A Publication of WTVP

Dr. Cheryl Colbenson is a board-certified emergency medicine physician at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, and the Emergency Medical Services medical director for the Peoria Area EMS System, which includes 60 EMS agencies and approximately 1,600 pre-hospital providers. She also serves as a clinical assistant professor of surgery at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.

Colbenson’s duties as medical director are performed on behalf of the Illinois Department of Public Health. Under the law, more than 1,600 local volunteer and professional paramedics, EMTs, firefighters and RNs who serve the nine-county area under her direction actually operate on her medical license, which is a great responsibility.

Among her many professional accomplishments, Colbenson has made technical revisions to paramedic/EMT clinical protocols to speed the treatment of strokes and heart attacks, and directly authored new rules for pre-hospital care, significantly improving patient outcomes. Her revolutionary changes to training, education and medical care protocols more than doubled the survivability of sudden cardiac arrest victims in Peoria. As medical and treatment procedures have grown more complex, the model education programs for providers in patient safety have vastly improved under her watch.

After years of searching for paramedical solutions for emergency response in Peoria Heights, Colbenson coached the local government and fire department in developing the village’s first-ever paramedic response system.

Colbenson is a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Illinois College of Emergency Physicians, and the National Association of Emergency Medical Physicians. She was elected chairperson of the Region II EMS Advisory Board in 2008, and was recently selected to chair the newly-formed Illinois Department of Public Health Stroke Advisory Subcommittee.

Colbenson also volunteers to raise money and awareness for Children’s Hospital of Illinois, the Tim Ardis Foundation for Hope, Heartland Community Health Clinic, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Peoria. She has also been an avid supporter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for over a decade, aligning with her college roommate’s fight for a cure. iBi