IAFF/IAFC Wellness-Fitness Task Force Meeting

Dec. 12-13, 2022 • Washington, DC

Monday, Dec. 12

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.Breakfast
8:30 – 9 a.m.Introductions
– Edward A. Kelly, IAFF General President
– Chief J. Robert “Rob” Brown, Jr. (Ret.), CEO/Executive Director, IAFC
– Frank V. Líma, IAFF General Secretary-Treasurer
– Dr. Dan Whu, IAFF Chief Medical Officer
9 – 9:15 a.m.IAFC/IAFF WFI Study Overview
– Richard Miller, IAFC and Grady Valencis, IAFF
9:15 – 10:15 a.m.Framework and New Components for 5th Edition of WFI
– Dr. Dave Frost, University of Toronto
10:15 – 10:30 a.m.Break
10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.Part A: Defining Wellness (guidelines to assess wellness)
– NFPA 1582 updates and Cancer Screenings: Dr. David J. Prezant, FDNY
– NFPA 1582 updates: Behavioral Health Evaluation and Screening: Lauren Kosc, IAFF
– Physicians Guide: Dr. Sara Jahnke, NDRI
12 – 1 p.m.Lunch
1 – 2:30 p.m.Part B: Pursuing Wellness (programs to improve)
– Nutrition (EAT), Physical Activity (MOVE), Rest and Recovery (SLEEP)
• Burnout: Dr. Suzy Gulliver, Warrior Research Institute (IAFF COMBUST survey)
• Nutrition: Courtney Benedict, IAFF
• Physical Activity: Dr. Dave Frost
• Sleep: Dr. Sara Jahnke
2:30 – 2:45 p.m.Break
2:45 – 4:45 p.m.Part B: Pursuing Wellness (programs to improve)
– Behavioral Health (BREATHE), Relationships (CONNECT)
• Behavioral Health: John Niemiec, IAFF

  • NFPA 1500: Behavioral Health and Wellness programs
  • IAFF Behavioral Health program highlights: Lauren Kosc and Scott Robinson

• Relationships: Dr. Kerry Ramella, Public Safety Crisis Solutions

  • Social Connection: A Foundation for Wellness
4:45 – 5 p.m.Closing Comments
5 – 6 p.m.Reception

Tuesday, Dec. 13

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.Breakfast
8:30 – 8:45 a.m.Recap of Day 1: Dr. Dave Frost
8:45 – 10:30 a.m.Part C: Supporting Wellness
– NFPA Standards and Policies: Dave Bernzweig, IAFF
– Model Policies and Contract Language (mandatory/non-punitive)
– Physical Fitness Policies
10:30 – 10:45 a.m.Break
10:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.Part D: Restoring Wellness (injury rehabilitation, treatment programs)
– Physical and fit for duty: Dr. Kerry Kuehl
– IAFF Center of Excellence: Dr. Abby Morris
– PROJECT ACCESS: Dr. Suzy Gulliver
– IAFF Clinician Training Program: Lauren Kosc and Scott Robinson
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.Lunch
1:30 – 3 p.m.Part E: Promoting Wellness (strategies for implementation)
– IAFC/IAFF Study: Process and Findings
• Dr. Dave Frost, Richard Miller, Grady Valencis
3 – 3:15 p.m.Break
3:15 – 4:30 p.m.Closing Discussion and Next Steps for 5th WFI Edition
– Pat Morrison, IAFF Chief of Field Services

IAFC President and Board Chair: Donna Black, EFO, CFO / Duck, NC FD

Chief Donna Black has been active in the fire service for over 20 years. She began her career in 1997 as a volunteer, earning her way through the ranks (as both a paid and volunteer fire fighter), culminating in 2006 when she was selected as the fire chief for the Town of Duck. Chief Black received her Bachelor of Science degree from Ithaca College and went on to obtain her Master of Arts from the University of Georgia. She graduated from the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer (EFO) Program in 2011. While attending the EFO program, her study focused on evaluating and improving the operations of the Duck Fire Department. After collaborating with the town manager and educating both the town council and community about fire operations, Chief Black justified the necessity of procuring career fire fighter positions. These proactive changes increased the level of service for the town and shaped the Duck Fire Department into a thriving combination department. Chief Black holds a post-graduate Certificate in Community Preparedness and Disaster Management from the Gillings School of Public Health at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and authored the Town of Duck’s Emergency Operations Plan. She currently holds the Chief Fire Officer (CFO) designation. Chief Black has served on several boards including the Volunteer Combination Officers Section, Council for Future Volunteer Firefighters (vice chairperson), and FRI Program Planning Committee. Most recently, Chief Black was chosen to co-chair the Women Fire Chiefs Council. She continues to advocate for highly effective and inclusive volunteer and combination fire departments.

