The 2022 SMTA Scholarship application process will open in the Fall of 2021.

The two-year competitive scholarship for the AAMS Safety Management Training Academy (SMTA) covers the cost of classes and educational materials, lodging, and most meals, and is made possible through a very generous donation from the Air Medical Operators Association (AMOA).

SMTA is held bi-annually at varying locations around the United States and provides formal continuing education for individuals interested in improving their understanding and application of safety systems theory to the practice of medical transportation. Students gain expertise and practical skills through formal didactic and participatory sessions designed to instill creative thinking and decision-making. Participants also obtain valuable insight into real life challenges by networking with industry leaders.

Applications are evaluated based on the applicant’s active involvement in medical transport as either an aviation or healthcare professional, and their commitment to improving safety in the medical transport community.

Initial SMTA funding was provided by the MedEvac Foundation in response to the need for safety management education – specifically for medical transport leaders.  The MedEvac Foundation provided seed funding to build the Academy infrastructure.  In 2009, the Foundation paid for experts in the EMS fields of safety management systems, patient safety, aviation/vehicle operational safety, and workplace safety to convene and develop the Academy structure. They created an academy that operates with a rigorous approach to competency-based education, utilizing formal classroom hours, mandatory student participation, written testing.  The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) held the inaugural Safety Management Training Academy at Oglebay in Wheeling, WV in June 2010. Graduates of the two-year program received a certificate of completion and were invited to participate in more in-depth programs on specific safety management topics.

Exciting News!  AAMS, in partnership with the International Board of Specialty Certification (IBSC), is proud to offer graduates of the Safety Management Leadership Academy the opportunity to sit for the Certified Medical Transportation Safety Professional (MTSP-C) specialty certification exam.  The MTSP-C exam establishes a legally defensible and psychometrically sound examination that tests the science and application of the discipline of safety systems in both the air and ground medical transportation industry. The goal of the certification is to create an internationally recognized standard encompassing all aspects safety management and risk mitigation across the entire enterprise of medical transportation – with special emphasis on safety management systems, patient safety, aviation/vehicle operational safety, and workplace safety.

By obtaining their MTSP-C through participation in the beta-test process, SMTA graduates will have the opportunity to be some of the first safety professionals in the world to hold the MTSP-C credential. Please contact Natasha Ross at for additional information.

Congratulations to Robert Rostedt and Olivia Kaullen Jon being awarded the 2020 SMTA  Scholarships!

2020 – Robert Rostedt, Clinical Coordinator and Safety Officer with AirLink/VitaLink Critical Care Transport and Olivia Kaullen, Transport Quality and Safety Improvement Program Coordinator for Children’s Mercy Kansas City Critical Care Transport.


My goals as the Safety Officer include striving to make our program to be an industry leader in safety performance, and to provide our team the safest and most functional environment possible for them to provide outstanding care to our patients and community,” said Rostedt, SMTA 2020 scholarship recipient. SMTA would provide a unique education opportunity that would increase my understanding of all aspects of safety in the critical care transport industry. 


Attending SMTA will improve the safety system within my transport program and others by allowing me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and share it with others, said Kaullen, SMTA 2020 recipient .By growing my knowledge of safety practices, I will be able to share information with other transport teams I am in contact with not only locally but internationally. When we are able to collaborate, we find ways to improve more quickly and effectively. 

The Medevac Foundation congratulates all of our previous SMTA Scholarship recipients:

2019 – Emily Colyer, pediatric/neonatal critical care transport nurse with Children’s Hospital & Medical Center out of Omaha, Nebraska and Joseph LeBrecque, Safety Officer for Travis County STAR Flight.

“Attending SMTA I have learned a tremendous amount about biostatistics, epidemiology, implementation science, and the like. I have learned so much theory and foundational material – but now I have a huge knowledge gap in how all of it practically applies to transport operations”. “I want to attend SMTA to gain knowledge about the practical application of everything I am learning in grad school so that I can bring it back and apply it to our safety management system and ensure that our team comes home safely every night and delivers infants and children safely to tertiary care: every call, every time.”


