08 September 2017 ,  —



MedAire Founder Joan Sullivan Garrett wins NBAA 2017 Meritorious Award for turning her vision to help people needing remote medical care into a reality. 

“In founding MedAire and advancing the practice of utilizing cutting-edge medical care for those even in the most remote locations, Joan has made a lasting difference to all those who travel by air and sea,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “Her contribution to the health and safety of the flying public and everyone in the aviation industry has been groundbreaking.”

“Joan’s career, achievements and tireless dedication to business aviation exemplify the spirit of NBAA’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award,” Bolen continued. “Countless people have benefited from the medical expertise provided by her team, and we are honoured to recognise her decades of distinguished service to the industry.”

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In 1983, Joan Sullivan Garrett was serving as a critical-care flight nurse and chief medical officer aboard an emergency helicopter evacuation flight, responding to a remote, rural traffic accident in Arizona. 

The experience she gained from this event—and several others like it—helped Joan to realize that many more lives could be saved when emergencies happen in remote locales. It was her idea to provide greater access to critical-care medical expertise, state-of-the-art equipment, and training for first responders.   Less than two years later, in 1985, Garrett’s “MedAire” became a reality. 

Now, more than 30 years and more than a million calls later, MedAire is the leading global provider of 24/7 medical and security assistance, medical kits and equipment and crew medical training.  MedAire specializes in integrated safety solutions for aviation and maritime where remote medical care is in high demand.  

MedAire has a long history with business aviation since Joan’s early days, and today MedAire serves more than 75% of Fortune’s top 100 companies, corporate flight departments and charter management companies.  Additionally, the company works with over 150 airlines and half the world’s super yachts.  One of the key differentiators is an unparalleled global footprint to best assess, assist and advise clients and crew - whatever may happen, wherever they travel.   

“No one can do what we do,” said Garrett, “we are in business because of the peace of mind we provide clients and they know we will be there to help them no matter what happens.”  

Perhaps the most singular point in MedAire’s history came in the early ‘90’s when one of Business Aviation industry’s most prestigious aircraft manufacturers, Gulfstream Aerospace, elected to include MedAire’s services (MedLink, medical training, first aid kits, and subsequently automated external defibrillators (AEDs)) as a value-added package with every aircraft sold. This lead to the practice of establishing similar programs with other manufacturers and creating a “Gold Standard” for the industry as a whole.

Using aviation medicine statistics and real-world experience, Joan consulted with airlines and their governing bodies—such as British Airways and The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration—on health and safety-related projects and issues.  Joan is the author of numerous white papers regarding medical and health subjects, from the use of in-flight defibrillators to issues surrounding bio-terrorism.  Ultimately, it was Garrett’s congressional testimony in 2001 that led to the Federal Aviation Administration’s final ruling requiring U.S. airlines to carry automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and enhanced emergency medical kits (EMKs) on all domestic and international flights. The regulation went into effect in 2004. 

Joan formatted an industry, and became a world renowned expert in aviation medical health and safety. She is often quoted as a subject matter expert in national and international media, such as USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, the BBC and the Discovery Channel.  

MedAire’s unique aviation specific remote medical expertise, backed by International SOS’s unparalleled global footprint around the globe provides the best possible care for clients wherever they need to travel and whatever may happen.  MedAire continues to promote its integrated approach of expert assistance, medical kits and equipment and education for crew as the gold standard for the industry. 

Today MedAire operates as the Aviation and Maritime arm of International SOS, the world’s leading medical and travel security assistance company. MedAire works with aviation clients across the globe, with offices in London, Dubai and Singapore in addition to headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona.  The company continues to expand and evolve its services, including comprehensive security solutions that provide security assistance, air space assessments, air travel safety briefings, information and advice to mitigate risk at destination, and access to MedAire’s 24/7 global network of security experts, local providers and logistics personnel. 

Since that first call to now, Joan has touched more than one million people who have become ill or injured while travelling away from home - be it on land, in the air or at sea.  Her idea to provide remote tele-medical assistance, along with crew training and lifesaving medical kits, created an industry and remains the gold standard for aviation across the globe. 

To learn more about MedAire’s leading travel risk management solutions, visit us at booth N3510 at NBAA BACE, October 10-12, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 


About MedAire

MedAire, an International SOS company, has been a partner to the aviation industry since 1985. MedAire provides fully integrated travel health and security solutions to over 150 of the world’s leading airlines and more than 4,000 private aircraft including 75% of fortune 100 companies. Integrated solutions include real-time advice and assistance, training, equipment, and professional services for crew and passengers both in and beyond the cabin. MedAire’s MedLink and Global Response Centre, handle thousands of calls a year to help crew and passengers manage medical and travel safety events in the air and on the ground with 24/7 access to emergency care doctors, nurses and aviation security specialists.

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