Minnesota Department of Transportation

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News Release

Oct. 25, 2018

Toward Zero Deaths honors Abby Kuschel, Amy Saylor

MANKATO, Minn. — Abby Kuschel, Grand Rapids, who is the statewide treatment court coordinator for the Minnesota State Judicial Branch, and Amy Saylor, Hill City, who works in emergency healthcare, were among the 10 individuals and organizations honored by the staste departments of health, public safety and transportation under the Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program. The awards were announced at the statewide TZD conference Oct. 23-24 in Mankato.

Kuschel received the Judicial and Court System Star Award. Saylor received the Emergency and Trauma Services Star Award.

TZD Star Awards are given annually to recognize those who display excellence in enforcement, emergency medical and trauma services, education, engineering, child passenger safety and judicial/court systems. They have shown leadership and creativity in efforts to improve traffic safety throughout the state and build partnerships with others working towards the same goal.              

Kuschel advocates for drug treatment courts to help change the behavior of drug and DWI offenders at the local, state and national levels. She is a faculty member for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and trains teams nationally on implementing drug courts in their jurisdictions. She collaborated with the Department of Public Safety to bring national best practice trainings to DWI Court teams throughout the state.

Kuschel previously worked with drug/DWI courts in rural northern Minnesota as the treatment courts supervisor for the Ninth Judicial District and coordinated the Itasca County Wellness Court and the Beltrami DWI Court. She successfully secured more than $3 million in state, local and federal funds working in the community health and criminal justice fields. She previously served as the Itasca County Toward Zero Death coalition coordinator.

She was the first TZD Safe Roads coordinator in Itasca County and implemented the parent component to drivers education. Itasca County is the only county in the state with this type of diversion program.

Saylor is active in several county TZD coalitions and is dedicated to advancing emergency medical and trauma services throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. She works with Life Link III, an air medical transport service, and oversees two bases that provide air medical services throughout the Midwest. She has worked in intensive care, critical care and an ambulance setting. She is a strong advocate for the advancement of emergency medical and trauma services and enhancing patient care.

Saylor served on the Arrowhead Board of Directors and the Minnesota Ambulance Association. She co-authored the NERTAC auto launch policy. She also co-authored a regional policy that assists law enforcement and emergency medical services in decision-making of how and when to get appropriate air medical resources to a patient in a safe and timely manner. This “early activation” of air medical to an injured patient improves the response time from initial injury to appropriate medical care with the hopes of decreasing injuries and death.
The Minnesota TZD program is an interdisciplinary partnership with the state departments of health, transportation and public safety.

Learn more about TZD, including a full list of award recipients, at www.minnesotatzd.org.