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Boothby-Edwards Award: Ries Simons

September 03, 2021

Boothby-Edwards Award: Ries Simons

Established in memory of Walter M. Boothby, M.D., pioneer aviation medicine researcher, and Howard K. Edwards, M.D., clinical practitioner of aviation medicine, this award is presented annually for outstanding research and/or clinical practice directed at the promotion of health and prevention of disease in professional airline pilots. (The separate Boothby and Edwards Awards were given annually 1961–1973, and then alternately until 1985.) Sponsored by Harvey W. Watt and Company.

Ries Simons, M.D. is the 2021 recipient of the Boothby-Edwards Award for his wide-ranging contributions to the field of Aerospace Medicine. The award recognizes his research and efforts in preventing disease in professional pilots. His expertise and current research include: 1) medical and human factor aspects of aerospace medicine and working under extreme conditions; 2) effects of operational and environmental factors on health and performance of aviators and astronauts; 3) fatigue risk management for aircrew and military missions; 4) effects of alcohol, drugs, and medication on crew alertness and performance.
   Dr. Simons is a consultant Aerospace Medicine and the cofounder of the European Pilot Peer Support Initiative (EPPSI). After earning his M.D. degree from Utrecht University in The Netherlands, he was licensed to practice medicine in 1973. He worked as General Practitioner, Senior Resident Internal Medicine, and practiced several years as Medical Officer in Zambia and Chad. In 1985 he became Senior Research Physician at the National Aeromedical Institute, and since 2002 has worked as Medical Advisor at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO).
Dr. Simons is co-chairman of the Advisory Board of the European Society of Aerospace Medicine (ESAM), chair of the ESAM-Academy board, and a member of several ESAM working groups (Cardiology, Mental Health, Human Factors, Space Medicine). As a contract-expert he has been involved in EASA’s rulemaking concerning use of alcohol and drugs. He was the leading investigator in the EASA study of age limitations for commercial Air Transport Pilots. He has also been a lecturer at several EASA workshops and international training courses. He is Chair of the Board of the Training Academy of the European Society of Aviation Medicine (ESAM). He chaired the Scientific Committees of five European Congresses of Aerospace Medicine. He was the key leader of the excellent scientific program for the joint AsMAESAM congresses at Oslo2016 and Prague2018, which were both highly successful.
   Dr. Simons is a member of the AsMA Air Transport Medicine Committee and Aerospace Mental Health Working Group, and the Editorial Board of Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. He is a Past President of Netherlands Society for Aviation Medicine, a Board Member European Pilot Peer Support Initiative (EPPSI), and a member of the Royal Medical Society of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Society of Tropical Medicine and International Health.
   Dr. Simons is lead author on nearly 50 scientific publication and co-author on a further 30 or so. His scientific publications include effects of fatigue, alcohol, drugs, medication, and operational factors on performance and health, and cardiological risk assessment of pilots. He authored book chapters on assessment for fatigue among pilots and physiology in different microgravity environments. He is Chevalier in the Order of ESAM and previously received the Boothby-Edwards Award from AsMA in 2017 as member of the AsMA Aerospace Mental Health Working Group.