Dr. Simmons began her career in EMS in 1994 during her training as a resident in Emergency Medicine. Dr. Simmons grew up in El Paso, Texas and graduated with honors from Texas Tech University. Upon completing her undergraduate degree in Cell and Molecular Biology, she attended the UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. She then went on to complete a residency in Emergency Medicine at the University of Florida in Jacksonville. She returned to the DFW area in 1998 and has actively practiced Emergency Medicine in Arlington since then. Currently, she is an Attending Physician at the Medical Center of Arlington. She has served as a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center teaching Emergency Medicine at Parkland Hospital. She serves as the Medical Director for the AEMS System and the Grand Prairie Fire Department, Public Health Authority for the City of Arlington, and a full time mom to two small children.

No Excuses, Hands Only CPR is a community-wide initiative designed to improve out of hospital cardiac arrest survival rates in the City of Arlington by implementing all currently recommended American Heart resuscitation interventions within the EMS system and coordinating post resuscitation care at hospitals. This System-of-Care approach incorporates methods to optimize care during and after cardiac arrest resuscitation. The program has key community components including the development of a public service announcements of Compression Only CPR and the teaching of this Hands Only CPR by the Arlington EMS System.
When an adult suddenly collapses, immediate chest compressions, No Excuses, Hands Only CPR can make the biggest difference in surviving a cardiac arrest. Nearly anyone can do this. Together, we can make Arlington not just a great place to live, but also a great place to survive cardiac arrest

Eight areas of service are included in the responsibilities and duties of the Medical Director and comprise the clinical components of the EMS System.

Medical Director

The Medical Director for the Arlington EMS System (AEMS) is the physician responsible for comprehensive medical oversight of all clinical care provided in the EMS System. The Arlington EMS System includes the Arlington Fire Department and the ambulance contractor, American Medical Response. Dr. Cynthia Simmons, MD, FACEP has been the Medical Director for the Arlington EMS System since 2006. The system is comprised of over 600 individual providers and answers over 36,000 calls for service every year.
Most recently, Dr. Simmons has provided medical oversight for the Office of Special Events within the Arlington Fire Department providing expertise in the medical operations of special events. As Medical Director, she has has responsibilities including medical operations plans for the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Superbowl XLV, the 2010 World Series in Arlington.

Clinical Practice of Medicine

Clinical care is the primary function of an EMS System. Medical care of patients that encounter any component of the EMS System should be scientifically and operationally sound and appropriate for the patient condition and provider capabilities. The summation of clinical expectations of all providers and organizations in the System are contained in the AEMS Clinical Protocols and Policies. The protocols and policies are the end result of review of clinical evidence, professional practice guidelines, and operational capabilities.

Quality Improvement/Performance Assessment

Quality Improvement and Performance Assessment of the EMS System includes prospective, retrospective and concurrent review of all aspects of system functioning. These aspects potentially impact patient care including system design and resource deployment, clinical performance, provider education, equipment implementation, response intervals, patient outcome, patient and provider satisfaction and participation in EMS benchmarking activities. The Medical Director serves at the chair for all AEMS quality assurance functions.

Healthcare Provider Education

Education of EMS Providers and system participants (Hospitals, Medical Community) is developed as part of an integrated process between Quality Improvement and Performance Assessment findings, individual needs and specific educational requirements of licensing/certifying agencies. Dr. Simmons is responsible for approval of all system clinical education programs, with the approval of the Emergency Physicians Advisory Board as indicated, as well as delivery of specific targeted programs to designated providers within the System.

Regulatory Functions

The Medical Director of an EMS System is required to perform several administrative regulatory functions. The structure of these processes are defined and supported by state statute within the Texas Health & Safety Code and The Texas Medical Board Rules, Chapter 197.

Public Education and Outreach

An important part of any emergency health services system is informing and educating the public about issues that may pose a threat to health or safety. The Arlington Medical Director also currently serves as the Public Health Authority for the City of Arlington. The office has provided the city of Arlington with a response plans for events such as the novel H1N1 Influenza virus response, CPR Arlington, and the new No Excuses, Hands only CPR programs.


Clinical Research conducted in the EMS System is an important part of evaluating the evidence associated with field clinical care. Research may be specific to the EMS System or in collaboration with other healthcare entities.


Advocacy includes efforts to promote concepts of street medicine and the EMS profession as a whole. It includes participating in local, state, regional and national initiatives that improve the practice of medicine, patient outcomes, and professional stature of the EMS System. Initiatitives within the Arlington EMS system include the support of local and coordination of a comprehensive system in the City of Arlington for patients with chest pain to be managed at hospitals accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers. The city wide coordination has shown to improve survival and outcomes for patients experiencing an acute coronary syndrome.

The Arlington EMS System also participates in community wide coordination, education and treatment for patients having an acute stroke and transports these patients only to JCAHO accredited Stroke Centers.

Currently, with the new No Excuses, Hands Only CPR program, the AEMS System hopes to improve to survivability of patients having a cardiac arrest within the City of Arlington.

Practice Management and Collaboration

Comprehensive Medical Oversight of a large multi-agency system requires certain reliable, consistent business management processes that facilitate an integrated, collaborative approach as well as a responsive system that can address the needs of all involved in delivery of care within the System