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Joan Sullivan Garrett, Remote Emergency Medicine Pioneer, Announces the Launch of her Autobiography

Medicine, technology, and entrepreneurship merge in a riveting new book

PHOENIX, AZ — December 1, 2021 — Joan Sullivan Garrett invites emergency physicians around the world to read her autobiography, One Life Lost, Millions Gained: The Story of A Flight Nurse Turned MedAire CEO.
Since the mid-1980s, Joan’s telemedicine innovations have benefited hundreds of thousands of passengers during onboard emergencies and changed travel medicine forever. With the support of emergency physicians who aligned with her vision, Joan’s startup, MedAire, and its service arm, MedLink (deemed the “911 of the sky”) has grown into the gold standard of remote medical emergency response in the aviation and maritime sectors. Many of those same MedLink doctors are still providing real-time advice to thousands of callers each month.
“I watched Joan pioneer a worldwide telemedicine service and experienced firsthand her remarkable role as a medical professional and visionary. She has it all — courage, personality, and the unique ability to inspire trust and confidence. What an inspiration for women everywhere, as well as business leaders, medical professionals, and those who serve within the aviation and maritime sectors,” says Bob Baron, MD, FACEP, MedLink Emergency Physician, Board Certified in Emergency and Internal Medicine.
After the tragic loss of an eight-year-old trauma patient in the San Tan Mountains of Arizona in 1984, Joan, then a flight nurse, knew the medical community had to do better in treating remote emergencies. That’s when she envisioned a way to improve medical outcomes in the most remote locations imaginable — 36,000 feet in the air or in the middle of the ocean.
This unusual and adrenaline-filled story encompasses the obstacles Joan overcame in the early days of emergency telemedicine. “With only HF radio to ground stations, and teletype technology available at the time, we innovated a way to connect ground-based emergency physicians to crews during medical crises. MedAire is known as the world’s first global remote telemedicine center, thanks to the emergency physicians who support this life-saving service,” she explains.
Joan credits her flight nursing experiences for the recognition of emergency medical needs within the aviation and maritime industries. She remained a flight nurse and emergency department nurse while growing her company, eventually traveling 280 days annually to train crews in first aid response, the use of sophisticated MedAire medical kits, and to demonstrate the instantaneous connection to MedLink emergency physicians — including the Air Force One crew.
“The passengers we help may not know the story behind it all, but we really are their safety net. So many owe their lives to Joan’s foresight and sacrifice, as well as the MedLink doctors, nurses, and support staff,” says Moneesh Bhow, MD FACEP, Medical Director Department of Emergency Medicine, Chief of Staff, Medical Staff Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix.
In 2019, Joan was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame. In 2020, she was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame, joining other aviation pioneers such as the Wright brothers, William Boeing, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Buzz Aldrin, and Neil Armstrong.
The book’s foreword is written by Barbara Barrett, 25th United States Secretary of the Air Force, comprising the Air Force and Space Force. “Like Joan, I encourage young people to pursue their dreams and consider lives of service. One Life Lost, Millions Gained inspires me and will surely inspire future generations of business and medical professionals,” says Secretary Barrett.
One Life Lost, Millions Gained is available on Amazon. Joan, an experienced speaker, is available for speaking engagements, podcasts, media interviews, and book signings. See the Advance Praise for her book here.
About Joan Sullivan Garrett
Joan Sullivan Garrett is the Founder and Chairman of MedAire, the world’s largest integrated aviation and maritime provider of medical, travel and safety services. Joan founded MedAire in 1985 to provide on-demand medical advice for in-flight medical emergencies (also known as telemedicine). The company has since expanded to provide travel risk management solutions for passengers and crew of airlines, business and general aviation, and luxury yachts. Its core mission remains to protect and save lives.
Joan has added “author” to her numerous titles, writing a unique biography that blends medicine, technology, and the power of the word “YES.” She supports STEM coursework, especially for girls, and has the utmost regard for emergency physicians and their invaluable contribution in saving lives.
She is the recipient of Flight Safety Foundation’s Business Aviation Meritorious Service Award 1997. In 2001, she was named Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year. That same year she gave congressional testimony that led to the FAA’s final ruling requiring US airlines to carry AEDs on all flights, domestic and international. In 2017, Garrett received the National Business Aviation Association’s prestigious Meritorious Award and the International Aviation Women’s Association Woman of Excellence Award for her significant contributions to the industry. She was also inducted into the prestigious International Air and Space Hall of Fame and the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
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