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September President's Page

August 29, 2022

September President's Page

International Support and Integration
Susan Northrup, M.D., M.P.H., FAsMA

As I finish up the logistical details to attend the FIRST International Conference of Aerospace Medicine (which is also the 68th International Conference of Aviation and Space Medicine, the 7th European Conference of Aerospace Medicine, and the 1st Congres de la Societe Francophone de Medecine Aerospatiale), I have had a chance to reflect on the past 2.5 years. What a time we have been through. And I can’t imagine navigating the response without my international colleagues. COVID-19 has stressed the healthcare system, limited the free movement of people, harmed the economy, and injured or killed many people. Truly a horrible thing. However, we learned a lot about international cooperation and integrating systems.
   Much of our work was aided by the Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation, better known as CAPSCA, under the leadership of Dr. Ansa Jordaan. The group is comprised of representatives from public health, national regulators, industry, and scientists. The organization was responsible for tracking the current science of COVID-19 and developing suggestions for a multilayered approach that could be tailored to a nation or state’s individual sovereignty and risk tolerance, leading to the ICAO Document 10152: Manual on Testing and Cross-Border Risk Management Measures. The speed it and subsequent amendments were developed was incredible. This is but one example of how international relationships are critical.
   International interoperability contributes to Aviation Safety. Not only do passengers need to be able to transition through the aviation arc seamlessly, the aerospace workforce needs to be able to work on and in sometimes disparate systems. While we like to think there is a “gold standard”, there are many ways to approach any issue. We can learn from each other as we approach the future as we experience new entrants into aviation.
   To quote one of my colleagues: Never let a good pandemic go to waste. We need to capitalize on our connections and strengths. We must capture the lessons learned over the last 2.5 years to prepare us for the next event. I personally value the relationships and groups I have been a part of and can’t wait to see what we do in the future! I hope to see many of you in Paris this month.
   Be Safe and Fly Well.

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