Headshot Image of Instructor Scott McConnell, RN, BSN, CEN, NRP

Scott F. McConnell

Scott is one of the original founders, current owner, and CEO of Distance CME. Since its inception in 2010, more than 20,000 learners worldwide have relied on Distance CME to recertify their credentials.

McConnell is a true believer in sharing not only his perspectives and experiences but also those of other providers in educational settings. Proudly serving in the United States Navy as an MS3 then He started in EMS in 1995. First certified as an EMT-M in Pennsylvania, he has transitioned to an EMT-B, EMT-P, NRP and RN. He currently is a PHRN in Pennsylvania and runs at a local squad PRN.

Always wanting to do more he tried several different career fields in EMS, transport, 911, cath lab, critical care transport, and finally circled his way back to EMS education. He founded Distance CME with two partners, and merged with Relias Learning in 2018. This relationship has enabled us to provide education to an ever-growing audience that sees live online education as the easiest, simplest way to get top quality education while you are working.

Headshot Image of Instructor Jeremy Gassert, BS, NRP, EMS-1

Jeremy Gassert

Jeremy is an owner, and Chief Learning Officer for DistanceCME. He began his EMS career in Pennsylvania at the age of 16 when he became an emergency medical technician serving Tioga and Potter counties.

After high school, Gassert joined the U.S. Air Force where he served with distinction for nearly 10 years culminating as an aerospace medical services craftsman. During his tenure he received numerous awards, including Army and Air Force Commendations, Combat Action Medal and the Purple Heart. During his Air Force service, he became a paramedic and began his healthcare education career where he cultivated his passion and talents as an instructor. This lead him to becoming an instructor at the elite USAF Pararescue/Combat Rescue Officer school. After separating from the military, he returned to civilian EMS and became an instructor with Distance CME in 2011. He has enjoyed an eclectic career serving in various roles within EMS. These roles include rural, urban and austere environments as well as pre-hospital and in-hospital care, and includes ground and air critical care transport EMS. Gassert enjoys the outdoors as well as his passion for motorcycles.

Headshot Image of Instructor Jessica Arno, NRP, CPM, EMS-I

Jessica Arno

Arno has honed her skills to become a highly sought after medical instructor for the U.S. military and other paramilitary organizations for more than 10 years.

This includes the U.S. Army Combat Medic and Army flight medics, The U.S. Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Air Force Firefighters.

She can be found teaching for Distance CME, an EMS conference near you and writing for EMS World.

Headshot Image of Instructor Daniel J. Cotroneo, EMT

Daniel J. Cotroneo

Cotroneo is a retired fire captain from St. Paul, Minn., who lives in Fort Myers, Fla. He began his career in public service/emergency response in the early 1980s as a Navy Submarine Radioman/Damage Control crew member.

He worked for the St. Paul Fire Department from 1992-2014, as a firefighter/EMT and as captain for 15 years. He also has worked at the local community colleges as a lead instructor and has worked for other companies as well as his own company as an OSHA safety consultant.

He also owned his own insurance company that specialized in coverage for firefighter, law enforcement officers and EMS personnel. Since retirement, he has gone back to college to work on his theology degree and gone back to EMS training to give back to the men and women who he considers the backbone of our cities, our first responders.

Headshot Image of Instructor Lawrence Isaacs, MD, FAAEM

Lawrence Isaacs

Isaacs is EMS director for Relias and medical director at Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers, Fla. He was an associate medical director at Virtual Hospital in Voorhees, NJ, and clinical assistant professor (adjunct) of emergency medicine at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.

He attended and graduated from UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in 1991 and has more than 26 years of diverse experience, specializing in emergency medicine.

Headshot Image of Instructor Charlene S, Jansen, EMT-P, BS, MM

Charlene S. Jansen

Jansen began her EMS career in 1980 at a small rural system in central Missouri. She obtained her paramedic certification from St. Louis University and began working for the City of St. Louis. During her tenure with the City of St. Louis, EMS merged with the St. Louis Fire Department.

She became the EMS training officer for 860 uniformed personnel. Her first paramedic class was held in 1991 and she has remained committed to all aspects of EMS education ever since. She has been the program manager for St. Louis Community College with an enrollment of more than 500 EMS students annually. She also gained valuable experience while employed by St. Louis Children’s Hospital in the emergency unit and as the trauma data analyst for the trauma division. She now holds the position of EMS faculty at Mineral Area College where she is responsible for EMS education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in EMS Management from Lindenwood University – Cum Laude and a Master of Management from Fontbonne University. She remains a licensed paramedic in the State of Missouri.

Headshot Image of Instructor Derek Kaucher, BS, MA, NRP, CCEMTP, I/C, Fire Officer

Derek Kaucher
BS, MA, NRP, CCEMTP, I/C, Fire Officer

Kaucher is a captain/training officer with a fire department in East Tennessee. He began his public safety career as an explorer in the fire department in 2002.