“I believe attending SMTA will give me valuable tools that I currently do not have. These tools will help me further improve our safety program, and give me the knowledge and confidence to change the program as needed. “SMTA will provide me with the tools and techniques to help all I come in contact with in day to day operations.”



2018 – Steve Docekal, Director of Maintenance for Health Care District of Palm Beach County and Amanda Ball, Safety Officer and Outreach Coordinator for MedFlight of Ohio. 

Steve Docekal Picture

“It is my goal as Director of Maintenance to insure that our aircraft are in optimal airworthy conditions,” said Mr. Docekal, SMTA 2018 scholarship recipient. “SMTA will provide me with the tools and techniques to improve the overall safety of our program.”



A. Ball Picture“Attending SMTA will help me learn more from industry experts and peers and grow in my knowledge base through formal training and education,” says the 2018 SMTA recipient Amanda Ball. “I plan to implement the knowledge I learn at SMTA not only at MedFlight, but throughout Ohio with the help of our neighboring critical-care transport providers, first responders, state officials, and hospital safety leadership.”

2017 – Andrew Holcomb, San Francisco EMS2017_SMTA_Scholarship_Winner

Andrew receives the scholarship based on his commitment to aviation safety in our industry.  Mr. Holcomb’s responsibilities include tracking safety activities in California while working for the San Francisco EMS Agency, and regularly auditing base locations. Andrew is also an air medical resource management (AMRM) instructor.

“Trends in safety are always changing and bringing new challenges to the air medical industry”, states Andrew. “By attending SMTA, this allows for further safety information and best-practices to flow back to my company in order to promote and create a better safety culture.”

2016 – Karryn Schwab, FP-C, Safety Officer 
Karryn Schwab Headshot
Karryn Schwab, FP-C, is an active flight team member and the first Safety Officer for Sanford AirMed. She receives the scholarship based on her dedication to safety management in this ever growing industry.

In her role as Safety Officer, Ms. Schwab’s daily tasks include reviewing and resolving safe guard reports, presenting safety education classes, and searching for ways to improve Sanford’s safety program. Karryn acts as the liaision between AirMed team members, the Safety Committee, and the base Quality Committee.

“I promote a safety culture atmosphere by encouraging team members to speak up as well as creating opportunities for improved safety performance through continuous learning. I am fascinated by the risk assessment/mitigation side of air medical transport, however I’m finding that the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. I believe that this program will give me critical information and tools I need in order to become a more effective safety officer, both in my personal safety practices as well as my team’s safety practices.”


2015 – Charlotte Clark, EMT-P, CCP-C, FP-C, CMTE
Charlotte ClarkCharlotte Clark, EMT-P, CCP-C, FP-C, CMTE is the Safety Officer and an active Flight Paramedic for Carilion Clinic Patient Transportation and Carilion Clinic Life-Guard in Roanoke, Va. She receives the scholarship based on her deep level of safety involvement at her organization and her passion to affect change in our industry.

In her role as Safety Officer, Ms. Clark is responsible for new hire orientation. Her favorite aspect of the job is teaching, actively demonstrating and ultimately instilling Carilion’s strong safety culture into each new hire from Day One. She is actively involved with her Communications Center in disseminating Safety newsletters, information about Safety courses, and conducting PAIP drills.

We need to use our voices to show the importance of what we do, how we do it every day, and what we can do to make this a safer profession for both air and ground,” states Ms. Clark. “I hope to attend the 2015 SMTA and take in as much knowledge as possible from the industry experts and take that knowledge and skill set back to my department and implement new safety practices.


