Meet the Team

Students interested in the EMS BS Major or Minor are encouraged to set up an academic advising appointment with Shannon Scott:

To make an appointment with Shannon click here: Trellis Advise Appointments or send an email to

Students interested in the Emergency Medical Technician course (EMD 197) can reach out to Michelle Watson, Course Director at for more information about the course and NREMT Certification.

The EMT course is only available to students who are matriculated at the University of Arizona on main campus. Individuals who are interested in taking this course and are not UA students may complete a non-degree seeking application through the application here. Information about the cost for a 4 credit course and the application process is included at the same link. 



EMS Degree Leadership

Joshua B. Gaither, MD
Assoc. Medical Director, Banner-UMC Tucson Base Hospital
Medical Director, Tucson Fire Department
EMS Fellowship Director

Dr. Gaither is the Director of the EMS degree program. He develops and oversees the curriculum and teaches several of the EMS courses. He is also the Medical Director for several outside agencies and develops continuing education curriculum for paramedics and EMTs.

Kristina Waters
EMS Program Manager, Sr.

Kristina is the EMS Education and Fellowship Manager and has been with the Emergency Medicine Department for almost 10 years. She started with the department as the Clerkship Coordinator for medical students. She is a lifelong learner and most recently completed a Master's in Law at UA College of Law. She enjoys working with the EMS group and developed the BS EMS degree program with Dr. Gaither. She also enjoys research and has published with several faculty in the department. In her free time she does pilates, cycling, running, amature stargazing, belongs to an international cooking group and loves to travel. 

EMS Degree Faculty

Robert French, MD
Asst. Medical Director, Prehospital HAZMAT Operations
Medical Toxicology Faculty

Philipp L. Hannan, MD
Disaster Medicine, EMS Faculty

Aaron N. Leetch, MD
Director, Combined EM & Peds Residency
SQ Education Track Director

Dr. Leetch is the faculty lecturer and developer of the Advanced Pediatric Pre-hospital Emergency Care course in EMS degree program. He is dually trained in both Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics. He is dedicated to training healthcare providers in the acute care of children.

Jenny Mendelson, MD
EM & Peds Faculty

Dr. Mendelson is the faculty lecturer and co-developer of the Advanced Pediatric Pre-hospital Emergency Care course.

Rachel D. Munn, DO
Associate Medical Director, Northwest Fire District

Amber Rice, MD
Medical Director, Northwest Fire District
Deputy Medical Director, Tucson Fire Department

Dr. Rice is the faculty instructor for the Critical Care course in the EMS degree program.

Christopher G. Williams, MD
Asst. Medical Director, Wilderness Medicine
Medical Director, Mt. Graham International Observatory

EMS Degree Health Educators

Health Educator

Ryder Hartley
Health Educator

Health Educator who teaches the EMT course in the EMS Degree program. Retired Northwest Fire Department Deputy Chief, former tactical medic, Chair of the Fire and EMS Education Advisory Committee at Pima Community College. Member of the Pima County Animal Cruelty Task Force for the last 7 years. Has spent 14 years on the Child Fatality Review Team. Likes live music, hiking and has a Min Pin, Fox Terrier, and diabetic cat – all rescued.

Health Educator

C J Higgins
Health Educator


CJ has been working in EMS since 2006, first as an EMT and soon after as a Firefighter/Paramedic. A 2005 graduate of the U of A, CJ is currently a Captain of the Northwest Fire District (NWFD). For the past ten years he has been engaged in EMS education and development at Northwest, as well as Pima Community College and the Arizona State Fire School. As a member of NWFD’s EMS Division he helped overhaul NWFD’s recertification process and co-founded the AREST CPR program with Drs. Rice and Gaither. While CJ is passionate about EMS education, he is even more passionate about positive patient outcomes. Ultimately, CJ wants EMTs and Paramedics to be trained to the highest possible standards to ensure the people they treat receive the best possible care.

Milton Lerman
Health Educator

Milton is an instructor in the EMS Degree program. Paramedic for over 10 years with street experience from a busy, urban 911 agency in Denver, Colorado. Significant background in collegiate EMS, special operations, and training. Works with the county search and rescue team, as well as the public safety dive team. Holds a Master’s degree in healthcare administration and management.  Enjoys hiking, skiing, SCUBA diving, and playing with his dogs.

Health Educator

Matt Pickett
Health Educator

Matt is the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Course Lead Instructor.

Retired after 25 years as a Firefighter, EMT, Fire Safety Inspector and Arson Investigator with the City of Findlay (Ohio) Fire Department. Also holds an AAB in Business Management. Matt lives in Marana with his wife Brenda and they have two grown sons living in the Phoenix area.

Health Educator

I have been in EMS since 1996 and received my paramedic in 2008. I am a prior service Marine with a combat tour in Iraq in 2003. I have worked in Tucson EMS since 2001 and have been teaching EMS since 2010.  I also teach CPR, PALS, ACLS, PHTLS, AMLS, GEMS, and EPC. I really enjoy the education part of EMS and I always try to learn something new. I am married and have three wonderful daughters.

Caitlin Walters
Health Educator

Instructor for the EMS Undergraduate degree program, Emergency Medical Technician course (EMT) and a Teaching Assistant for the new undergraduate Critical Care course. She is a flight medic and instructor who brings her real-world experience to the classroom.

Michelle Watson
Health Educator

Michelle is the EMT course director and instructor.

Ryan Wyatt
Health Educator

EMS Degree Staff

Shannon Scott
Academic Advisor, EMS Degree Program

I’m Shannon Scott and I am the academic advisor for the Emergency Medicine Services BS and minor. I spent the last four years working as an advisor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment here at the UA and love working with students who want to pursue science degrees. Tucson has been my home for nearly 25 years and I was raised in Phoenix so I feel quite comfortable in the warm Sonoran Desert.  I did leave Arizona for several years to complete a BA in Marine Biology and to work as a bike tour guide in Europe and Latin America.  I also have my MA in Latin American Studies from the UA.  When not feeding my two very active teenage boys, I love to hike, mountain bike and travel.