Airbus Helicopters honored leaders of the air medical transport industry on Monday evening at the Air Medical Transport Conference Nov. 4-6 in Atlanta, Georgia. Romain Trapp, President of Airbus Helicopters, Inc.  and Cyndi Carter, Airbus Helicopters North America air medical segment manager, presented the awards for the winners’ extensive work to improve safety and service for crews and patients

“We believe it is imperative that we recognize efforts to strengthen safety and quality of service,” said Carter. “The recipients’ dedication and commitment have not only improved their own safety, but also the safety across the entire air medical transport community.”

Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award

Created by Airbus Helicopters Inc. in 2007, the Vision Zero Award recognizes a program or company that has demonstrated a commitment to aviation safety, spotlights specific safety initiatives and encourages the sharing of ideas so others in the industry may learn from them. An industry committee judges the competition.

This year’s winner is Brock Whitson, flight nurse at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Air Care. Brock led a study understanding the impacts of compassion fatigue in the air medical industry.  Compassion fatigue is a condition that may result from repeated exposure to the daily stresses of caring for those in life-threatening situations in chaotic and demanding settings. It can severely affect the providers and significantly impact their ability to save lives.

Brock’s study looks at the overall well-being of air medical personnel and what resources can be provided for those feeling fatigued or burned out. This $10,000 grant from Airbus will be used to further expand the program with the University of Mississippi Medical Center Air Care and assist in the documentation and publication of a compassion fatigue program that can easily be replicated by other service providers.

“It’s so important to take care of yourself to be able to take care of others, and I commend Brock for his hard work in this domain,” said Trapp. “Thank you for your initiative, and congratulations to Brock and the UMMC-Air Care teams.


Jim Charlson Aviation Safety Award

Michael Benton, founder and managing director of VY Climb Consulting, received the Jim Charlson Aviation Safety Award, which is presented annually to an individual who has made significant contributions promoting aviation safety within the air medical transport community.

Mike has been instrumental in entering his companies into the FAA Voluntary Safety Management System, while also implementing the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) and the Maintenance Safety Action Program (MSAP).

Mike spends countless hours at bases of operations, observing and listening.   His experience and skills with the Line Operations Safety Assessments (LOSA) has provided insights into best practices, which he shares globally.  As he is a frequent guest lecturer a global HEMS conferences, HAI committee chair and an instructor at the NTSB Training Academy.

“Working collaboratively, Mike continues to build a level of positive communication between teams, and his friendly and professional demeanor allow him to readily share his message and his sincere desire to improve safety across the industry,” said Carter.


Program of the Year

HealthNet Aeromedical Services is the recipient of the Program of the Year award. This award is given each year to an emergency medical services program that has demonstrated superior levels of safety consciousness, patient care, quality leadership and community and industry service.

HealthNet Aeromedical Service is a not-for-profit critical care transport program sponsored by Cabell Huntington Hospital, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.  HealthNet Aeromedical Services has grown into a nationally recognized industry leader that serves the entirety of Central Appalachia and surrounding areas from ten bases, with a 100% Airbus fleet. 

“The entire HealthNet teams have an unwavering commitment to safety and clinical excellence,” said Carter. “Not one to rests on their laurels, they are always seeking opportunities to break new ground, innovate, safely serve, and ‘do the right thing’.”

HealthNet has been in service since 1986 and has cared for over 80,000 patients.