2014 – Stacy Fiscus, NREMT-P, FP-C, CCP-C, CCEMTP
Stacy_Fiscus_webAir Evac Lifeteam Brazil, Indiana Clinical Base Lead, Stacy Fiscus, NREMT-P, FP-C, CCP-C, CCEMTP, received the 2014 Safety Management Training Academy (SMTA) Scholarship for her high level of involvement in safety initiatives in the critical care transport community.

Ms. Fiscus currently serves as Vice Chair of the AAMS Vision Zero initiative where she fosters critical conversations based on safety related topics through her management of the Vision Zero social media platforms.

This past year, she recorded a digital safety story through The Center for Medical Transport Research discussing the importance of speaking up when unsafe decisions are being made. Ms. Fiscus is a part of the Air Evac Lifeteam Safety Focus Team, and recently chaired the committee that organized the first annual Indiana Safety Summit.

“After attending my first year of SMTA, I realized just how much information there was out there that I really didn’t know. It is an eye-opening experience into the complex world of safety that is extremely beneficial to all levels of the industry. From administrators to flight crew, the SMTA is a great learning experience!”


2013  – Matthew Benzen, RN, BSN, CFRN, CMTE
mathew_benzen_web_8509959321244173023Mercy Life Line Flight Nurse Supervisor, Matthew Benzen, RN, BSN, CFRN, CMTE, was awarded the 2013 Safety Management Training Academy (SMTA) Scholarship based on his long standing dedication to safety in the critical care transport community. Matthew has been actively involved in the air medical community for twelve years. He is currently a Base Manager for Mercy Life Line in Springfield, Missouri where he also serves as the co-chair of the program’s Safety Committee.

Matthew enjoys teaching and takes an active role in safety education by frequently presenting ground operations safety classes to local emergency personnel. He has lectured nationally on safety related topics at the Air Medical Transport Conference (AMTC). In 2012, he saw the realization of a long-term safety goal by actively participating in Mercy Life Line’s transition to an IFR program. Matthew recognizes that successful safety programs must be proactive and he continuously pursues new ideas and best practices.

“The SMTA’s unique safety focused curriculum will provide me with education that I can use to improve Life Line’s safety program and the opportunity to network with safety professionals. I very much look forward to making the trip to Dallas for the SMTA program.”


2012 – Jonathan Godfrey, RN, CMTE
Godfrey_smallJonathan Godfrey, RN is the 2012 SMTA Scholarship winner because of his own mission to make the medical transport community safer through education, awareness, and the encouragement of personal vigilance.

Jonathan Godfrey, RN is the Safety Council Chair for the Children’s National Medical Center Transport Team in Washington, DC. He implemented new safety instruments and processes at his program, such as the READI checklist – a checklist of five items that the transport team verifies prior to departing and then again upon leaving the referring facility. Outside of his program, Jonathan presents on transport safety, survival techniques and the need for personal vigilance. Since 2009, Jonathan has volunteered as the Vision Zero Chair. He reinvigorated Vision Zero by helping to create a free online toolbox of safety information; he also sends out daily tweets on safety topics for transport teams to discuss during staff meetings.

“Attending SMTA will give me a broader view of safety management systems and best practices for my program…but more importantly for the larger transport community.”


Inaugual 2011 winner, David Lindstrom, MD, FACEP
Lindstrom small
Dr. Lindstrom has 20 years of experience in the ground and air medical transport community on both a local and regional level. At ProMedica Transportation Network, Lindstrom is the Medical Director, Program Safety Committee Chair and Quality Committee Chair. At the University of Toledo, he is helping to create a residency program to promote appropriate use of HEMS. Lindstrom’s broad experience will allow him to use the knowledge gained at SMTA to enhance safety in our community.

In 2011, Dr. Lindstrom joined 41 other medical transport leaders at the AAMS SMTA. The SMTA provides formal continuing education for individuals interested in improving their understanding of safety systems theory and the application of that theory to the practice of medical transportation. Lindstrom returned the following year to complete the 2-year course.