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WEMS eyes March relaunch after its members are vaccinated

Chrissy Ewald

Staff writer

Photo of WEMS staff on Feb. 10 by Montana Hunter ('21). Photo retrieved by Anushka Srivastav.

Willamette Emergency Medical Services (WEMS) is a student service organization that responds to on-campus medical emergencies. In mid-March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, WEMS ceased taking calls and its members stopped going on shifts because of health and safety concerns associated with continuing to operate in that capacity.

In late January 2021, WEMS announced that the weekly meetings of its members, which moved online because of the pandemic, are now open to all members of the Willamette community. Meetings are on Tuesdays from 7 to 9 p.m., and can be accessed by emailing <nabrown> to be added to the WEMS site on WISE. Meetings were previously restricted to licensed emergency services providers. Nathan Brown, president and drill instructor of WEMS, explained that the decision was made “in an effort to make our club more accessible,” to increase awareness within the student body of what WEMS does, and to “increase the number of people who want to join WEMS.”

Brown also quoted the WEMS medical director, Dr. Brian Clothier, MD, saying that they anticipate that WEMS will be able to go back on call later this semester, provided the timeline of WEMS members receiving COVID vaccinations enabled safe operation. As licensed first responders, WEMS members are in [phase 1A] of Oregon’s vaccine distribution plan. Their tentative prediction would be to resume responding to student calls in March of this year.

WEMS hopes to resume offering their EMR certification class in fall of 2021 when they can secure approval from the state government for safe operation.

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