EMSA Director's Web Page
Howard Backer, MD, MPH, FACEP
Howard Backer, MD, MPH, FACEP, is the Director of the California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) where he leads the department in establishing and enforcing standards for EMS personnel, coordinating with local EMS systems, overseeing the development of statewide specialty care systems, and preparing for and responding to disasters.
Dr. Backer previously served for ten years at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), where he held a variety of assignments including as Chief of the Immunization Branch and as Interim Director and Interim State Health Officer.
From 2008 to 2011, Backer was Associate Secretary for Emergency Preparedness at the California Health and Human Services Agency where he worked closely with EMSA, CDPH, the Department of Social Services and other CHHS departments on plans to coordinate public health and medical disaster response as well as mass care and shelter issues. In that capacity, he served as a consultant to the Ukrainian Ministry of Emergencies and was part of a delegation to Chile following the devastating 2010 earthquake there. He will continue to coordinate the development of Emergency Function 8 (Public Health and Medical) for the California State Emergency Plan.
Prior to government service, Dr. Backer practiced emergency medicine full time for 25 years in rural, urban, and suburban settings. He received a Doctor of Medicine from the University of California at San Francisco, a Master of Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley,a Bachelor of Sciences from the University of Michigan and is board certified in Emergency Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Public Health. He continues to work clinical hours in Urgent Care at the UC Berkeley Student Health Center.
Dr. Backer has a lifelong interest in wilderness and travel medicine. He is a founding member of the Wilderness Medical Society and a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He also serves as medical consultant for an international adventure travel company and is a national expert in field water disinfection and infectious diseases of travelers.
Dr. Backer lives in Piedmont, with his wife, who is a registered nurse, and one of three daughters. In his time off, he likes to spend time in the Sierra Nevada mountains or do international travel to remote areas.
Under statute, the Director of the Emergency Medical Services Authority is required to be a physician with experience in emergency medicine.
Contact Dr. Backer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (916) 322-4336.
For questions about paramedic licensing contact email@example.com.
For questions about EMT Training or certification contact your local EMS agency.