The Institute for Emergency Medicine

Read the Be-laws

About the Institute for Emergency Medicine

The Institute for Emergency Medicine has been founded in 1998 on the initiative of physicians working in emergency medical units, and rescuers and paramedics from the Tatra Volunteer Search and Rescue, the Mountain Volunteer Search and Rescue, and the Polish Automobile and Motorcycle Federation. The founding and activities of the Institute would not have been possible without the support of the Medycyna Praktyczna (Medicine in Practice) medical publishers. The mission of the Institute has always been to promote education on emergency medicine, first aid, and organisation of the system of emergency medicine, to standardize emergency medical procedures, implementing international standards in the field in Poland, conducting and certifying emergency medicine courses.

The Institute has collaborated with the Jagiellonian University Medical College, the Tatra Volunteer Search and Rescue, the Mountain Volunteer Search and Rescue, units of the State Fire Service and Volunteer Fire Service, and with the Polish Medical Mission, an NGO founded in 1999. Since its founding in 1998, the Institute carried out initiatives and projects which exerted a major influence on the contemporary system of emergency medicine in Poland.

Since the end of February 2022, the activities of the IRM have been focusing primarily on helping Ukraine.

Governing bodies of the Institute

Wojciech Bodzoń, MD, PhD, was the main initiator and founder of the Institute. The organisation is governed by the Board elected by the General Assembly of its members. Currently, Jarosław Gucwa, MD, is Chair of the Institute. The Board members are: Katarzyna Leszkiewicz, Eleonora Majchrzyk, Ewa Piekarska.


The Institute certifies emergency medicine courses and trainings organised by the Medycyna Praktyczna – Szkolenia medical training company. In 2000 the Institute for Emergency Medicine introduced the first certified Basic Trauma Life Support training (BTLS; currently International Trauma Life Support [ITLS]) in advanced life-saving procedures in body injury in prehospital care. In 2002–2007 the Institute cooperated with the Tel Aviv Medical Center and Magen David Adom Israel to provide training on procedures in mass accidents and catastrophes.

Publications and films

One of the key elements of the activities of the Institute is publishing materials in cooperation with Medycyna Praktyczna (Medicine in Practice) medical publishers. Together they have published scripts for organising medical emergency systems, procedures in mass accidents and catastrophes, and procedures for emergency dispatchers. Thanks to cooperation with the Studio Arlekin film company, the Institute produced films under the working titles Mass Accidents and The Chemist. Both are widely used as didactic materials presenting the rules and regulations of emergency services in mass accidents and cases of chemical contamination.
Together with the Polish Public Television, the Institute produced educational materials on first aid in life-threatening situations.


Polish Championship in Emergency Medicine and Roadside Rescue

In September 2002, the Institute for Emergency Medicine, local authorities and firefighter service of the Limanowa powiat, the Emergency Medicine on the Road section of the Polish Automobile and Motorcycle Federation organised the first Polish Championship in Emergency Medicine and Roadside Rescue. The competition, which lasted for two days, brought together 42 teams representing emergency medical institutions both from the governmental and the NGO sector, including the State Fire Service, the Volunteer Fire Service, the Tatra Volunteer Search and Rescue, the Mountain Volunteer Search and Rescue, and the Water Volunteer Search and Rescue. The formula of simulating emergency events and evaluating the teams on the basis of unbiased assessment spreadsheets was adopted from Rallye Rejviz. The competition was considered a great success. Firstly, it raised a lot of interest in the emergency medicine circles in Poland. Secondly, it demonstrated how similar events may be organised and coordinated. Thirdly, it taught how to construct the tasks and evaluate them.

The initiator and the Leader of the Championship was Przemysław Guła, while Jacek Wyrwa served as the technical director of the competition.

In the following years the Championship increased their dimensions and reach. About 100 EMS units participated every year. The time of the competition was increased to 4 days. Tasks were completed on three parallel paths. Gradually, the number of competing teams from abroad rose as well to include teams from Israel, Turkey, USA, Germany, Lithuania, Serbia, Belarus, Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary, and other countries.

The Championships took place in Gródek nad Dunajcem (2003), Krynice (2004), Stara Lubownia (with a base in Slovakia, 2005), and in Gródek nad Dunacjem again (2006).

