GREG SANTA MARIA  is the director of public safety at Sanford Health, who shares his experience responding to the 9/11 attacks, his role in coordinating evacuations during Hurricane Dorian in Florida and, through it all, his continual process of learning and sharing expertise.

 As if it were yesterday –  A 9/11 paramedic looks back.
For a New York City paramedic who had seen it all, the attacks on 9/11 changed everything



Greg Santa Maria is the Director of Public Safety at Sanford Health, a South Dakota based healthcare organization. In his current role, he has oversight of enterprise safety, security, and emergency management functions for 44 hospitals and more than 200 senior care locations in 26 states and nine countries. In the past. Mr. Santa Maria has coordinated responses to the H1N1 outbreak, Ebola, and multiple mass gathering events. Most recently, he led an incident management initiative in Kissimmee Florida in response to Hurricane Dorian and then transitioned his organization to support a massive response to Coronavirus. Using his interest in disaster research, he has implemented an evidence-based disaster management process at Sanford Health and developed an ESF based corporate response plan which has been successfully tested during several actual

Mr. Santa Maria previously served as the program director for the Saint Vincents Hospital Paramedic Program in lower Manhattan, where he led the Saint Vincent’s Hospital Disaster and Terrorism Preparedness initiative. In 2002, he received a distinguished service award for his participation in the response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center of September 11, 2001. He is a former paramedic representative to the NYC Regional Emergency Medical Advisory Committee, and currently serves as a non-physician subject matter expert for the American Academy of Disaster Medicine. He is also the President and founding member of the SD Healthcare Coalition Governing Board. Mr. Santa Maria has a master’s degree in emergency and disaster management and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Health Science, concentrating on global health and politics.


The Saint Vincents Response to the Events of September 11
During the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, Greg Santa Maria was Paramedic Program Director at Saint Vincents Hospital, the closest level 1 trauma center to Ground Zero. In this presentation, Mr. Santa Maria brings us back to the day’s events, unexpected failures, and uplifting memories of humanity in the face of terror.

In this presentation, Greg Santa Maria recounts life before September 11th, 2001, his experiences on that tragic day, and how those experiences inspired his life’s work. This is a must-see emotional presentation on human resilience, transformation, and rebirth.


Using the events of September 11th as a backdrop, Greg Santa Maria talks about emergency preparedness, living outside the box, and how attendees can harness the lessons learned at Saint Vincents Hospital in New York City to change emergency preparedness practices.

REMAINING CALM – Immediate Stress Reactions, Dissociation, and Decision Making During Disasters
In this presentation, Greg Santa Maria discusses his personal experiences with dissociation on September 11th, 2001, his 20 years of research on the subject, and how first responders in decision-making roles can overcome the immediate surge of stress and the physiological impact on decision making.

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