I’m so very honored to be a National Aviation Hall of Fame Inductee. Thank you to Hemlock Films and the NBAA for creating this video which covers many decades of devotion to the aviation industry and its passengers. The transcript is shared below.
Joan Sullivan Garrett was born August 2, 1949. She was born into a family of nurses and received an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Mesa Community College in 1978. As a single mother of two, she became a critical care registered flight nurse and chief medical officer. In 1983, Garrett was part of a flight crew of a helicopter evacuation flight in Arizona’s San Tan Mountains. After dispatch miscommunications reduced the medical response effectiveness, Garrett realized that more lives could be saved by improving the way professionals respond to remote emergencies.
It was her experiences that inspired her to create MedAire in 1985, a service dedicated to providing aviation and maritime sectors with travel risk mitigation solutions. Through MedAire, Garrett called for having better medical supplies onboard and a higher standard of first responder training. As a result, she exponentially improved the standard of care and overall safety of crew and passengers.
In addition to MedAire, Garrett founded two years later, MedLink, which has been dubbed the “911 of the sky.” MedLink provides flight crews with the ability to contact ground-based medical assistance who then connect them to emergency room physicians.
However, Garrett did not stop there. She has written a number of white papers relating to medical and health subjects and is a world-renowned expert in aviation medical health and safety. She has consulted with government agencies and airlines such as British Airways and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. One of Garrett’s most notable achievements was her congressional testimony in 2001 that caused the Federal Aviation Administration’s final ruling requiring U.S. airlines to carry automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and enhanced emergency medical kits on all domestic and international flights.
Through Garrett’s foresight and innovation, she has preemptively limited the number of possible inflight health catastrophes. MedAire provides the standard in safety solutions on all new aircraft from leading manufacturers and serves over one hundred fifty clients. It also increases the safety of crew and passengers in more ways than one, as it offers an array of security solutions which protects them as well as the aircraft and operations.
Garrett is the recipient of many awards, including Flight Safety Foundation’s Business Aviation Meritorious Service Award 1997. She was named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2001, and won the Spirit of Enterprise Award from Arizona State University in 2005. In 2017, Garret received the National Business Aviation Association’s prestigious Meritorious Award and the International Aviation Womens Association Woman of Excellence Award for her significant contributions to the industry. Finally, she was also inducted into the prestigious International Air & Space Hall of Fame in 2019. Tonight, we welcome aviation medical visionary Joan Sullivan Garrett into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.