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David M. Clark Award

June 28, 2019

David M. Clark Award

This award was established by the Aerospace Medical Association to honor an AsMA corporate member who has made significant contributions to the advancement of aerospace medicine. The award is given for contributions in a single year or over a defined period.

Robert Haddon (center), accepts the Clark award from AsMA President Vermeiren (right) and Richard Leland (left), representing the Aerospace Medical Association.
   The 2019 Clark award was presented to the Mayo Clinic for their involvement in research, clinical evaluation, and education within the field of Aerospace Medicine for over eight decades. Starting in the World War II era, successful Mayo research projects included the 5-bladder G-suit, the BLB oxygen delivery mask for civilian aviation flight, and the M-1 straining maneuver to reduce risk of G-induced loss of consciousness. In more recent years, Mayo Clinic physicians
have identified genetic markers to predict altitude illness, investigated cohort data to identify risk factors for crashes of certain categories of aircraft such as balloons and gliders, and published a variety of peer-reviewed articles on rare and complex illnesses and results of forensic determinations by colleagues in the FAA and other international certification authorities.
   Today, Mayo physicians and researchers are investigating innovative tools designed to detect and combat spatial disorientation, vestibular abnormalities, and new oxygen delivery systems to be installed in aircra being developed by major manufacturers. Studies focused on human adaptation at high altitudes and remote locations are also being conducted to mitigate the effects of altitude sickness experienced by individuals visiting destinations at high altitude, and to allow safe air travel at altitudes greater than 40,000 feet (12,100 meters), referred to as "thin air" flights. With the introduction of a state-of-the-art hyperbaric and altitude chamber facility on the Rochester, MN, campus, and development of a hypoxia simulation and vestibular laboratory at Mayo Clinic's campus in Arizona, Mayo aerospace researchers are advancing various projects applicable to high-altitude aviation as well as programs for space travel.
   The Mayo Clinic Aerospace Medicine program is a valuable resource for pilots, aircra manufacturers, airlines and corporate flight departments. From routine Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight physicals to complex evaluations for aviators needing Special Issuance Authorization waivers, the Mayo Clinic programs in Aerospace Medicine offer a comprehensive set of medical services for recreational pilots, business aviation flight crews, professional air transport personnel, and even individuals traveling to high-altitude environments on land or in the air. Mayo Clinic also features several aviation medical examiners who are trained in providing care to pilots requiring surveillance in the Human Intervention and Motivation Study (HIMS). This surveillance is required for certain pilots with prior substance abuse issues or aviators prescribed antidepressant medications monitored by the Federal Air Surgeon's Office.
   Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education offers exceptional preventive and aerospace medicine fellowships at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, MN. Mayo Clinic faculty have served on a variety of AsMA committees, helped to organize the RAM Bowl, and have been authors or co-authors on a variety of projects. Mayo Clinic has also been a corporate member of AsMA for over 15 years and has provided sponsorships including recurrent funding for the welcoming reception(s) and the Louis H. Bauer Founders Award. 
   Accepting the 2019 David M. Clark Award on behalf of Mayo Clinic was Dr. Robert Haddon. He joined Mayo Clinic in 2013 after working with NASA on Space Shuttle and International Space Station missions as a Crew Surgeon. Dr. Haddon is a Senior Aviation Medical examiner and Hyperbaric/Hypobaric Altitude Medicine Practitioner at Mayo Clinic and his experiences in extreme environment medicine and infectious disease treatment complements the research and patient care offered at Mayo Clinic.