IAFC First Vice President: John Butler / Fairfax County Fire and Rescue

John S. Butler has been the fire chief for Fairfax County, Virginia, since September 2018. He formerly served as fire chief for Howard County, Maryland, and was the first fire chief to have held every rank within that department, retiring in 2018 after 25 years. Chief Butler is a nationally registered paramedic, holds a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, as well as certificates from Harvard University, the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program, and IAFC Fire Service Executive Development Institute (FSEDI). He co-chairs the IAFC’s Diversity Executive Leadership Program (iDELP). Chief Butler holds CFO, CEMSO, CTO, and FM designations awarded by the Commission on Professional Credentialing. Chief Butler is a commissioner on the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) and is a member of the National Fire Academy Board of Visitors. He is a retired U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant with over 20 years of active and reserve duty, including two combat action tours.

IAFC Second Vice President: Josh Waldo / Bozeman, MT FD

Chief Josh Waldo was appointed as the 13th fire chief of the Bozeman Fire Department on August 24, 2015. In his role as fire chief, Chief Waldo oversees the day to day operational planning and community risk reduction efforts of 49 employees, working out of three fire stations. Prior to his arrival in Bozeman, Chief Waldo served as the deputy fire chief of the Oak Ridge Fire Department in Oak Ridge, TN from 2007-2015 and served with the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department from 2001-2015. Chief Waldo holds a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University in Fire Science Engineering and Technology and a master’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management. Chief Waldo is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program and holds three professional designations from the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE). Chief Waldo was the recipient of 2017 CPSE Ambassador of the Year award and was selected as the 2013 Tennessee Fire Educator of the Year. Aside from his duties as fire chief, Waldo currently serves as the Chairman of the International Association of Fire Chiefs Program Planning Committee, sits on the Board of Directors for the Montana State Fire Chiefs Association, serves on the Western Fire Chiefs Association Board of Directors, and has served as a peer reviewer for the CPSE Commission for Professional Credentialing since 2013. Chief Waldo has authored numerous professional articles, served as a technical advisor for fire service textbooks and standards, and presented educational lectures and seminars across the country. Chief Waldo is married to his wife Cindy, and they have a son, Wyatt.

IAFC CEO and Executive Director: Mr. Rob Brown

Mr. Brown has served 38 years in the fire and rescue service – 20 years as fire chief – and joined the IAFC as a full member in 1987. In 2012, as fire chief of a metropolitan city, Mr. Brown was invited to join the IAFC/NFPA Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association. During his fire service career, Mr. Brown has served as President of the IAFC Missouri Valley Division; Treasurer, Director-at-Large and International Director of the IAFC Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Section; President of the Colorado State Fire Chiefs; and Chair of the Northern Virginia Fire Chief’s. Mr. Brown holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri and is a master’s degree candidate in Intelligence and National Security at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security in Washington, DC. Mr. Brown is a graduate of the United States Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer (EFO) Program and held Chief Fire Officer (CFO) designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence, Commission on Professional Credentialing, while actively serving as fire chief. Mr. Brown and his wife of 31-years have four sons and make their home in McLean, VA (Fairfax County), where Mr. Brown serves as Vice Chair of the Public Safety Committee for the McLean Citizens Association.

Task Force Cities

L975, Austin, TXPresident Bob Nicks/Chief Joel Baker
Carrie StewartIAFF F2T instructor
Dr. Mark KruseDepartment Psychologist (see bio below)
Andre Jordan
Dr. Tung Ho
Dr. Laura Lopez
L255, Calgary, ABPresident Codey McIntyre/Chief Steve Dongworth
Brad Olsen
JP Leblanc
L660, Charlotte, NCPresident Tom Brewer/Chief Reginald Johnson (not attending)
Peter SkerisDeputy Chief (delegate for Chief Johnson)
Jeff MatthewsCFD H&S Chief
Mike FeneisL660 Treasurer
L2068, Fairfax Co, VAPresident Robert Young/Chief John Butler
Brian Edmonston
Megan LautzDietician
Jenna Jackson
Chris Blair
Jake Patten
Eric Russell
Gregory WoodIAFF F2T Instructor
L416, Indianapolis, INPresident Hank Harris/Chief Ernest Malone
Robert Cesnik
Dr. Steve MoffattDepartment Physician/Public Safety Medical (see below)
Shannon Whiteley
Ron KautskyL416 Treasurer
Tim Drudge (L416 TA)
L1014, LA Co, CAPresident Dave Gillotte/Chief Anthony Marrone
Phil Working
LA County #2
LA EB Member
LA EB Member
LA Doctor
Fernando Montes
LA BH Clinician
L1403, Metro-Dade, FLPresident William McAllister/Director Raied Jaddalah (not attending)
Fred Defrias
Willie Williams(delegate for Chief Jadallah)
Michelle Steele(L1403 delegate)
Chris Pecori
L94, UFA-FDNYPresident Andrew Ansbro/Chief John Hodgens (not attending) (delegate for Chief Hodgens)
Michael SchreiberUFA H&S Officer
L854, UFOA-FDNYPresident James McCarthy
Dr. David PrezantFDNY Chief Medical Officer (see bio below)
Mike Zofchak
L493, Phoenix, AZPresident Bryan Willingham/Chief Mike Duran (not attending)
Jeff Schripsema (delegate for Chief Duran)
Bruce Tolliver
Noah Katz
Brian French
L27, SeattlePresident Kenny Stuart/Chief Harold Scoggins
Manny Romero
Kristin Cox
Marcie Hamrick
Dallas Baker

