An emergency room
By El Gibson

Learning Opportunity

UNM Prehospital, Austere and Disaster Medicine Program Coordinator Accepted into Selective Emergence Program

Jake DebevecEver the challenge-seeker, Jake Debevec has always known he wanted to work in emergency medicine.

Starting the Monday after he graduated high school, Debevec began his Health Sciences Center career as an emergency patient services technician at The University of New Mexico Hospital. He now works as a program coordinator for the Division of Prehospital, Austere and Disaster Medicine within the UNM School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

“Essentially, I support the operations that happen outside of the hospital walls,” he said, referring to organizations such as the International Mountain Medicine Center, the Center for Disaster Medicine, the Emergency Medical Direction Consortium and the Dr. George Kennedy Law Enforcement Operational Medical Center. “I think it’s pretty rare to find a place where the work that you get to do makes an impact that’s bigger than yourself.”

Thanks to a new opportunity, Debevec is preparing for his next challenge.

In January, Debevec learned he was one of 32 people (from more than 1,000 applicants) accepted into the Center for Homeland Defense and Security Emergence Program through the Naval Postgraduate School.

The program, which will run seven months, from July to January, was created for Homeland Security and public safety professionals who are in the first half of their careers. Debevec will participate in educational forums and sessions exploring emerging trends, including “social and political radicalization” and the “growing number and severity of natural disasters,” according to the Center for Homeland Defense and Security website.


(O)ne of their biggest goals is to create foundational skills that can be used in local communities. I’m extremely honored and excited for the opportunity to work with people who are leading their careers in different parts of the country and be able to bring that back here to a state and community that I really care about.
β€” Jake Debevec

Most of the program’s classes will be conducted via Zoom after-hours or on weekends. There will also be two two-week, in-person sessions at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

Debevec’s supervisor, Joy Crook, MD, MPH, is “extremely supportive and flexible” regarding the schedule, he said, and is doing everything to ensure he will be able to fully immerse himself in the program.

“The fact that I’m continually supported here to grow as a professional and as an individual – it’s amazing,” he said. “I think that’s what makes UNM a great place to work and a great place to serve.”

Crook said she’s excited for Debevec to participate in the learning opportunity.

“Mr. Debevec is a rising leader, and this program will provide a platform for his growth,” she said. “I can’t wait to see where the future takes him.”

Debevec said he sees the program as an opportunity to represent New Mexico.

“We do a lot of great things here, and probably, more than anything, what that institution saw was an opportunity to make an impact here,” he said. “I’m grateful and honored that I was the one chosen to do that.”

Categories: Community Engagement, Education, School of Medicine, Top Stories