Frustrated with cumbersome bureaucracy and ingrained traditions of the Pittsburgh medical community, Dr. Michael Allswede, 44, saw an opportunity in Johnstown.

So the renowned terrorism expert is leaving his job at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to become director of Memorial Medical Center’s new emergency medicine residency program.

Allswede believes he can build a program in the Flood City that will define emergency-disaster medicine.

“The main feature is, this is a brand new program,” Allswede said Tuesday. “There is no legacy of how it always has been done. This is fertile ground.”

Memorial is set to begin training emergency specialists as early as 2007 – in a program Allswede is designing – to produce locally based disaster-response medical teams across the country.

“The intent of my program is to create physicians that work seamlessly with first responders, police, and public health officials during disasters,” Allswede said.

At UPMC, he was chief of the emergency department’s special emergency response section. He cited differences in research philosophies in leaving UPMC.

Allswede’s vision fits well with Conemaugh Health System’s philosophy, said Dr. Michael Tatarko, chief medical officer. “Dr. Allswede has the ability to help us develop a program that fits our mission of training physicians for the rural areas of Pennsylvania,” Tatarko said.

UPMC officials declined to comment on the departure.

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