Dr. Persse’s career in medicine started with ten years experience as a field paramedic and paramedic instructor in upstate New York and New Jersey. After receiving his pre-med training at Columbia University in New York, he then attended Georgetown University School of Medicine. Graduating with honors in emergency medicine from Georgetown, Dr. Persse then completed residency training in emergency medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California. After residency, Dr. Persse completed a resuscitation research fellowship at the Ohio State University. Dr. Persse was then awarded a grant from the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine and completed fellowship training in emergency medical services and resuscitation at the Baylor College of Medicine. Following his EMS fellowship Dr. Persse became the Assistant Medical Director for the Emergency Medical Services system of Houston. He then returned to California to become the Medical Director of the Los Angeles County Paramedic Training Institute, and the Assistant Medical Director of the Los Angeles County EMS Agency. In 1996 Dr. Persse returned to Houston to assume the role of the Director of Emergency Medical Services for the City of Houston. In May of 2004 he was appointed by City Council as Houston’s Public Health Authority. He has been the lead author or co-author on over 50 peer reviewed journal articles.
Dr. Persse is also a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee for the South East Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council and a previous Chair of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. He is the recipient of the Keith Neely Outstanding Contribution to the National Association of EMS Physicians for his leadership during the Hurricane Katrina response, 2007, and the 2009 Michael K. Copass Award from the U.S. Metropolitan Medical Directors. He is a 2015 EMS Top 10 Innovator Award Winner from the Journal of Emergency Medical Services. Dr. Persse received an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities in Medicine from Baylor College of Medicine and was awarded the ACEP Outstanding Contribution to EMS Award in 2018. Dr. Persse is a Professor of Medicine and Surgery at the Baylor College of Medicine and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School – Houston. He is also a Tactical Physician with the Houston Police S.W.A.T. team.