City of Miami Honors Dr. Kathleen Schrank with a Special ‘Day’
June 22 was declared “Dr. Kathleen Schrank Day” by the City of Miami in recognition of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine emergency physician’s 30-year tenure as medical director of Miami Fire-Rescue Emergency Medical Service — a position from which she will retire on July 1.
Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado announced the honor as the first order of business during a City Commission meeting held at City Hall in Coconut Grove. He presented Schrank with a proclamation, signed by himself and all of the Miami City Commissioners, honoring her significant achievements as medical director and declaring the dedication of the day in her name.
The presentation generated enthusiastic applause and cheers from the more than 40 Miami firefighters who had shown up for the event. Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban and former chief Maurice Kemp then listed some of Schrank’s most significant achievements over three decades, including helping the department’s number of certified paramedics grow from 90 to 700.
Kathleen Schrank, M.D., is also retiring from the Miller School as professor of clinical medicine. A native of Wisconsin, she and her husband, Robert Schrank, who accompanied her to the presentation, moved to Miami after graduating from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She entered the Miller School, and he entered the UM School of Law, eventually becoming a public defender. The two joke that some of her patients were also his clients.
Schrank did her residency at UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital, during which she discovered an affinity for emergency medicine, calling it the “best part” of her residency experience. She joined the Miller School faculty in 1982 as chief medical resident for one year, and then, fortuitously, the only open permanent position was in Jackson’s emergency department. Most of her clinical service has taken place in Jackson’s ER, which has strong ties with Miami Fire-Rescue, so she quickly became involved with the Emergency Medical Service, and became its medical director in 1987.
Schrank estimates that her work as the EMS medical director took up half of her time. The other half was busily spent treating patients, directing Emergency Services at Jackson, teaching medical students, advising student organizations, working with the Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education to develop training programs, and still serves as EMS medical director for the Village of Key Biscayne. It has been a busy time, and she and her husband are looking forward to a quieter pace that will include a lot of traveling.
First, however, Fire-Rescue is giving her a less formal send-off next week at a luncheon at Perricone’s. Many of those in attendance will be retired Fire-Rescue personnel with whom she worked closely over the past 30 years.
“They were all my partners all those years,” she said.