For Dr. Clayton Kazan, his new position as medical director for the Los Angeles County Fire Department is one for which he’s spent a long time preparing.
Like many of our firefighters, Kazan grew up watching Emergency!, and he was a big fan.
“I had the helmets; I had the breathing apparatus; and I had the lunchbox,” he said. “That was my thing when I was really little. I wanted to be a firefighter—a firefighter paramedic.”
In college, Kazan initially wanted to be a pediatrician; however, he “fell in love” with EMS when he took his first EMT course at UCLA and rode on an ambulance in 1994. He went to medical school with the goal of working in emergency medicine, and he even joined a volunteer fire department while getting his M.D. and M.S. in Clinical Pathology at the Chicago Medical School in North Chicago, Illinois.
His curriculum vitae includes three years as medical director for the Los Angeles County Paramedic Training Institute’s paramedic program; three years with UCLA Emergency Medical Services, where he worked as a supervisor for the training program; and many years working in different emergency rooms. He served as both the chairman of the St. Francis Medical Center Emergency Department and the medical director of emergency services at the hospital.
“My hope was to become medical director of a fire department someday,” he said.
The odds were slim. Kazan grew up in the South Bay of Los Angeles and did not want to move out of the area—so when he heard about the Department’s job posting, “I leapt at it,” he said. “I remember telling (people), ‘I think this was the job I was meant to have.”
And so far, he’s enjoying the job.
“I haven’t been so excited to come to work in a long time,” he said.
Featured photo: Dr. Clayton Kazan with his daughter at Fire Station 2. Photo by Nicole Mooradian.