Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano today announced that Dr. David Prezant, a 25-year veteran of the Department, has been named FDNY’s Chief Medical Officer and Special Advisor to the Commissioner on Health Policy. He also announced that Dr. John Freese, a 17-year veteran, has been selected to become the new Chief Medical Director for FDNY’s Office of Medical Affairs (OMA).
Since 2006, Dr. Prezant has overseen OMA as its Chief Medical Officer while also serving as Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the Bureau of Health Services (BHS) since 1994. OMA supports the Department’s Emergency Medical Service, overseeing policy, training and protocols on 911 system ambulances, while BHS monitors the health of firefighters. Dr. Prezant oversaw the computerization of medical records and reports at FDNY and led numerous EMS initiatives, including trauma triage and the STEMI program, in which Paramedics evaluate cardiac patients for critical blockages on-scene so they can be transported to hospitals able to open the blockage. He also helped secure millions of dollars in federal health grants and coordinated the monitoring and treatment of thousands of FDNY members after 9/11. Dr. Prezant is a nationally recognized expert in pulmonary diseases and has published dozens of articles in this and other areas of medicine. He will continue to function as co-director of the WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program, along with the Chief Medical Officer for BHS, Dr. Kerry Kelly.
Dr. Freese began his career as an EMT and Paramedic in 1993. He has been a Deputy Medical Director at OMA since 2005, overseeing operations in the borough of Manhattan as well as leading the Department’s On-line Medical Control, Training and Research unit, which connects EMTs and Paramedics in the field with physicians back at headquarters. He also played a critical role in the computerization of On-line Medical Control, allowing ambulance crews to get medical directives electronically from those physicians. Dr. Freese also helped develop many new initiatives, including cardiac resuscitation and Project Hypothermia, which just recently began its second phase, allowing Paramedics to administer chilled IV fluids to cardiac arrest patients in the field in an effort to increase their chances of survival.