FIRST hires former Philadelphia FD EMS commissioner to lead DEI effort

PHILADELPHIA - The Center for Firefighter Injury Research and Safety Trends (FIRST) at Drexel University is  proud to announce the recent appointment of Crystal Yates-Gale, MBA, as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Project Manager.  She will lead a newly awarded $1.5 million FEMA grant in partnership with the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association and national fire service affinity groups.

Ms. Yates-Gale is a 22-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD). She began her career as a paramedic and served as the department’s first female African American deputy EMS commissioner She recently retired from PFD and begins a new venture as the FIRST Center’s DEI Project Manager.

Ms. Yates-Gale is a long-time partner of the FIRST Center. As deputy EMS commissioner, she educated  the Firefighter Injury Research, Epidemiology, and Evaluation (FIRE) Fellows about her role, including how her identity as a Black female firefighter impacted her personal and professional life.  She was deeply engaged with the FIRST Center’s Stress and Violence to fire-based EMS Responders (SAVER) portfolio, including the development of the Systems-Level Checklist and SAVER Model Policies. During the pandemic she facilitated the PFD’s involvement in the COVID-19 RAPID Mental Health Assessment.

Crystal Yates-Gale is a 22-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD).
Crystal Yates-Gale is a 22-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD). (Photo via Center for Firefighter Injury Research and Safety Trends (FIRST))

As the  DEI Project Manager, Ms. Yates-Gale will oversee the creation and implementation of the DEI FIRE Toolkit which will provide education, assessment, and training developed from best practices to advance DEI initiatives in the fire and rescue service.

Ms. Yates-Gale was selected for this role not only for her fire service experience, but also for her commitment to advancing DEI goals in the industry. She showcased her ability to manage the space between her personal beliefs and those of an evolving workforce during her MBA training as a Pozen-Commonwealth Fund Fellow in Health Equity Leadership at Yale University.

With Ms. Yates-Gale leading this initiative, the FIRST Center will create collaboration, learning, and compassion to move the needle on fire service DEI goals.

Ms. Yates-Gale received her Bachelor of Science from West Chester University of Pennsylvania and her Master of Business Administration from the Yale School of Management.

The FIRST Center is a research, education, and practice enterprise organized to support the United States fire and rescue service through objective data collection, analysis, and service.

For more information, please contact Victoria Gallogly, Outreach and Communications Coordinator:  

Join the discussion

Copyright © 2023 Fire Chief. All rights reserved.