EMS Division Director Dan Pojar has been a key member of the Milwaukee County OEM team since October of 2017. He started with the County as the Education and Quality Assurance Manager and was then promoted to his current role in December 2019.
Almost immediately after his promotion to Director, Dan was faced with managing EMS’ response to the global pandemic. During the initial phases of the COVID 19 response, Dan, along with representatives from each of the municipal fire departments developed a cohesive, county-wide response model that provided COVID-specific recon units, transport ambulances, and decontamination protocols in order to meet the emerging needs of the citizens, provide limited contact assessments, make transport recommendations, and limit the surge of COVID patients to area hospitals, all while limiting the exposure to EMS personnel. Due to this effort, Milwaukee County realized a much lower rate of infection for EMS personnel when compared to surrounding counties.
Within weeks of the outbreak of COVID-19, Director Pojar, along with Medical Direction and OEM’s Data Services, created a COVID-19 Dashboard that would inform policymakers and citizens of the progress of the pandemic and aid in making decisions on how to combat it. As the pandemic progressed the dashboard grew and changed alongside it, eventually integrating social equity and allowing more visibility into Milwaukee County’s most vulnerable populations. The Milwaukee County COVID-19 Dashboard has been published in the American Journal of Public Health, awarded ESRI 2022 Special Achievement Award, and the dashboard team was named Wisconsin Policy Forum’s Pandemic Hero!
In late 2020, COVID testing and eventually, immunization began appearing. Director Pojar developed a comprehensive community testing program and immunization site utilizing Milwaukee County’s Community Oriented Regional EMS Team. The site was open to Fire, Police, EMS personnel initially, but was opened to members of the public as restrictions were lifted. Some of the innovative services provided by this site were free transportation to and from the location for those that needed it, hands-only CPR instruction while waiting after vaccination, and in-home vaccination service for individuals that medically or physically could not travel to a vaccination site.
Dan is a truly dynamic leader, OEM is proud to nominate him, alongside Bell Ambulance for this 2022 Star of Life award! Thank you, Dan!