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American Academy of Disaster Medicine Presents Distinguished Service Award

Lieutenant General (Dr.) Paul Kendall Carlton, Jr., the 17th Surgeon General of the United States Air Force, was recently honored by the American Academy of Disaster Medicine® (AADM®) with its Distinguished Service Award. The award was presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc. ® (AAPS) held in Orlando, Florida.

General Carlton was recognized for his extensive record of expertise and innovation. According to AADM President, Arthur Cooper, MD, MS, FACS, FAADM, Dr. Carlton was an advocate for robust readiness and response long before disaster medicine emerged as an identifiable disciple. “As an Airforce medical officer and later as Surgeon General of the Air Force, Dr. Carlton was well known for innovation, forward-thinking, and championing preparedness,” said Dr. Cooper.

He conceptualized and implemented the first Air Force rapid-response surgical team in Europe—the flying ambulance surgical trauma team. During Operation Desert Storm, he commanded the 1702nd Air Refueling Wing Contingency Hospital, completing 32 combat support missions and 140 combat flying hours in the C-21, C-130, KC-10, and KC-135. He is the architect for the current medical war plan which has yielded the best survival in the history of war, resulting in over 10,000 extra alive from wounding in this conflict compared to Vietnam.

September 11, 2001 found General Carlton in the impact zone in the Pentagon, where he assisted in the immediate response to the terrorist attack. Dr. Carlton advocated for robust response capabilities to alleviate pain and suffering from the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath. He retired from the Air Force December 1, 2002.

Upon retirement, General Carlton was named Director of the Homeland Security Initiative for the Texas A&M Health Science Center to address homeland security issues related to human health. In this capacity, Dr. Carlton was a prolific spokesperson for enhanced preparedness and response capabilities across the spectrum of healthcare, sharing his expertise in U.S. Senate testimony, on behalf of The Joint Commission, and internationally. After the Joplin, MO, tornado of May 2011, he outlined a master plan for the reconstitution of medical care in Joplin, which was accepted by the Mercy leadership, and enabled them to return to business continuity in 88 days, the previous best being 14 months.

Dr. Carlton is a Fellow and former Air Force governor of the American College of Surgeons. He has published extensively in medical literature.

“He continues to be a prominent and forceful voice for the ability to respond to a disaster of any magnitude, said Dr. Cooper. “Dr. Carlton is clearly a visionary leader in this area.”

The American Academy of Disaster Medicine promotes the practice of disaster health care, ensuring that all physicians and allied health professionals are aware and prepared to effectively respond to future disaster – either natural or man-made. AADM is an affiliate Academy of the AAPS, the governing body of the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS). ABPS is a nationally recognized multi-specialty physician certifying organization in the United States, headquartered in Tampa, FL.