A descriptive analysis of air medical directors in the United States

Kathy J. Rinnert, Ira J. Blumen, Sheryl G A Gabram, Michael Zanker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: The purpose of this study was to describe the characteristics and functions of U.S. physician air medical directors. Methods: This descriptive study included physician directors of U.S. rotor-wing and fixed-wing air medical services. Data were obtained using a standardized survey in regard to the training, education, and roles/responsibilities of directors of critical care air medical services (AMSs). Results: Data from 153 of 276 surveys (55.4%) were analyzed and reported in this study. Air medical directors' residency training varied, but emergency medicine was the most frequently reported training type (38.0%). Most directors reported less than 5 years of job experience in AMS (57.3%), had neither residency/fellowship-based flight experience (63.9%) nor practical flight experience (60.5%), and performed director functions on a part-time basis (93.2%). The six most commonly reported medical director activities were medical protocol development (87.6%), quality improvement activities (86.3%), medical crew training (80.4%), administrative negotiations (79.1%), on-line medical control (71.9%), and personnel hiring (59.5%). The three most common sources of continuing education for medical directors were literature review (95.8%), attendance at medical conferences (79.2%), and participation in professional organizations (59.7%). Conclusion: These data describe the characteristics of U.S. air medical directors and identify physician contributions to patient care in the aviation environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-11
Number of pages6
JournalAir Medical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • Air medical services
  • Emergency medical services
  • Helicopter emergency medical services
  • Medical direction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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