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Admiral John C. Adams Award

June 28, 2019

Admiral John C. Adams Award

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.

James De Voll (left) accepts the Adams award from CAPT Tim LaVan (center), representing the Society of U.S. Naval Flight Surgeons, while Roland Vermeiren (right), AsMA President, looks on.
   James R. De Voll, M.D., M.P.H., is the 2019 recipient of the John C. Adams Award. As Manager of Medical Appeals, in the Medical Specialties Division of the FAA Office of Aerospace Medicine, he spearheaded the office’s effort, over the previous 20 months, to safely implement, and integrate the directives of the 2016 FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act, through the program now commonly known as BasicMed. This program is the biggest change in operational aerospace medicine, as it relates to general aviation pilots in the U.S., over the last 70 years. 
   The 2016 FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act directed the FAA, within 180 days, to “issue or revise regulations to ensure that an individual may operate as pilot in command of a covered aircraft” without having to undergo the medical certification process. The final rule, published without interpretation, on 01/11/2017, the requirements of this Section now known as “BasicMed”. This rule initiated a major change in operational aerospace medicine relating to general aviation. The rule came to fruition through the monumental efforts of a Rule Making Committee comprised of representatives from multiple FAA offices. Dr. DeVoll, who was the only aerospace medicine member of the committee, was charged with implementing the medically related provisions of the Act. He helped the team meet an extremely accelerated timeline – condensing a normal 2- to 3-year process into 6 months. The diligent effort and oversight of Dr. De Voll ensured that aeromedical safety mitigating factors were part of the final rule.
   Since its implementation, Dr. De Voll has been instrumental in addressing unforeseen aerospace medicine issues that continue to arise. He worked with AOPA and the Mayo Clinic to assure a Congressionally mandated education course be available on time and aeromedically accurate. He coordinated the aerospace medicine input for the required report to Congress on the safety impact of the rule. He worked with the Senior Regional Flight Surgeon, and the Flight Standards Service to develop educational material for airmen, AMEs, and private physicians ensuring understanding of this new BasicMed program. He provided the aerospace medical input to the BasicMed Frequently Asked Questions on the FAA website. In 2018, he was the primary aerospace medicine interface with the Congressional Office of the Inspector General in their review of FAA implementation of BasicMed. Dr. De Voll was the FAA Flight Surgeon of the Year for 2017.
   Raised in Southern California, Dr. De Voll graduated summa cum laude from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, in 1977. Dr. De Voll was commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy in 1978 after selection for the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program. The Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA, awarded him his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1981. After graduation and promotion to Lieutenant, he interned in Internal Medicine at the Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, VA. He attended the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute in Pensacola, FL, and was designated a Naval Flight Surgeon in 1982.
   In 1983, Dr. De Voll was assigned to support deploying Marine Corps helicopter squadrons at Marine Air Group 26 at MCAS(H) New River, Jacksonville, NC, and was assigned as Flight Surgeon for HMM-261. He participated in Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada and was part of the multi-national peacekeeping force in Beirut, Lebanon. Following a tour at Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, VA, from July 1986 through April 1989 that included additional training in musculoskeletal medicine, he reported to the 6th Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Camp Lejeune, NC. He next served as the Assistant Force Surgeon for II Marine Expeditionary Force from July 1990–July 1991, and deployed as Assistant Division Surgeon, 2nd Marine Division for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
   Dr. De Voll earned his M.P.H. (Epidemiology and Biostatistics) from Columbia University School of Public Health, New York City in 1992. He then reported to the Naval Aerospace and Operational Medical Institute in Pensacola, FL, where he completed residency training in Aerospace Medicine in June 1994.
   In July 1994, Dr. De Voll reported to USS Enterprise in Norfolk, VA, as Senior Medical Officer. During this period he oversaw the complete rebuilding of the medical department and re training of department staff after a 4-year overhaul. He reported to the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in September 1996 as Assistant Director, Aerospace Medicine for the Assistant Chief, Operational Medicine and Fleet Support. In May 1998, Dr. De Voll assumed the role of Director of Aerospace Medicine and Specialty Leader for Aerospace Medicine. In October 1999, Dr. De Voll then moved to be the Medical Corps Career Plans Officer for the Chief of the Medical Corps.
   Dr. De Voll reported to the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, in August 2001 as the Director for Neuro-Musculoskeletal Services. He also was assigned by the Surgeon General to chair the working group on the Navy Medicine strategic plan focused objective that created and implemented the “Task Organized for Contingency Response” concept revolutionizing Navy-wide medical capabilities for scalable, flexible and rapid response to emerging threats.
   Dr. De Voll retired from the Navy in October 2004, but has continued as a volunteer physician at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, as well as serving as a Red Cross volunteer at the Naval Medical Clinic Patuxent River, MD. His Awards include Meritorious Service Medals (with three Gold Stars) and Navy-Marine Commendation Medals (with one Gold Star).
   In 2004 Dr. De Voll joined Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) as Chief Medical Officer for the Health Solutions Business Unit. He then moved to the Advisory Board Company, where he served as Director for Physician Leadership. In 2006 he joined the FAA as Manager, Medical Appeals Branch Division, Medical Specialties Division, Office of Aerospace Medicine, a position he still holds today.
   Dr. De Voll is board certified in Aerospace Medicine. He joined AsMA in 1982 as a Junior Flight Surgeon in the Navy. He became an Associate Fellow in 1993 and a Fellow in 2001. He is also a Fellow of the Civil Aviation Medical Association, and member of the American Medical Association and American College of Preventive Medicine . As a reviewer articles for Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine (ASEM), he has reviewed numerous articles involving human factors issues. He has served on many AsMA committees including the Registration Committee, Human Factors, Publications, Finance, and Science and Technology, and most recently ad AsMA as Treasurer and Vice President. Dr. De Voll is a member of the Society of U.S. Naval Flight Surgeons since 1982, and a member of the Aerospace Human Factors Association (Past President and Fellow).