Air Methods’ contractual partner, Vanderbilt LifeFlight of Nashville, Tennessee, has been named the Air Medical Program of the Year by the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS). This prestigious 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 visionary and innovative approaches, customer service, safety consciousness, community service, and commitment to the medical transport community.

“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 recognize the hard work and dedication of its entire team.”

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 received the AAMS Excellence in Transport Leadership Award and in 2003 former flight nurse Kevin High received the Crew Member of the Year award.

“LifeFlight’s strength is its culture; from the first day of service on July 1, 1984, the mantra of ‘safety is our number one 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.”

LifeFlight was the first civilian air medical entity to purchase the Airbus EC 145 with IFR capability in the U.S.; a significant investment in safety for the program. They were the first air medical program in Tennessee to achieve CAMTS accreditation in 2006 and used this as a springboard to bolster safety training and just culture.

In 2015, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) partnered with Air Methods to provide aviation, fuel, maintenance, aircraft, dispatch, billing, and EMS licensure. VUMC provides all medical staffing, patient care, and clinical services for Vanderbilt LifeFlight.

“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, 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.