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Lyster Award: Nereyda Sevilla

July 05, 2022

Lyster Award: Nereyda Sevilla

This award was established to honor the memory of Brig. Gen. Theodore C. Lyster, the first Chief Surgeon, Aviation Section, United States Signal Corps. It is given annually for outstanding achievement in the general field of aerospace medicine. Sponsored by the Society of U.S. Army Flight Surgeons.

A smiling white woman with shoulder-length dark hair wearing a light grey jacket and red shirt stands against an off-white background.Nereyda Sevilla, M.P.H., Ph.D., CAsP, was the 2022 recipient of the Theodore C. Lyster Award for her innovative research, which revolutionized airline industry infectious disease mitigation processes. Her novel research modeled numerous diseases to test theories related to airborne pathogens. Her findings concluded that aircraft function more as a vector than an incubator and that airports are more likely a location for disease transmission due to close contact with infected passengers for extended periods of time. Her models were subsequently used with in the airline industry to make real-world changes, and were applied during the pandemic to safeguard travelers, aircrew, and staff. Additionally, she has contributed to public awareness and education through published peer-reviewed articles, university panels, radio appearances, and public speeches. Her research has positively impacted both the scientific and operational communities.
   Dr. Sevilla earned her B.S. in Biology in 1997 from the U.S. Air Force Academy and went on to earn an M.P.H. from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in 1999. In 2017 she received her Ph.D. in Biodefense from George Mason University.
   From 1997 to 2006, while on active duty in the U.S. Air Force, Dr. Sevilla served as an aerospace physiologist, Chief, Human Performance Teams, Air Force Biomedical Service Corps Officer and Subject Matter Expert-Physiology/Human Factors. She provided expertise in physiology to evaluate commercial-off-the-shelf simulators for use in the field and conducted statistical analysis of physiology mishaps for inclusion in Air Force curriculum and base safety programs. From 2007 to 2011 in the Air Force Surgeon General’s office, Directorate for Modernization, Research and Development she was Senior Functional Analyst/Subject Matter Expert for the Air Force Medical Research Program, and a Program Manager as primary point of contact for the Air Force Clinical Investigation Program. From 2011 to 2019 she continued in the Air Force Surgeon General’s Office, Directorate for Modernization; Research and Development as Chief of Air Force Clinical Investigations and Portfolio Manager/Subject Matter Expert for Human Performance.
   Since October 2019 Dr. Sevilla has been Chief, Clinical Investigations Program Office with the Defense Health Agency, Research and Engineering. There she serves as Chief of the Clinical Investigations Program Office (CIPO) and as senior science advisor whose duties include implementation of clinical investigations and research issues across the MHS. She independently leads the integration and alignment of programs across the CIPO and coordinating program activities of CIPO staff,
   Dr. Sevilla’s awards and honors include: 51 Fighter Wing Staff Company Grade Officer of the Year, Osan Air Base; USAF Meritorious Service Award; Air Force Company Grade Aerospace Physiologist of the Year; 2014 Training and Education Award from the Society of Federal Health Professionals; 2017 Civilian of the Year from the Office of the Air Force Surgeon General and Air Force Medical Support Agency; the 2018 Paul Bert Award for Research from the Aerospace Physiology Society; the 2018 Uniformed Services University Alumni Association Graduate School of Medicine Graduate of the Year; the 2019 Award for Meritorious Civilian Service, Department of the Air Force, and the Biomedical Specialist Civilian of the Year: from the Air Force Medical Service.
   A Fellow of AsMA, Dr. Sevilla is a past president of the Aerospace Physiology Society, and a member of the Aerospace Human Factors Association, the Life Sciences & Biomedical Engineering Branch, and the White House Society of Military Social Aid.