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LifeFlight named air medical program of the year

Dec. 2, 2020, 1:39 PM

On the LifeFlight helipad are, from left, Kevin Nooner, MSN, RN, NE-BC, Airbus Helicopters’ Romain Trapp, Stephan Russ, MD, Jeanne Yeatman, MBA, RN, EMT, MOM, and Michael Wallace, MBA, CCPM, NRP.
On the LifeFlight helipad are, from left, Kevin Nooner, MSN, RN, NE-BC, Airbus Helicopters’ Romain Trapp, Stephan Russ, MD, Jeanne Yeatman, MBA, RN, EMT, MOM, and Michael Wallace, MBA, CCPM, NRP. (photo by Donn Jones)

by Jerry Jones

Vanderbilt LifeFlight has been named the air medical program of the year by the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS).

This award, sponsored by Airbus Helicopters, recognizes an air medical program that has demonstrated a superior level of patient care, management prowess and quality leadership through innovative approaches, customer service, safety consciousness, community service and commitment to the medical transport community.

The award was presented during the recent AAMS Air Medical Transport Conference, which was held virtually.

“The AAMS Annual Awards is a wonderful opportunity to highlight the leaders in our industry,” said Cameron Curtis, AAMS president and CEO. “After careful review of all the candidates for the Program of the Year, Vanderbilt LifeFlight rose to the top in best practices for crew safety and innovative patient care during its past 36 years of operation. We are thrilled to attend this memorable event to recognize the hard work and dedication of its entire team.”

The award has been presented since 1997. While this marks the first time a Tennessee program has received the honor, it’s not the first time Vanderbilt LifeFlight has received national recognition from AAMS. In 2005, LifeFlight Executive Director Jeanne Yeatman, MBA,RN, EMT, MOM, received the “AAMS Excellence in Transport Leadership Award” and in 2003, former flight nurse Kevin High received the “Crew Member of the Year” award.

“Vanderbilt LifeFlight has been a world class leader in the area of critical care transport since 1984 and has set the pace in providing innovative air medical transport services,” said Yeatman, interim chief nursing officer at Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital and executive director of Vanderbilt LifeFlight.

“On behalf of our more than 300 employees, I am honored and humbled to accept the 2020 AAMS Program of the Year award. The award is a reflection of our commitment to our hard-working employees, their safety and patient care.”

Vanderbilt LifeFlight is operated by Vanderbilt University Medical Center in partnership with Air Methods Corp., a global leader in air medical transport.

“Air Methods is proud of our strong relationship with such a respected partner as Vanderbilt Medical Center to provide emergency air medical services through Vanderbilt LifeFlight,” said JaeLynn Williams, CEO of Air Methods Corporation. “It is the combination of Vanderbilt’s clinical expertise and Air Methods’ aviation excellence that will allow the program to continue to lead the air medical industry and we look forward to many more years serving communities throughout the state of Tennessee. Vanderbilt LifeFlight is well deserving of being named the 2020 AMTC Program of the Year.”

A focus on patient care, crew safety, utilization of a just culture and an exceptional outreach and community education program are among the factors that helped an independent panel of judges from the air medical industry to give the award to Vanderbilt LifeFlight.

Since 1984 Vanderbilt LifeFlight has been the critical care transport service of VUMC. LifeFlight is an essential part of VUMC that combines a communications center, rotor, fixed, ground, critical care ground and event medicine that make it part of a true integrated health care delivery system.

LifeFlight has eight community-based helicopters in Gallatin, Tullahoma, Clarksville, Murfreesboro, Mt. Pleasant, Henry County, Humboldt and Cookeville. It also operates an airplane base at Nashville International Airport and 14 ground ambulances, critical care ambulances and communications and event medicine divisions.

“LifeFlight’s strength is its culture; from the first day of service on July 1, 1984, the mantra of ‘safety is our No. 1 product’ has been at the cornerstone of every decision and practice the program has ever made,” said Kevin Nooner, MSN, RN, NE-BC, air medical program director. “This phrase was coined by the program’s founder, Dr. John Morris, and has been the bedrock of the program.”

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