WALKING THE WALK
June 13, 2014
By Audrey Fraizer
Dr. Paul Stiegler had a new look about him this year.
He wasn’t carrying his guitar to entertain audiences with his music dedicated to protocol, and he wasn’t sitting in the audience applauding at the announcement of this year’s Dr. Jeff Clawson Leadership Award recipient.
Stiegler was the award’s honoree for 2014.
“He is walking the walk,” said Dr. Jeff Clawson, who presented the award. “He’s doing what the Academy has set out to do.”
Stiegler is the medical director for both the Dane County Public Safety Communications Center in Madison, Wis., and OnStar, the in-vehicle security communications provider. In 2013, Dane County was accredited as a tri-ACE (medical, fire, and police), while OnStar also achieved its medical ACE.
Stiegler said he was extremely honored to receive the award yet also somewhat self-conscious.
“It is humbling to be given this award from the very person who embodies the vision, the leadership, and the academic acumen of this amazing system,” he said. “It’s also somewhat embarrassing to be recognized for something that is just plain fun to do.”
Stiegler was introduced to protocol in 2001 or, rather, he was introduced to Dr. Clawson, who was in Madison on matters of protocol and the Academy. The two medical doctors talked and in about a “nanosecond,” Stiegler said, he was convinced.
“I saw what could happen,” said Stiegler, Dane County 9-1-1 medical director since 1999. “I believed in what he was doing.”
Stiegler didn’t waste any time.
He jumped in with both feet and, during that same year, took the emergency medical dispatcher (EMD) course and certified. In 2002, Stiegler certified as an EMD-Q. Two years later, he became an EMD instructor, and Dr. Clawson invited him to join the Academy’s College of Fellows.
Stiegler is devoted to emergency medicine and protocol, interests followed closely by his second career as a singer/songwriter. His music ranges from pop, to show tunes, to barbershop, to opera, and he was singled out as the 2011 winner of the U.K. Songwriting Contest. In 2013, he wowed the emergency dispatch community at NAVIGATOR with a song he dedicated to them. The nearly three-minute tribute, available on his website (paulstiegler.com), welcomes people to the conference held in the city where “it all began.”
Stiegler does walk the walk, acting upon his belief that protocol and Pre-Arrival Instructions were the best things to happen in emergency communications and pre-hospital care during his 30 years in emergency medicine.
“You have probably saved more lives in dispatch than I have as an EMS physician,” Stiegler said at NAVIGATOR’s Closing Luncheon in acceptance of the award. “Thank you all for what you do every day.”