Douglas Kupas, a 1986 graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania who serves as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Emergency Medical Services medical director and has positions at Geisinger Health System, will present the keynote address for IUP’s Research Experiences in Summer Scholars (RESS) program.
Kupas, who received IUP’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015, will present “Habits of Highly Successful Life-Long Scholars” on Aug. 8 at 2 p.m. in the PNC Room of the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex. His presentation is free and open to the community.
While at IUP, Kupas, now of Danville, worked as a paramedic with Citizen’s Ambulance Service in Indiana. He is originally from Allegheny Township (Westmoreland County).
At Geisinger Health Systems, Kupas is the Director of Mobile Integrated Healthcare, Director of Resuscitation Programs, and Central Region EMS Medical Director. He is a professor of emergency medicine and former associate dean of Academic Affairs at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. He has also been the EMS medical director for Danville Ambulance Service for more than 25 years.
“Over the years, RESS has provided extraordinary opportunities for IUP students during the summer to engage in and present research projects,” Deanne Snavely, dean of the John J. and Char Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, said. “It is very gratifying that our past graduates have seen the merit of this program and are helping us to grow the program so that future students can participate.”
Kupas was named to his position with the commonwealth in 2000. During his tenure, he has developed statewide treatment protocols that focus on patient safety and the best evidence-based care. Pennsylvania has the largest population covered by a single set of EMS protocols that guide over 50,000 EMTs and paramedics in nearly 1,000 ambulance agencies. His work includes research and recommendations on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and patient and provider safety in EMS. The “Journal for Emergency Medical Services” recognized Kupas in 2015 as one of the “Top 10 Innovators in EMS.” Kupas is on the editorial board of the journal “Prehospital Emergency Care”.
In 2018, Kupas served as one of 20 authors from the National Academies of Sciences and Medicine who published a report calling on the White House and the Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services to build a national trauma care system to eliminate preventable deaths after injury, and he presented the report recommendations at the National Association of State EMS Officials Fall Meeting and the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation conference.
In his role at Geisinger Health System, where he has worked for almost 30 years, he directly participated in the education of hundreds of emergency medicine physicians and medical students.
He has degrees in biology and chemistry from IUP and earned his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. He did his emergency medicine residency at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. He worked as a flight physician with Geisinger Life Flight while serving as the resident emergency medical services coordinator.
His Aug. 8 keynote address is the final event of the 2019 RESS program, which provides a 10-week intensive research experience for IUP students.
Now in its fifth year, the RESS program offers IUP students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels an opportunity to do research in a field of their choice under the guidance of a faculty member. A total of 40 students are part of the 2019 program, examining topics ranging from the water quality of Marsh Run to the importance of sleep for student-athletes to understanding perceptions of gender in political tweets.
The students also participate in programs designed to help them develop as researchers and scientists, including communication, professional development and networking.
Rachelle Bouchat, professor of mathematics, is the lead coordinator of the program, working with Justin Fair, professor of chemistry, the original director of the program.
As part of the closing event, in addition to Kupas’s keynote, the RESS students will have a poster session about the research they have done.
The 2019 Research Experiences for Summer Scholars program has included presentations by the student researchers during the “Presenter Lunch Series,” held as part of RESS. Student presenters have included:
Lindsey Aman, a geoscience major from Johnstown, who discussed her work with geoscience faculty member Jon Lewis on reconstructing Taiwan’s metamorphic core using brittle structure and earthquake focal mechanism solutions;
Patrick Cone, a mathematics and communications media major from Pittsburgh, who discussed his research with Bouchat on the “Graceful Tree” Conjecture in pure mathematics;
Ian Darragh, a geology major from Penn, Westmoreland County, who presented his ongoing research on the water quality in Marsh Run, working with Katie Farnsworth, professor of geoscience;
Kathleen Dougherty, a biology major from North Huntingdon, who presented her research with biology professor Ellen Yerger about native and invasive plants and their roll in limiting food for insects;
Esteban Garcia, a mathematics major from Easton, working with mathematics professor John Chrispell on modeling the motion of a puller swimmer; and
Tyler Maykovich, a biology major from Carrolltown, who discussed his research on the histology of a rare species of horned dinosaur, the Leptoceratops gracilis. Maykovich is working with biology professor Eric Morschhauser.
This year’s RESS program also included students working with the STEAMSHOP initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics). STEAMSHOP is an interdisciplinary project to build a digital fabrication lab (makerspace) and innovation hub being led by Hilliary Creely from IUP’s School of Graduate Studies and Research and Department of Art faculty members Sean Derry and Sharon Massey.