Distinguished Guests

Dr. David Prezant, Chief Medical Officer at the Office of Medical Affairs for the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY)

Dr. Prezant directs all medical protocol development for both day-to-day operations and homeland security issues. He is also co-director of the FDNY World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program and the Senior Pulmonary Consultant for FDNY. Dr. Prezant is a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Personal Protective Equipment in the Workplace, the National Fire Protection Association’s Health and Safety Committee, and the International Association of Firefighters Redmond Medical Advisory Board. He is a Professor of Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Director of Albert Einstein Medical School’s Pulmonary Course for medical students, and the Research Director for their Unified Pulmonary Division. Dr. Prezant responded on 9/11/01 to the World Trade Center and was present during the collapse and its aftermath. Since that day, he and Dr. Kelly (FDNY’s Chief Medical Officer at the Bureau of Health Services) have initiated a multi-million-dollar medical monitoring and treatment program for FDNY fire fighters funded by FDNY, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Dr. Prezant is the Principal Investigator for the FDNY Data Coordinating Center for the WTC Medical Monitoring Program and is on the Steering Committee for the WTC Medical Monitoring Program. He served as a member of the EPA WTC Technical Advisory Committee, the NYC Dept of Health WTC Registry Scientific Advisory Board, the NYS Governor’s WTC panel, and the NYC Mayor’s medical advisory board. Dr. Prezant has written extensively on pulmonary physiology, fire fighter health and safety, and since 9/11 on the health impact of World Trade Center Collapse on NYC fire fighters and EMS rescue workers. His group was the first to describe WTC Cough Syndrome (New England Journal of Medicine 2002) and has published extensively on this subject in the CDC MMWR, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Chest and Environmental Health Perspectives. His major research interest is in determining the mechanisms responsible for accelerated decline in longitudinal pulmonary function and/or airway hyperreactivity in fire fighters after WTC exposure. Other interests are in determining the mechanisms responsible for the increased incidence of sarcoidosis in fire fighters after WTC exposure.

Dr. Sara Jahnke, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Scientist National Development and Research Institutes (NDRI-USA)

Dr. Jahnke has over a decade of research experience on firefighter health, she has been the Principal Investigator on ten national studies as well as dozens of studies as a co-investigator. Her work has focused on a range of health concerns including the health of women firefighters, behavioral health, risk of injury, cancer, cardiovascular risk factors, and substance use with funding from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant R&D Program, the National Institutes of Health and other foundations. She has more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed medical literature.

Dr. Kerry Ramella, Owner and Clinical Director Public Safety Crisis Solutions

Owner and Clinical Director of PSCS. Dr. Ramella provides clinical oversight to our clinicians as well as treats First Responders. She brings 30 years of clinical and mental health experience to the practice and provides a wealth of knowledge to the field. She earned her PhD in Psychology and often consults with the International Association of Fire Fighters, Community Bridges and several Fire Departments in the nation.

Dr. Jefferey Burgess, University of Arizona Cancer Center

After graduating from the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr. Burgess completed a residency in Emergency Medicine, a Medical Toxicology fellowship, and a master’s degree in Toxicology and Industrial Hygiene at the University of Arizona, followed by an Occupational and Environmental Medicine fellowship and a Master of Public Health at the University of Washington. He returned to the University of Arizona in 1997 and is currently a Professor and Director of the Center for Firefighter Health Collaborative Research at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Dr. Burgess also previously worked as an Emergency Medicine physician, Medical Toxicologist and Occupational and Environmental Medicine physician. Dr. Burgess’ research has included evaluation and prevention of carcinogenic exposures to firefighters, miners, Native Americans, and populations exposed to arsenic in their water and food. Much of his recent research has involved firefighters, a group known to have increased cancer rates compared to the general population. Working in partnership with the Tucson Fire Department, his research team has identified effective interventions to reduce fireground exposures. In addition, the team has identified circulating microRNA and DNA methylation markers of increased cancer risk among firefighters. Dr. Burgess also is leading a research team that established and is now expanding the Fire Fighter Cancer Cohort Study (FFCCS), a national multicenter prospective study including exposure measurement, biomarkers of effect and cancer outcomes.

