Calgary paramedic Ian Blanchard receives national recognition


A Calgary paramedic has received national recognition for his years of frontline work and groundbreaking research to improve patient outcomes.

“I was very surprised, very humbled and very honored,” says Ian Blanchard, who learned of the award at a staff meeting. “It's really nice to receive the award and to have that recognition from a committee that reviews all these applications. But what's also important to me is that my colleagues put my name forward, which was very unexpected and really nice of them.”

Since 1997, Blanchard has spent most of his career improving the amount and quality of research that paramedics use in their daily practice.

“That meant I had to step back quite a bit from front-line clinical work to focus on building this research enterprise that didn't really exist until people like me and others around the country started doing it,” he said.

Blanchard has recently spent a lot of time improving cardiac arrest care, and his work has transformed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for paramedics in Alberta.

Blanchard says small things can make a big difference, so the focus now is more on achieving the right speed and depth of CPR and providing feedback to paramedics.

“We've actually been able to help raise awareness among paramedics and give them the knowledge they need to improve their care. And we're seeing more and more patients survive,” Blanchard says.

In September, Blanchard will fly to Halifax to receive his award at the Paramedicine Across Canada Expo.

“I'm not the type of person who likes to receive awards or pat myself on the back,” he said. “So in some ways it's hard for me to accept an award like this because I know there are so many paramedics out there who deserve this award.”