Dr. Eckstein is the Medical Director and the Commander of the EMS Bureau of the Los Angeles Fire Department. He is also a Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. A former New York City paramedic, he has 30 years of experience in EMS and has been a member of the LAFD for almost 23 years. He is responsible for introducing major changes in the Los Angeles EMS system, including tiered dispatch, 12 lead ECGs, waveform capnography, standing field treatment protocols, STEMI Receiving Centers, and prehospital stroke scores.
As Commander of the EMS Bureau, he created the LAFD’s first Public Health Unit and introduced the City’s first Advanced Provider Response Unit (APRU), which is staffed by an EMS Advanced Provider along with a paramedic, and he also introduced the first mobile Sobriety Emergency Response Unit (SOBER Unit). Both of these resources provide high level medical evaluation of low acuity patient in the field and allow treat and release on scene and a safe mechanism for transport of selected patients to alternative facilities, such as Mental Health Urgent Care Centers and Sobering Centers.
After obtaining his Bachelor of Science Degree from Cornell University in 1985, Dr. Eckstein obtained his Doctor of Medicine from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York in 1989. He completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine at the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California School of Medicine Medical Center in 1993. He is board certified in Emergency Medicine and subspecialty –board certified in Emergency Medical Services. He also earned a Masters in Public Health (MPH) with a Concentration in Homeland Security in 2007.
Dr. Eckstein has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, abstracts, and book chapters, and lectures around the world on EMS and disaster preparedness topics. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the EMS Achievement Award from the California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Medicine (CAL-ACEP); the EMS Medical Director of the Year Award from the National Metropolitan EMS Medical Directors Consortium; the Meritorious Service Award for Exceptional Leadership and Contributions in EMS from the California State EMS Authority; the EMS Innovator Award for being selected as one of the world’s Top 10 EMS Innovators by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS); the Clinical Excellence Award from the California State EMS Authority; the Healthcare Leadership Award from the Los Angeles Business Journal; and the Community Service Leadership Award from Firehouse Expo.