Dr. Dave Frost, University of Toronto/Performance Redefined

Dave is a Professor, Strength and Conditioning Coach (CSCS) and Registered Kinesiologist (RKin). He completed undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering, health studies and physical and health education at Queen’s University and received a Masters in sport biomechanics from Edith Cowan University and a doctorate in biomechanics from the University of Waterloo. His research interests include sport, exercise and occupational biomechanics, musculoskeletal health and injury prevention, movement screening, acute and long-term adaptations to exercise, firefighter wellness and fitness, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Dave’s current research is focused on helping people prepare for the physical demands of sport, work and life, and the application of theory to practice in exercise-related settings.
Dave has taught at three academic institutions (Edith Cowan University, University of Waterloo, University of Toronto), served as the Director of Education for the Ontario Kinesiology Association and worked for 15 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach in the United States, Australia and Canada with individuals of all ages, abilities and interests (e.g., Olympic and Professional athletes, firefighters, back pain patients). He frequently lectures on wellness, athletic performance and injury prevention, has authored several journal articles and book chapters on movement screening, assessment and exercise program design, and continues to advise numerous public and private organizations across the globe. Dave is an engaging and passionate presenter who aspires to share evidence-informed ideas that inspire, empower, and challenge individuals and organizations to redefine health, wellness and performance. This drive extends from an enthusiasm for motivating others to achieve success in their own lives and reflects a belief that education can be a powerful catalyst to facilitate positive change.

Kosta Poulos, Performance Redefined

Constantine (Kosta) graduated from York University in 2009, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, and a Diploma in Athletic Therapy. During his time at York University he interned as a Strength and Conditioning Coach, working primarily with the Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams. His experiences at York University inspired him to pursue a career in coaching, and shortly upon graduating he obtained his certification as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
Kosta has since had the great fortune to coach athletes competing at various level of sport in Canada and Internationally. Between 2009 and 2019 he has held Strength and Conditioning appointments at Toronto FC Academy, York University, University of Toronto, EXOS – Formerly Athletes Performance, the Canadian Sport Institute of Ontario, and York 9 FC. In 2016, inspired to become a better coach, he began graduate studies in the Biomechanics and Sports Medicine Lab at the University of Toronto. His graduate research examined the relationship between performance on dynamic multi-jointed movement tasks and passive range of motion. He completed his studies in 2019, earning a Masters of Science degree from the Department of Exercise Sciences.

Harrison Beeforth, Performance Redefined

Harrison Beeforth is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association and a Registered Kinesiologist (RKin) certified by the College of Kinesiologists of Ontario. Previously a five-year varsity athlete at the University of Toronto, he graduated with a Bachelor of Kinesiology and began working as a strength and conditioning coach and sessional instructor within the University of Toronto Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education. He spent 7 years there before joining the Performance Redefined team in July 2021 and has since been collaborating with the IAFF to develop and implement the Fit to Thrive program for its members.

Dr. Michael Hamrock, Boston FD Physician

Dr. Michael G. Hamrock is a former fire fighter and department physician for the Boston Fire Department and now provides primary care to many Massachusetts fire fighters at Steward St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston, MA.

Dr. Denise Smith, Skidmore College

Professor Smith’s primary area of research is cardiovascular health, with a specific focus on the relationship between heat stress and cardiovascular function. A significant portion of her research focuses on the cardiovascular strain associated with firefighting activity. She has led several government-funded studies to investigate strategies to minimize the physiological strain associated with firefighting. Professor Smith has also conducted several laboratory studies designed to identify specific components of firefighting activity (work performed, heat stress, sympathetic nervous stimulation) that are responsible for specific physiological responses to the combined stress of firefighting. Professor Smith has coauthored several textbooks and has published over 60 scientific papers, primarily on firefighter cardiovascular health. She has been awarded more than 15 million dollars in research funding, with awards from FEMA-AFG, DHS S&T, NIOSH, and DoD.

Dr. Suzy Bird Gulliver, Baylor-Scott & White Health, Warriors Research Institute

Dr. Suzy Bird Gulliver is a licensed clinical psychologist and clinical researcher. Currently, she serves as Director and Chief of the Warriors Research Institute and as a Professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center.
A native of Massachusetts, Dr. Gulliver began her academic journey in the north by attending Quinnipiac College for her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychobiology, followed by a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at Connecticut College. After completing her PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Vermont, Dr. Gulliver went on to work as a National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism-funded Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University and later spent 12 years in a variety of roles at the VA Boston Healthcare System including Associate Director of Outpatient Mental Health Programs. Dr. Gulliver made her way to Texas in 2007 and served as the Director of the VA VISN 17 Center of Excellence in Waco, Texas before founding the Warriors Research Institute (WRI) within Baylor Scott & White Health in 2013.
In her spare time, Dr. Gulliver can be found riding her horses, playing with her dog, Maggie, making a Starbucks run or doing yoga.

Howard "Scott" Ross, Local 1014, Peer Support Coordinator, Los Angeles County Fire Department

Scott is the Peer Support Coordinator for LA County Fire. He has been a peer support mentor for 18 years and he is dedicated to helping his brothers and sisters in the fire service overcome the mental stress of firefighting.

