top of page

Learning to Walk. Intuition, Awareness, and Decision Making 

Greg Santa Maria, DHSc, MA, NR-P
Executive Director, South Dakota Healthcare Coalition


Greg Santa Maria is the Executive Director of the South Dakota Health Care Coalition. He has nearly 30 years of experience in Emergency Medical Services and Healthcare Emergency Management and specializes in the development of complex healthcare response plans. Dr Santa Maria has a special interest in the fusion of EMS into healthcare preparedness plans and is currently heading a task force to accomplish that goal. In his previous role as Director of Public Safety at Sanford Health, he maintained oversight of enterprise safety, security, and emergency management functions for 44 hospitals and more than 200 senior care locations in 26 states and nine countries. Dr. Santa Maria supported corporate operations in response to the Coronavirus, Ebola, H1N1, and multiple mass gathering events.  

Dr. Santa Maria is a former NYC paramedic and paramedic educator and currently serves as a non-physician subject matter expert for the American Academy of Disaster Medicine and is the Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Seniors and Disaster. He is also a founding member and past president of the SD Healthcare Coalition Governing Board. Dr. Santa Maria holds a Doctorate in Health Science and a master’s degree in emergency and disaster management. 



Decision making in crisis has long been a crisis in itself. While regular healthcare business consists of deliberate research and well thought out processes, crisis decision making requires rapid fire decisions that need to be made in the absence of confirmed information. This type of assumption-based decision making ensures that command center leadership need to be dynamic and able to change direction at a moment’s notice. Events are not an intelligent occurrence, however our responses to them are. In many cases, our programmed perceptions impact the quality of our decision making, particularly when we are under the pressures and stress of an evolving crisis.   Using his research on crisis decision making, combined with components of his CALM program, Dr. Santa Maria will provide detailed insight into intuitive decision making and how it could become impacted by stress and other factors. In addition, he will discuss how our programmed perceptions, based on previous experiences can lead to inadvertent tunnel vision. Dr. Santa Maria will provide his CALM tools and other information that decision makers can utilize to ensure that they are walking the right path in crisis management

bottom of page