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11 June 2019

Centre for Human & Applied Physiological Sciences success at Aerospace Medical Association

Staff and students from the Centre for Human & Applied Physiological Sciences (CHAPS) success at the meeting of Aerospace Medical Association meeting in Las Vegas.

Tom Smith, David Gradwell and Ross Pollock

The Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) annual scientific meeting took place in May in Las Vegas where leading experts in aerospace medicine came together to discuss the latest developments and advances in aerospace medicine.

Aerospace medicine is the medical speciality concerned with all the physical, physiological, clinical and human performance consequences of flight.  It covers all the occupants of air and spacecraft as well as those that directly influence the safe operation of these craft such as air traffic controllers and the operators of unmanned air vehicles.  To serve them and ever improve flight safety through an understanding of those influences requires a cadre of physicians and scientists from across many disciplines who work within the field. 

Several members of CHAPS attended the AsMA annual meeting where three recent students were awarded prizes. Flight Lieutenant Joe Brittan RAF who completes a Postgraduate Diploma in Aerospace Medicine in 2019 gained the Anita Mantry award for the top Resident, Dr Steve MacLean won the student award from Life Sciences and Medical Engineering Society and Dr Ling Ng won the Ralph Fennel Scholar Award by the Airline Medical Directors Association and gave a lecture at their meeting based on his project supervised by Professor David Gradwell.  Both Dr MacLean and Dr Ng completed a Master’s in Aerospace Medicine at King’s in 2018.

Dr Thomas Smith was also recognised with the Eric Liljencrantz Award recognising his exceptional achievements over more than 15 years of basic research into the problems of altitude physiology and hypoxia, as well as acceleration and weightlessness.

As part of the meeting, the International Academy of Aviation & Space Medicine (IAASM) also meet. The IAASM was established in 1955 and is a relatively small group of outstanding leaders in professionals dedicated to aerospace medicine and allied disciplines.  Membership worldwide is limited to 275.  It is a non-profit organisation working to develop and sustain the field of aerospace medicine through international collaboration and an annual Congress. The Academy offers educational scholarships of up to US$20,000 to students undertaking post-graduate training in aerospace medicine and King’s is one of the institutions to undertake such training.

During the meeting it was also announced that Professor Gradwell has been nominated to serve as President Elect of the Academy from 2019-2021 and then as President 2021-2023.  David is a past-President of the Aerospace Medical Association (2016-2017) and is the first person from the UK to have held the Presidencies of both the two foremost organisations in the field of aerospace medicine.

I am very honoured to have been nominated for this role and hope that we can continue to grow the speciality in the UK and around the world as well as supporting those who wish to come here as students to gain the professional training they need to be the flight surgeons and aeromedical specialists of the future.

Professor David Gradwell