Dr. Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, University of Miami, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

The work environment plays an important role in worker health whether through possible exposures to job hazards or stress on the job, or through supportive social networks and opportunities to build self-esteem. There is mounting evidence that worksite cancer prevention interventions that integrate worksite health promotion and occupational health and safety are effective in promoting changes in cancer risk-related behaviors, particularly for blue-collar workers like construction workers. These workers face dual health risks through their exposures to occupational hazards and their high rates of risk-related behaviors, such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, or unhealthy diets. Dr. Caban-Martinez has demonstrated that the use of innovative worksite-based health assessments such as the lunch truck provides unique opportunities to provide workers with health promotion activities as well as collect self-report and biological data. Importantly, Dr. Caban-Martinez and his group has also observed increased levels of worker participation with this intervention model, compared to health promotion alone. Based on a synthesis of the evidence across studies, the Institute of Medicine and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have recommended this comprehensive approach to improving the health of workers. Dr. Caban-Martinez’s research has also included collaborations with labor unions, with whom they share a common mission to promote worker health and safety.

Dr. Natasha Schaefer Solle, University of Miami, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Schaefer Solle’s research interests focus on occupational cancer risks and improving cancer screening in underserved communities. She has played a critical role in the conception of the Firefighter Cancer Initiative (FCI), a multi-faceted project funded by the state of Florida to study firefighters’ exposure to carcinogens, examine their cancer risk, and develop methods of education about prevention and early detection. She has led multiple projects within FCI focusing on the epidemiology and cancer screening behaviors of active and retired firefighters.

Dr. Kerry Kuehl, Oregon Health Sciences University

Dr. Kuehl is a Professor of Medicine and Associate Director of the Human Performance Laboratory in the Division of Health Promotion and Sports Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon. He has a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology, a Doctorate of Public Health in Nutrition, and medical specialty board certification in Internal Medicine. He is a teacher, researcher, and primary care physician specializing in occupational medicine as it relates to improving wellness and safety in the workplace to reduce illness and injury among workers.
Dr. Kuehl is recognized for his work with first responders and law enforcement personnel and has been on the frontlines with national and international police and fire service organizations for the past two decades. He is a consultant on the physician panel for the NFPA 1500, Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program and NFPA 1582, Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments and a member of the physician group for the IAFF IACP Joint Wellness Fitness Initiative Task Force. In addition, Dr. Kuehl has presented the PHLAME study for the past decade at the IAFF and IAFC meetings establishing himself as a leading researcher on the economic outcomes from first responder injuries. He previously demonstrated that the PHLAME program is effective in promoting a wide range of beneficial health and safety behaviors, including reducing costs and injuries. In addition, Dr. Kuehl is the principal investigator on the NIOSH funded SHIELD study, a health and safety program for law enforcement personnel, and the Oregon DOC Study, a health promotion and protection study of Oregon Department of Correctional Officers. He has presented and published the results showing a significant increase in health behaviors including improved diet, exercise, and sleep patterns, reducing CVD risk, and reducing stress related illness and injury. Dr. Kuehl has published over 100 scientific and 200 lay articles. Below is a summary of his Oregon DOC Study.

Dr. Aisha Rivera Margarin, Program Director, Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Aisha Rivera Margarin Program Director, Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Derek Urwin, Local 1014, Los Angeles County Fire Department

Dr. Derek Urwin, received his Ph.D. in chemistry at UCLA and has been a fire fighter for 15 years. A member of Los Angeles County, CA Local 1014, he began his fire service career with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. He currently serves as an engineer with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. He works collaboratively with academic researchers on the Fire Fighter Cancer Cohort Study and is a member of California State Fire Training’s Behavioral Health and Cancer Awareness Curriculum Development Cadre. In addition, he has served as a live fire training and roof operations instructor with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. His doctoral research examines how carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) found on the fire ground damage DNA.

Dave Bernzweig, Local 67 Columbus, Ohio Fire Department

David Bernzweig has been in the fire service for 35 years, the past 27 with the Columbus (OH) Division of Fire, where he is a battalion chief. He is the Director of Health, Safety, and EMS for the Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters and a member of several NFPA Technical Committees, including Occupational Safety and Health, Emergency Responder Health, the Correlating Committee for Protective Clothing and Equipment, and Respiratory Protective Equipment. He also serves on the InterAgency Board (IAB), and the Health and Safety Committee for the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association. In addition, Bernzweig is a Safety Officer for FEMA US&R Ohio Task Force One and a Fire Instructor for the State of Ohio. He has degrees in political science and economics from The Ohio State University.

Dr. Abby Morris, Medical Director IAFF Center of Excellence

A graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine, Dr. Abby Morris is board-certified in psychiatry and addiction medicine with diverse experience in community mental health, substance abuse, inpatient and private practice settings. She is responsible for all inpatient care, training and future operations planning. She develops the individualized plan of care that will follow each client throughout their stay at the Center. Before her appointment to the IAFF Center of Excellence, Dr. Abby Morris was the medical director of a 24-bed inpatient facility that treated addiction and behavioral health disorders.

Dr. Donald Stewart, Fairfax County, VA Fire and Rescue Department

Dr. Stewart is the Medical Director for the Fairfax County, Virginia Public Safety Occupational Health Center (PSOHC).  The PSOHC provides a wide variety of occupational and preventive health services for a group of nearly 4500 public safety employees. Dr. Stewart is also the founder and president of Medocracy, Inc., a small business incorporated in 2002 to provide occupational medical services to government employees working in the Public Safety sector. Dr. Stewart is board certified in Aerospace Medicine and board eligible in Occupational Medicine.  Prior to assuming his current position, Dr. Stewart spent over a decade working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in positions of increasing responsibility. Dr. Stewart sits on several key committees, including the NFPA 1500 Committee and the IAFF/IFC Wellness/Fitness Initiative Technical Committee

Dr. Marc Kruse, Austin, TX Fire Department

Dr. Marc Kruse is the staff psychologist for the Austin Fire Department and Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services. He is a licensed clinical psychologist who earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and completed his clinical internship at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown Medical School and the Providence, Rhode Island Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
He is an Assistant Professor (Research) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the College of Medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center. Prior to joining the City of Austin, Marc was an investigator on multiple federally-funded research projects and directed the data management division of the Central Texas VA and VISN 17 Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans. In addition to his work with military veterans, Dr. Kruse has been involved in clinical research with firefighters and first-responders from Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Fairfax, New York, Providence, and Toronto.
The majority of Dr. Kruse’s clinical and research efforts are focused on working with trauma-exposed populations (firefighters, first-responders, military veterans) with particular emphasis on the assessment and treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders. Marc currently has two ongoing studies with Paramedics (“Job Satisfaction and Occupational Stress in Paramedics” and “Patterns of Sleep in Emergency Medical Service Providers”) and is working with collaborators to establish a multi-city, longitudinal study of behavioral health issues affecting EMS providers. His clinical practice emphasizes the use of empirically-supported treatments. Dr. Kruse joined the SAHARA Lab in the Fall of 2000, earned his M.A. in May of 2003, and his Ph.D. in August of 2008. As a graduate student under the supervision of Dr. Fromme, Marc took a lead role on multiple research projects including several alcohol administration and laboratory assessment studies as well as recruitment for “The UT Experience!” study. Marc’s dissertation was focused on the identification of factors (physiological, psychological, and social) that reliably differentiate underage drinkers who are at a greater risk for experiencing alcohol-related problems and persisting in heavy drinking patterns into adulthood from those who will naturally “mature out” of heavy drinking in response to life changes. In conjunction with Dr. Fromme, Marc developed and conducted a series of studies designed to examine the potential influence of individual differences in subjective response to alcohol on the drinking patterns of emerging adults. In particular, his research efforts centered on the development of a valid and reliable self-report measure of subjective response to alcohol that can be utilized with underage drinkers; and exploration of whether individual differences in subjective response to alcohol are unique to the pharmacological effects of ethanol or represent a general pattern of responsiveness to physiological sensations. Marc was awarded a 3 year Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Pre-Doctoral Fellowship from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to support his research. On a personal note, Marc lives in Georgetown, Texas (a suburb approximately 35 miles north of downtown Austin) with his wife Crystal, son Jake, daughter Katie, and two cats. Marc considers himself very fortunate to have been trained by Dr. Fromme and the other faculty in the Department of Psychology at UT and is happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the clinical psychology program at UT, working with Dr. Fromme in the SAHARA Lab, or living in Texas (both Marc and his wife are native Californians). You may feel free to contact him by e-mail at: [email protected].

Dr. Steven Moffatt, Public Safety Medical

Public Safety Medical is privileged to have a rich history of influencing first responder health and safety at the state and national level. Below is a timeline of our history.

1980 – 1989
In the 1980’s, Thomas Miller, an Indianapolis firefighter, sought to establish a medical evaluation designed around the needs of firefighters due to the growing prevalence of death from heart attacks and other health issues that were becoming safety concerns. Dr. Steven Moffatt became a trusted partner to oversee and design the Indianapolis Fire Department’s medical surveillance program. Thomas Miller served as the General Secretary Treasurer of the International Association of Fire Fighters labor organization.

1990 – 1999
In the 1990’s, Public Safety Medical was formed by Dr. Steven Moffatt. His practice began to detect heart disease before heart attacks, cancers in the early stages, and the injury numbers of the department began to decrease. In 1996, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) began a collaboration to design an internationally recommended health and safety program to prevent early death and disability in the fire service.

