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Adams Award: Mark McPherson

September 03, 2021

Adams Award: Mark McPherson

This award was established by the Society of U.S.Naval Flight Surgeons in honor of Admiral John C. Adams.The award is given annually for the most significant contributions to operational Aerospace Medicine, either during a single defined period (e.g., deployment), or over a career.

COL Mark McPherson, MC, USA, is the 2021 recipient of the Admiral John C. Adams Award. He is recognized for a career of strategic-level impact and enduring contributions to operational Aerospace Medicine. He is internationally lauded as an expert in rotary-wing accident investigation, crew safety, aeromedical policy, and force health protection. He has authored numerous scientific abstracts, military regulations, textbook chapters, technical guides, and journal articles. He has excelled at senior-level assignments, including safety, research, policy, and command—all with focus on the aviator and human operator ensuring operational readiness, optimal aircrew performance, and mission-effectiveness. He has made significant and enduring strategic-level contributions to the operational aeromedical community through individual accolades, combat deployments, senior staff-level achievements, and DoD-wide aviation strategic wins—all with focus on the aviator and human operator.
   As the Commander of the Army’s Aeromedical Research Laboratory, COL McPherson has spearheaded efforts in support of Future Vertical Lift. As the DoD postures for next generation rotorcraft, Mark has expertly positioned the Lab to support critical aeromedical and human factors integration within S&T efforts. This has included upgrades to state-of-the-art simulators, academic and industry partnerships, and research including workload, fatigue, ergonomics/anthropometrics, virtual reality, life support, biomechanics, headmounted displays, and en route care.
   As Dean of the U.S. Army School of Aviation Medicine, COL McPherson was responsible for the training of 2,500 aircrew per year through 45 programs of instruction and 162 aeromedical courses annually. He was responsible for initiatives that completely renovated training and led efforts to fundamentally address how the Army teaches and mitigates spatial disorientation. This initiative garnered the recognition and support up to the Chief of Staff of the Army level. Mark has served as either a board member or key medical liaison in more than a hundred mishaps—more than any physician within the Army. He authored investigation handbooks and fostered many key safety relationships within the aeromedical community. He is the co-developer of the eSRP system and writes extensively on accident investigation. He served as a medical SME for multiple updates and revisions to regulations and policy. He is routinely requested to lecture to the international aerospace medical community at national scientific conferences and symposia.
   COL McPherson was commissioned in 1991 after graduating from the Citadel, Military College of South Carolina. He received his Medical Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina in 1995 and graduated from residency in Family Medicine in 1998 after serving as Chief Resident at Martin Army Community Hospital, Fort Benning, GA. He served as Officer in Charge and Commander of Babenhausen Health Clinic, Germany from 1998-2001. He returned to Fort Benning as Family Medicine teaching faculty and deployed as Battalion Surgeon, 203rd Forward Support, Battalion 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. He completed his faculty development fellowship at the University of North Carolina in 2004. He deployed as a Subject Matter Expert with the Secretary of the Army Inspector General in support of inspections in Detainee Operations. He served as Assistant Residency Director of Family Medicine at Fort Belvoir, VA, from 2006-2007 before deploying as the Brigade Surgeon with 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
   Following his deployment, COL McPherson served as Director of Medical Readiness and Standards, Office of the Surgeon General. He completed his M.P.H. at the University of Texas Health Science Center and Aerospace Residency through the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base in 2011. He subsequently served as Chief Review and Disposition at the U.S. Army Aeromedical Activity and Command Surgeon, U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center before appointment as Dean of the U.S. Army School of Aviation Medicine. His next assignment was with the Office of the Surgeon General as action officer for General Officer Readiness and Executive Health and consultant for Aerospace Medicine.
   COL McPherson is board certified in Aerospace Medicine and Family Medicine, a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, and a graduate of U.S. Army War College. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal. He is the recipient of the Order of Military Medical Merit, Aeromedical Order of Merit, the Order of Saint Michael, and the Surgeon General’s “A” proficiency designator.