Riverside Tappahannock Hospital emergency medicine physician Jullette Saussy, M.D. has received a national award for her contributions to emergency care over the past few decades.

The American College of Emergency Physicians announced recently that Dr. Saussy is the recipient of the annual Award for Outstanding Contribution in EMS. ACEP announces one winner of the award annually for a medical service provider who was nominated by peers and who has made an outstanding contribution in EMS of national significance or application.

The American College of Emergency Physicians was founded in 1968 and represents more than 34,000 emergency physicians, residents and medical students. ACEP promotes the highest quality of emergency care and is the leading advocate for emergency physicians, their patients and the public.

"There’s no greater honor than to be recognized by my peers," Dr. Saussy said. Jullette Saussy MD

Dr. Saussy has spent 35 years in the practice of prehospital emergency medicine, first as an EMT at her first job in South Alabama. A native of Dallas, Texas, Dr. Saussy graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans and worked as a paramedic in the city while earning her degree. Upon graduation, Dr. Saussy worked two years full time as a paramedic for the City of New Orleans before starting medical school at LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans.

She completed her residency at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, which was one of the highest-volume hospitals for emergency care in the country before its closure following Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Saussy later became director and medical director of New Orleans EMS and was at that post when Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore on Aug. 29, 2005. Dr. Saussy was instrumental in rebuilding the emergency medical system in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

"In a way it’s joyous to rebuild something," Dr. Saussy said. "Granted there are tons of battles and jockeying and FEMA issues and dealing with the federal government, but where there was a will there was a way."

Dr. Saussy arrived at Riverside in August 2013 as an emergency medicine physician, working part time and filling in when needed. In 2015, Dr. Saussy took the position of medical director of the Washington D.C. Fire and EMS, while still maintaining a presence at RTH. She had hoped to reform the district’s EMS system but resigned after just eight months. In her resignation letter, Dr. Saussy citied frustration with having her proposals blocked and a culture of indifference that endangered the very public she was sworn to protect.

Dr. Saussy has continued her work as an emergency medical physician with RTH in a setting and community she embraces.

"I was really looking for a place that had some soul to it," Dr. Saussy said. "The town itself, the patients, my colleagues I work with, it’s very family like."

Dr. Saussy said she has embraced the challenges that are different at RTH than her previous experiences in metropolitan settings. "At the end of the day, we really are still able to maintain our focus on putting the patient first," she said. "I’m very grateful I’ve gotten to practice in a rural environment."

Dr. Saussy is married and has five grown daughters.  She and her husband, Robert Davis, live in Alexandria.

Published: November 29, 2016