Ecuador.
July 4, 2006 Proclamation from New York City Councilmember Miguel Martinez.
Aug 10, 2002 Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition by Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr.