NEWS | Oct. 18, 2021

Former PEAT Member Receives Sonny Carter Memorial Award

By Becky Coleman, Naval Safety Center Safety Promotions

A former member of the Naval Safety Center’s Physiological Episodes Action Team (PEAT) is the 2021 recipient of the Sonny Carter Memorial Award, which is presented annually to a Navy Medical Corps or Medical Service Corps officer who significantly contributes to improving the health, safety and welfare of operational forces by promoting communication and teamwork among the aeromedical communities.    
 
Cmdr. (Dr.) Roy Allen Hoffman, a member of the PEAT from August 2018 - 2021, received the Society of United States Naval Flight Surgeons award in August. Hoffman is currently assigned to the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED).
 
“I was surprised and humbled by the recognition from my community. The award was for 2021, but part of the criteria is looking at the contributions of your entire career as well. I have dedicated my career to operational aerospace medicine and I am glad it is not that I just happened to have one good year,” said Hoffman.
 
The Sonny Carter Memorial Award was established in 1993 in memory of Capt. (Dr.) Manley Lanier "Sonny" Carter Jr., who died in 1991. As a naval officer, aviator, flight surgeon and member of the Astronaut Corps, Carter was respected for his technical abilities, energy and dedication to his profession and his ability to inspire others.
 
According to the award’s criteria, the Sonny Carter Memorial Award recipient is judged not only on accomplishments in the last year, but also on a career history of aeromedical community involvement. Criteria for selection include resourcefulness and dedication in promoting and accomplishing operational medical support; demonstrated leadership in forming and promoting teamwork among the various aeromedical specialties; demonstrated professionalism, integrity, unselfishness and respect for all aeromedical communities; communication skills and embodiment of the spirit of cooperation.
 
Hoffman cites one of his biggest accomplishments as establishing, coordinating and completing the medical treatment and rehabilitation for all of the current active, long-term grounded naval aviators who suffered chronic symptoms and physiological deficits from physiological event (PE) flights. 
 
“Those who uniquely suffered from those PE flights were all able to get back to a flight status in one way or another and continued their careers,” he said.  “I only wish this pathway to care was available years ago. Today, if a PE flight occurs and produces significant symptoms that don’t resolve quickly, we can get them to the right treatment program in a short amount of time and hopefully prevent the career interruptions we have seen in the past.”
 
Additionally, Hoffman finalized the Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) for physicians to perform PE flight medical evaluations and established timelines for follow-on care either through military medicine, or with the VA Polytrauma Center, Tampa, Florida.  “We purchased and implemented new lab and evaluation equipment at Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Units to support and enhance our CPG PE flight evaluations,” he said.
 
The doctor also worked with the PEAT and other stakeholders to rewrite CNAF M-3710.7 CH 8 “to improve aircrews’ understanding of their physiology, physiological margin degraders and what happens to them in a physiological event. More importantly, we provided mitigation measures as well,” Hoffman said. 
 
In an effort to further inform aviators across the naval enterprise, Hoffman participated in the team’s partnership with NAVAIR to make and produce an educational video that can be watched in ready rooms as a virtual PE educational roadshow. Hoffman noted to date, the video has been watched or downloaded over 6,000 times. 
 
“The recognition from my Navy aerospace medicine community regarding my career and contributions means more coming from them than anyone; it was a significant life moment,” Hoffman said.