Peter Carlson ’13 is in the business of preventing emergencies.

At North Memorial Medical Center, a team of community paramedics makes scheduled house calls to elderly patients to conduct basic tests, explain medication restrictions and schedules, and check for safety hazards in the home. A part of the Population Management division at NMMC, the North Memorial Community Paramedic department aims to prevent emergencies and reduce emergency care costs.

Carlson supervises the community paramedics team and works with people from multiple departments, including finance, contract teams, and primary care, to ensure the program runs smoothly for both patients and paramedics.

Carlson’s courses in the B.S. in Healthcare and Human Services Management program at Saint Mary’s, now available in St. Cloud and Rochester, discussed ethics and current events, such as the Affordable Care Act, which helped him gain a solid understanding of healthcare reform.

“My coursework was timely,” Carlson said. “I was able to witness what I was learning and make more sense of what was going on around me.”

Carlson travels around the country speaking to a wide variety of audiences about the community paramedics program at North Memorial. The crowd can vary from a rural health clinic to a major healthcare conference, such as EMS World. He presents analytics showing the program’s impact on community health and reduction in total cost of care.

“Saint Mary’s made me more comfortable with oral presentations and boosted my confidence,” Carlson said.

One of the first community paramedics to be certified in the nation, Carlson has been interviewed about the program by the Star Tribune and the Wall Street Journal.

Inspired by his parents who were active in the community, Carlson started his career in healthcare as a rural volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) 12 years ago. He put his college education on hold in order to become a paramedic.

“When I applied to Saint Mary’s, I was happy with my place in my career,” Carlson said. “However, completing my bachelor’s degree has really benefited me by improving my salary and advancing my position at NMMC. It’s the end result that motivated me to go back to school.”

Learn more about Saint Mary’s Health and Human Services programs for bachelor’s completion and advanced degrees.

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