Due to Public Safety Medical’s early success, the IAFF/IAFC asked Local 416, the Indianapolis Fire Department, and Public Safety Medical to participate in that founding task force. Out of that initiative came three programs: the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT), the IAFF/ACE Peer Fitness Trainer program, and the IAFF/IAFC Wellness-Fitness Initiative. In 1999, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine awarded Indianapolis and Public Safety Medical with the coveted Corporate Health Achievement Award. This award recognized our efforts in improving the health and safety of Marion County public safety employees. Indianapolis was the first municipality ever to receive this award.

2000 – 2010
The IAFF/IAFC Wellness-Fitness Initiative continued to grow in influence. In 2003, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) adjusted their 1582 standard to comply with the standards listed in this program. The National Fallen Fire Fighters (NFFF) went on to advocate for this program as well. At the same time, Public Safety Medical continued to experience fast growth. Our trusted partners increased from a handful of departments to working with over 200 public safety agencies. With a commitment to lead the fight against early death and disability, Public Safety Medical joined the medical advisory board for the IAFF John P. Redmond Foundation as well as the advisory board for the NIOSH Cardiovascular Disease Study.

In the early 2010’s, Public Safety Medical began developing research partnerships with the leading researchers in public safety as a clinical extension of their great work. As a response to mental health concerns among first responders, Public Safety Medical acquired the psychological evaluations division of the Institute for Public Safety Personnel (IPSP). This acquisition was important because it created a center for both the medical and psychological evaluations. Both Public Safety Medical’s medical evaluations and IPSP’s psychological evaluations have been successfully defended in Federal Court.

Public Safety Medical expanded its focus to include the health and safety of transit system drivers. We were chosen to perform the first national pilot study of rural transit drivers consisting of approximately 1000 drivers across the state of Indiana. We were also tasked with evaluating the impact of a landmark legislative change involving the medical requirements of CDL holders.

Additionally, Public Safety Medical initiated a Public Safety Cardiovascular Disease Early Detection and Prevention Program as a 3-year pilot. We have performed hundreds of coronary calcium scores in a population of 1200 firefighters over a 2-year timeframe.

Public Safety Medical began serving as a consultant to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) TRACS Committee which was charged to provide recommendations to congress regarding the safety of transit drivers in the United States. We also held our inaugural fire service wellness-fitness symposium with 150 attendees.

Public Safety Medical was commissioned to create a public-safety-focused health and wellness chapter for the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. This is the only physician-led organization in the United States that is dedicated to the health and safety of first responders.

Public Safety Medical introduced the National Institute for Public Safety Health with a mission to provide the highest quality clinical research, education, and advocacy to maximize the health and safety of public safety personnel. Public Safety Medical was asked to serve as a technical committee member for the National Fire Protection Association’s 1582 Standard that is focused on the requirements for a comprehensive occupational medical program for public, governmental, military, private, and industrial fire departments.

Public Safety Medical celebrates 25 years of service! Additionally, we held our inaugural law enforcement wellness-fitness symposium and added a new physician to our team.

Public Safety Medical is committed to leading the fight to improve the health and safety of public safety professionals. We have pursued and committed ourselves to becoming a national Center of Excellence for public safety medical and psychological services, and we have joined the conversation at a national level regarding public policy.

IAFF Staff

Pat MorrisonChief of Field Services
Daniel WhuChief Medical Officer, AGP for Health, Safety and Medicine
Angie WannerExecutive Secretary
Neil McMillanDirector, Science and Research
Sean DeCraneDirector, H&S Operational Services
Grady ValencisDeputy Director, H&S OS
John NiemiecDeputy Director, Occupational and Behavioral Health
Racquel SegallDeputy Director, S&R
Lauren KoscProgram Manager, Behavioral Health Specialist
Scott RobinsonBH Specialist
Gordon WilsonBH Specialist
Courtney BenedictH&S Specialist, FGS/RTI training coordinator
Jason AtkinH&S Specialist, F2T training coordinator
Bill BussingH&S Specialist, CPAT coordinator
Emily WashenkoH&S Specialist, S&R
Steve YannarellH&S Specialist, S&R

We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming WFI Task Force meeting. This will be an incredible opportunity for all stakeholders to share their experiences and learn about the efforts and initiatives currently underway to improve the state of wellness and fitness in the fire service.

An important objective for our team for this event is to thoroughly capture and document your experiences, feedback, and ideas pertaining to the current edition of the WFI and future steps leading to the updated edition. We would like to start this process by asking two members of your team to complete a short survey.

The survey should be completed (if possible) by the Fire Chief and the Union Executive from each participating department. Alternatively, management and union leaders can delegate the completion of the survey to another member of their team, provided that they are able to furnish the information required. Only one response from management and one response from labor per department is required.

It is estimated that the survey will take between 10-15 minutes to complete.

To access the survey, click the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YT65YPN

Deadline to complete the survey: Friday, Nov. 25

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]. You might receive answers from Kosta Poulos from Performance Redefined, the IAFF’s F2T consultant team. Kosta’s email address is [email protected].

