Barbara Hess Scholarship

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The Barbara A. Hess Scholarship is to be awarded to an individual who has significantly contributed to the enhancement, development and/or promotion of the air medical community through their research and/or educational efforts. To pay homage to Barbara Hess and her contribution to medical transport, MedEvac Foundation International will award an annual scholarship in her name.


Congratulations to our 2022 Recipient!

Ryan Pomplun - North Memorial Health Air Care

"Healthcare is experiencing staffing shortages, shifts are going unfilled, and more work is being added to the remaining team members. When I round with team members, I make a point to learn about their passions, hobbies, or the one thing that really brings them inner peace," said Ryan. "This provides a topic of conversation at later meetings and gives me an opportunity to see if my team member has had time away from work to pursue activities outside of work. If I notice the team members work schedule increasing and the conversation about their hobby or passion decreasing, this is my opportunity to encourage them to not pick up that extra shift or use that bank vacation time to do some self-care and do that one thing that brings them joy and peace."

Barbara A. Hess was the founder and director of the Flight for Life air medical program. She along with Joseph Darin, MD, then Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, started Flight For Life in 1984.


Barb began her flight nursing career with Emery Air Charter. In 1981, she was named the program director for Lifeline Emergency Helicopter at St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, IL. In January 1984, Barb began Flight For Life-Wisconsin with a Bell 206 Long Ranger, a single engine helicopter. Flight for Life-International, a fixed wing program, soon followed in April of 1985, and then Flight For Life-Northern Illinois in May of 1987.


Barb was a hugely determined person with a wonderful sense of humor. She worked tirelessly introducing the helicopter and fixed wing service into large cities like Chicago to small towns in Michigan. She often visited former Flight For Life patients and their families, in the hospital and at their homes, making them a part of the ever-expanding Flight For Life family. It was because of Barb’s early vision and dedication that Flight For Life has become the program that it is today, dedicated to the utmost in safety and patient care.


It was not just the success of Flight For Life that Barb worked so hard for, but for the success of the air medical community as well. She was an active member of AAMS, serving as membership chairman and as a regional director. She was named to the National Dedicated Fixed Wing Air Ambulance Advisory Board in 1987. Barb and Flight For Life hosted the national air medical conference in Milwaukee in 1987 as well.


In 1986, Barb was diagnosed with breast cancer. She waged a fierce two-year battle, but died of the disease on October 11, 1988.