The Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) has developed a partnership with South University, Richmond to support front-line workers through a new strategic collaboration that includes mental health support and injury prevention education from the University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Physical Therapist Assistant departments.

EMS professionals experience a great deal of stress in their jobs, which was true even before the presence of a pandemic. Front-line workers are exposed to trauma in ways most of the general public are not and should never be. South University, Richmond is using its academic resources through its Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program to make bi-monthly visits with RAA staff to discuss mental health and well-being. According to the National Council on Mental Wellbeing, “85 percent of first responders have experienced symptoms related to mental health issues and 40 percent believe there would be negative repercussions for seeking mental help at work.” The CDC further shares that “first responders are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.”

EMTs and Paramedics treat injuries and respond to medical emergencies. Yet EMS workers can suffer injuries on the job because of the physical demands or danger involved with some calls. The Physical Therapist Assistant department from South University, Richmond will also be conducting on-going support in the form of demonstrating and coaching on injury prevention and physically preparing for shifts.

As an institution of higher learning, South University, Richmond is dedicated to providing students with a great place to further their education and the campus is full of resources that can be shared with the Richmond community. SU, Richmond Campus Director, Jason Crittenden shares that, “In leveraging our rich academic programs to support the important work that the RAA team conducts on behalf of Richmond’s communities every day, the South University, Richmond campus is thrilled to create this partnership. We want to serve the needs of our community and the efforts of those that work on the frontlines of healthcare in our city.”

This new relationship between South University, Richmond and the Richmond Ambulance Authority will begin in November 2021 and run through November of 2022. The hope is that the new collaboration will be an on-going program that provides RAA with a helping-hand for the hard work and dedication that their employees provide to the citizens of Central Virginia. “We are so grateful and thankful for this new partnership with South University,” said RAA CEO Chip Decker. “Our frontline workers in EMS have experienced so many physical and mental challenges during this pandemic and have taken on a heavier workload. This opportunity will give them additional support at a time when it is so desperately needed.”

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South University, Richmond is a part of South University (SU), and is one of eight campus locations across the country. SU was founded in 1899 in Savannah, Georgia, with the Richmond campus opening in Short Pump, Virginia in 2009. South University is an academic institution dedicated to providing educational opportunities for the intellectual, social, and professional development of a diverse student population.
The institution offers focused and balanced programs at the associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels. The University provides a learning environment, both on campus and online.

South University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees. Questions about the accreditation of South University may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. South University, Richmond, 2151 Old Brick Rd., Glen Allen, VA 23060. © 2021 South University. All rights reserved.
South University, Richmond, and South University, Virginia Beach, are certified to operate in the Commonwealth of Virginia pursuant to Title 23, Chapter 21.1, §23-276.4 of the Code of Virginia by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (James Monroe Building, 101 North 14th St; Richmond, VA 23219; 804-225-2600;

About the Richmond Ambulance Authority: In 1991, the Richmond City Council and the City Manager implemented an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system that placed the patient first and guaranteed its performance to the City’s residents. Today, the Richmond Ambulance Authority responds to nearly 200 calls per day and transports, on average, 150 patients per day. RAA is one of only 32 EMS agencies in the United States accredited by both the Commission on the Accreditation of Ambulance Services and the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. RAA is also a Commonwealth of Virginia Accredited Dispatch Center. RAA’s staff has consistently received local, state, and national recognition for their work in
EMS. In 2020 RAA staff members were recognized by the Old Dominion EMS Alliance (ODEMSA) in four categories at the ODEMSA Regional Awards.