The International Association of Fire Fighters, in cooperation with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, committed to an unprecedented endeavor by collaborating with 10 of North America’s finest fire departments to build a stronger fire service by strengthening our foundation – the fire fighter.

The participating departments on the Task Force are:

    • Austin, TX Local 975
    • Calgary, AB Local 255
    • Charlotte, NC Local 660
    • Fairfax, VA Local 2068
    • Indianapolis, IN Local 416
    • Los Angeles County, CA Local 1014
    • Metro Dade, FL Local 1403
    • New York City, NY Local 94 and Local 854
    • Phoenix, AZ Local 493
    • Seattle, WA Local 27

A comprehensive wellness program that emphasizes physical, mental, and emotional well-being must be made available to recruits, active fire fighters, and retirees. The Fire Service Joint Labor Management Wellness-Fitness Initiative (WFI) has served as a guide for departments to engage in this pursuit for the past 25 years. Ultimately any wellness-fitness program must be comprehensive, inclusive, accessible, and focused on behavioral change. The original aims of the WFI include:

    • Overcome the historic fire service punitive mentality of physical fitness and wellness issues
    • Move beyond negative timed, task-based performance testing to progressive wellness improvement
    • Require a commitment by labor and management to a positive individualized fitness/wellness program
    • Develop a holistic wellness approach that includes medical, fitness, rehabilitation, and behavioral health

Fire fighters must continue to respond to emergency incidents that require extreme physical output and often result in challenging physiological and psychological outcomes. Such situations, over time, can and do affect the overall wellness of the fire fighting and emergency response system. Tomorrow’s fire service requires that we keep our fire fighters fit today. The ultimate goal of the Fire Service Joint Labor Management Wellness-Fitness Initiative is to improve the quality of life for all fire fighters. This system proves the value of investing wellness resources over time to maintain a fit, healthy, and capable fire fighter throughout his/her 25-30+ year career and beyond. An effective program should realize significant cost savings in lost work time, workers’ compensation, and disability.

The Process
The first phase of this comprehensive system involved the creation of a network of selected geographically diverse fire departments with excellent union/management relations. Each selected fire department is represented by the fire chief and the IAFF local union president, with additional expertise often provided by the department physician, physiologist, and/or fitness coordinator. A commitment to assuring full union/management cooperation has been received from each department that committed to implementing the Task Force project.

The second phase entailed the development of thorough, holistic wellness programs that fit into the WFI system. Through data collection and analysis, the participating departments created valid baseline data suitable for fire service wide comparisons. The final phase was the creation of a comprehensive system for distribution to the fire service.

The Fire Service Joint Labor Management Wellness-Fitness Initiative manual, now in its fourth edition, is available for free to all IAFF affiliate presidents. Now 26 years old, it continues to be highlighted at the IAFF’s Redmond Symposium/Barbera EMS Conference and the IAFC’s FRI Conference. In 2022, the IAFF, the IAFC and the Task Force members studied barriers and facilitators to WFI implementation and are planning to develop the fifth edition of the WFI Manual along with a third edition of the CPAT Manual and revalidation of the CPAT.

The Mission
An overall wellness/fitness system must be developed to maintain fire fighters’ physical and mental capabilities and should be the objective of every fire department in cooperation with its local IAFF affiliate. While such a program may be mandatory, the agreement to initiate it must be mutual between the administration and its members represented by the local union. Any program of physical fitness must be positive and not punitive in design; require mandatory participation by all uniformed personnel in the department once implemented; allow for age, gender, and position in the department; allow for on-duty-time participation utilizing facilities provided or arranged by the department; provide for rehabilitation and support for those in need; contain training and education components; and be reasonable and equitable to all participants.

The program must address the following key points:

    • Confidential behavioral, medical, and fitness evaluations
    • Development of a physical fitness and wellness program that is educational and rehabilitative and not punitive
    • Requires a commitment by labor and management to a positive individualized fitness/wellness program
    • Development of a holistic wellness approach that includes:
      • Fitness
      • Medical
      • Rehabilitation
      • Behavioral health

The Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) was developed as a fair and valid evaluation tool to assist in the selection of fire fighters, and to ensure that all fire fighter candidates possess the physical ability to complete critical tasks effectively and safely. The CPAT program covers every aspect of administering the CPAT, including recruiting and mentoring programs, providing recruits with fitness guidance to help prepare them for the CPAT, and setting up and administering the test. The entire validation process is discussed in detail, as well as the legal issues that departments might face when implementing the actual program.

We are leading an innovative charge to improve fire fighter health and wellness by launching the FIT TO THRIVE (F2T) program. Born as an extension of the IAFF/IAFC Peer Fitness Trainer (PFT) program, F2T is designed to support the WFI by helping more fire fighters be more active, more often so they can experience the benefits of regular exercise. It is comprehensive, inclusive, accessible, and focused on behavior change.