Numbers best show the scale of the events: actions of ca. 100 teams (350 participants) had to be coordinated, alongside with the work of 500 referees, technical service workers, paramedics from the State Fire Service, the Volunteer Fire Service, the Tatra Volunteer Search and Rescue, the Mountain Volunteer Search and Rescue, and the Water Volunteer Search and Rescue, the police with additional 100 vehicles, boats, and helicopters. The organisational activities were supported by reliable volunteers, actors, and logistical teams. In sum, each time the championship brought together almost 1,000 people including the accompanying persons and journalists.

After the 5th championship in 2006, the decision was made to pass the responsibility for organising the event to other regions and institutions, with the Institute for Emergency Medicine continuing to oversee the medical aspects of the competition. Next championships took place in Olsztyn (2007), Białystok (2008), Lublin (2009). The 10th edition of the championships brought it back to the vicinity of Nowy Sącz (Rytro, 2011) and was once again organised by the Institute for Emergency Medicine.

In 2005-2010 the Institute worked with the State Fire Service, the Volunteer Fire Service, and local state administration from Sucha Beskidzka to organise another competition in emergency medicine in Kurów for institutions belonging to or collaborating with the National Rescue and Firefighting System in Poland. Ca. 50 teams from Poland and abroad, representing mainly firefighting, mountain and water rescue, and law enforcement institutions, participated in the event.

International cooperation

Since its founding the Institute has cooperated with international partners in various respects (e.g., trainings), including American Heart Association, European Resuscitation Council, International Trauma Life Support, Magen David Adom Israel, Tel Aviv Medical Center. The Institute has collaborated with the 112-Izmir medical emergency in Turkey and with the Serbian Resuscitation Council.

Representatives of the Institute have participated in all the major international congresses and symposia on emergency medicine, including WADEM, EuSEM, Stavanger—Scandinavian Resuscitation Conference, IPRED, and in numerous training and educational programs in Croatia, Serbia, Turkey, Georgia, and Ukraine. Representatives of emergency medical service from the aforementioned countries have on their part participated in analogous trainings in Poland. The Institute has organised training for physicians from Afghanistan and for paramedics from Dominicana in cooperation with the Polish Medical Mission.

Representatives of the Institute participated in emergency medicine competitions abroad, including the Israeli Championships in 2006, 2008, and 2010. During the 1st edition of the event, the Institute provided additional support for the organisers. Similar cooperation took place in the case of the Turkish Championships (2005–2010). The team representing the Institute has also participated in the Rallye-Rejviz competition in the Czech Republic.

Aiding Ukraine

With the use of our expert knowledge in the field of emergency rescue service and the support of experienced surgeons, we want to focus on delivering to Ukraine specialised instruments and supplies necessary to give medical aid in the hospital care.

Anna Zawiślak 

The coordinator of the fundraiser for hospitals in Ukraine held by Medycyna Praktyczna and the Institute for Emergency Medicine
Medical Project Manager in the Medycyna Praktyczna publishing house
An expert in the field of public health

Paweł Kukla 

A rescue worker
A lecturer at the Institute of Emergency Medicine at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow

Jarosław Gucwa

A surgeon, an emergency medicine specialist
Assistant director of a district hospital in Bochnia, the head of the Emergency Department; A co-founder of Polish Medical Mission and the first board chairman of PMM. He worked as a medical practitioner in Kosovo, Albania, Chad, Iran, Darfur, and Afghanistan.

Wojciech Bodzoń

An internist, an anaesthetist
A co-creator and a long-time chairman of the Institute for Medical Emergency
A co-founder of Polish Medical Mission
Provides medical aid in the refugee centre in Radziwiłłowska street in Cracow

Olga Berg

Director of Development at Institute for Emergency Medicine
Acting as a liaison between Ukrainian Hospitals, NGOs, volunteer groups, Polish NGOs, the Ukrainian Government, and international donors

Wiesław Latuszek-Łukasiewicz

The director of the Medycyna Praktyczna publishing house

Liudmyla Andriiashenko

Editor and translator at
Translates medical texts from Ukrainian and Russian

Aleksandra Kubiec 

Editor and translator
Coordinator of the Ukrainian language version of the project
Translates from Ukrainian and Russian

Katarzyna Leszkiewicz

An accountant
A board member of the Institute for Emergency Medicine

Wojciech Latawiec

The author of the pictures and films documenting the fundraiser

Mateusz Kicka

The coordinator of the Medical Review Auschwitz project
A film/media expert
He promotes our fundraiser on social media

Ewa Stanek-Misiąg

A journalist for the Medycyna Praktyczna website
The author of the information about the fundraiser
See also
  • How do we support Ukraine

We use cookies to ensure you get the best browsing experience on our website. Refer to our Cookies Information and Privacy Policy for more details.