After high school, he attended EMT school in 2003 and the fire academy in 2004. While working full-time fire/EMS in a busy suburban area he obtained his paramedic license in 2009 followed by critical care designation in 2011. He has continued to work fire and EMS since working for both municipal fire services and county EMS agencies.

He obtained his NAEMSE level 1 instructor and has been teaching continuing education and AHA courses since 2012. He enjoys instructing new clinicians and seasoned providers, and particularly likes the interaction with providers from around the globe. His favorite quote is “Training promotes knowledge. Knowledge dispels fear. Train hard, fear not.”

Headshot Image of Instructor Richard Main, MEd, NRP

Richard Main

Main is an EMS instructor who has worked in EMS since 1993 after obtaining his EMT from Johnson County Community College. He has lived in Kansas, Arizona and Nevada. While in Arizona, Main worked for Avra Valley Fire District in for 10 years and in private EMS in Southern Nevada.

He currently works as a professor of emergency medical services at the College of Southern Nevada and is lead instructor for Distance CME.

During that time, he obtained his paramedic certification and went back to school for a Bachelor’s in Business Management. He moved to Las Vegas in April 2004. He obtained his master’s degree in adult education with electives focused on distance education in 2012.

Headshot Image of Instructor Brendan McGurk, BS, NRP, FP-C

Brendan McGurk

McGurk is a flight paramedic with Duke LifeFlight in Durham, NC. He began his career in EMS as an EMT for a private ambulance service in the Chicago area in 2005, where he subsequently earned his paramedic certification and began working in critical care transport.

He successfully completed a Bachelor’s of Science in EMS from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., before moving south for a position with Wake County EMS in 2010. During his time in Raleigh, he served as a paramedic, logistics officer, field training officer and relief district chief.

He has extensive experience in providing continuing education at the BLS, ALS, and critical care levels as well as in disaster response as a member of the North Carolina DMAT.

Headshot Image of Instructor Ed Moreland, NRP

Ed Moreland

Moreland is a Washington, DC native and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and PA Army National Guard who has been actively engaged in EMS since 1990 when he ran his first EMS call as a volunteer in Montgomery County, Pa.

He is a national registered paramedic who has worked in a variety of EMS models, including nonprofit, for-profit, hospital-based and rural systems. He has served as a paramedic, supervisor, regulator, deputy chief and chief.

Moreland has served as the chair of the Pennsylvania EMS Provider Foundation for the past several years, overseeing a program that has provided more than $40,000 in EMS education grants to paramedic candidates. He is a multi-year participant and board member of the National EMS Memorial Bike, a series of long distance bicycling events to honor EMS providers who have died.

He also enjoys presenting at various EMS conferences on a wide variety of topics. When not working, Moreland is often found supporting the local BSA camps on the Health and Medical Committee.

Headshot Image of Instructor Amanda Page, NR-P, FP-C

Amanda Page

Page is an EMS instructor with more than eight years of experience. She is a dedicated and talented clinician who works as a flight paramedic with the Life Flight Network in Aurora, Ore.

She says her passion for education is driven by her never-ending goal to advance the pre-hospital profession, particularly in comprehension of pathophysiology.

Her passion for education is driven by her never-ending goal to advance the pre-hospital profession, particularly in comprehension of pathophysiology. She believes that an understanding of the whole is a greater tool than the rote memorization of facts.

Headshot Image of Instructor Russ Ruszczyk, NRP

Russ Ruszczyk

Ruszczyk was an Army-trained X-ray technician with orders to Vietnam in 1968 but was re-routed to a unit assigned to the 101st Airborne at LZ Betty, where he became a medic. After his tour and certification as a radiologic technologist, he worked in several hospitals.

In 1981, he completed the paramedic program in Nebraska and has remained a registered paramedic ever since. In addition, to being a certified procurement transplant coordinator for five years he also worked as a volunteer firefighter/paramedic for 20 years while working a paid job in other professions.

He started his EMS career as a medic in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive. Then he became a registered radiology tech working mostly the adult cardiac cath lab with five years at a children’s hospital. In 1982 he became a registered paramedic, was a volunteer firefighter/paramedic for 20 years and taught for several university and college-based EMS programs. Then he became a certified procurement transplant coordinator and maintained brain dead organ donors in ICU for five years and worked aboard the casino riverboat, the Kannesville Queen.

Headshot Image of Instructor Tara Vlaun, NRP, CCP-C, EMS-I

Tara Vlaun

Vlaun began her paramedic career in 2002 when she worked as a ground paramedic. She went to fire school in 2003, and continued her career as a firefighter/paramedic until late 2010. She spent the remaining years in the field as a flight paramedic until 2017.

She decided to pursue the avenue of flight, first doing International Medevac until 2013 when she transferred to New Mexico to work on a helicopter responsible for scene and inter-facility flights.

During her career as a flight medic, she also was a clinical base educator and clinical base manager. She enjoyed this career until April 2017 when she decided to try her hand at being an entrepreneur by starting a business. She is still pursuing that goal while working with Distance CME.

She continues to work as an AHA instructor teaching BLS, ACLS, PALS and PHTLS. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and hopes to continue to obtain her master’s as well.

Headshot Image of Instructor Kevin Wetherbee, AS, NRP, EMS-I

Kevin Wetherbee

Wetherbee began his EMS career right out of high school in upstate New York in 1984. He became a paramedic in 1986 and has worked in some form of EMS system since that time.

He has experience in 911, non-emergent transport, emergency room care, inter-facility transport, critical care transport and industrial EMS.

He currently instructs for DistanceCME, is a critical care medic operating in Columbia, SC, and is an educational subcontractor for the Teleflex corporation, providing emergency medicine device education throughout the country.

He is a continuing education program administrator in South Carolina as well as an instructor in CPR, ACLS, PALS, PHTLS, AMLS and CEVO courses. He has earned his Associates of Applied Sciences degree in Emergency Medical Services and graduated with high honors from Corning Community College in Corning, NY.

Headshot Image of Instructor Jonathan Willoughby, MEd, BS, NRP

Jonathan Willoughby

Willoughby began his career in EMS and as a firefighter after finishing his four-year enlistment in the United States Marine Corps. He worked for 911 private ambulance services in Flint, Mich., as a dispatcher for Grand Blanc Township Police Department.

He also worked as a volunteer firefighter for Grand Blanc Fire Department while attending University of Michigan-Flint. Willoughby  worked as a municipal firefighter/paramedic, a contract firefighter/paramedic in Iraq, a Department of Defense firefighter/paramedic, and as a search and rescue paramedic for the Department of State Air Wing in Iraq. He then worked in New Mexico as a lead instructor for University of New Mexico on the USAF Pararescue Paramedic Program and he was appointed as an Air Force civilian to the clinical coordinator position for the USAF Pararescue Paramedic Program. In fall 2013, he became the Paramedic Program Director for a collaboration of two accredited paramedic programs — Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis and Ridgewater College in Hutchinson, Minn. He completed his Doctorate of Educational Technology from Central Michigan University and is a lifetime member of NAEMT, the PHTLS/TCCC State Coordinator for NAEMT, and a member of NAEMSE.
Headshot Image of Instructor Charlie Bortle, EdD, RRT-NPS, NREMT-P

Charlie Bortle

In memory of one of the best EMS providers and instructors, Charlie Bortle, EdD, RRT-NPS, NREMT-P, we miss your wisdom, mirth and unwaving support for EMS. 

Uncle Charlie began his EMS career in Lancaster County, Pa., where he worked as a BLS and ALS provider since 1979. Additionally, Bortle was a registered respiratory therapist with pediatric/perinatal subspecialty certification.

He worked in respiratory critical care and the NICU on weekends and his critical care transport career was primarily at Sky FlightCare outside of Philadelphia. He was the director of the Center for Clinical Competency, a high-fidelity simulation center at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, which specializes in nursing, resident and fellowship education, patient safety and research.

In addition to teaching with Distance CME, he taught the PA program at Arcadia University, and the MS in Disaster Medicine and Management program at Philadelphia University. During his career, he coordinated more than 60 paramedic programs, and held instructorships in virtually all major EMS related certification programs.

He had a doctorate in education and a master’s in education from the University of Phoenix. Recent publications include chapters in several well-known EMS textbooks, a chapter in a Physician Assistant Review Guide, and the Respiratory Arrest section in the Merck Manual. Bortle has multiple journal citations and assisted in the 1998 re-write of the National Standard Paramedic Curriculum. He was awarded 2013 EMS Educator of the Year by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. He was a mentor, friend, and great provider to all of his patients.

Headshot Image of Eric H. Nylander, MS, NRP

Eric H. Nylander

Nylander is an instructor who retired from the San Francisco Fire Department as a firefighter/paramedic captain. He has more than 30 years of practical emergency medical experience in-hospital (ED) and pre-hospital (EMS).

He also has more than 25 years of experience in adult education with medical professionals and the public. He has taught in 20 countries and holds a masters degree in educational psychology and organizational development. He also serves as training center faculty with the American Heart Association, Operation Smile ITC, Virginia Beach, Va.

Since 1997, Nylander has been the owner and director of EMSE, an educational enterprise dedicated to professional and public medical and safety education and training. Recently, he has been contracting and volunteering in the USA, Europe and North Africa to establish and develop training sites for NAEMT and AHA courses.

He also holds Tactical Medical Certification. He lives in Uppsala, Sweden, where he teaches advanced and basic ERC and AHA courses. He also devotes a large part of his time and energy toward the development of medical training courses for first responders for Swedish Coast Water Rescue Services, SSRS and routinely volunteers for rescue patrol tours.