(817) 658-9290 ippac1029@gmail.com

The Day Of

conference details

International Pilot Peer Assist Conference (IPPAC) – October 29-30, 2018

By Project Wingman, American Airlines and APA; Project LIFT, Southwest Airlines and SWAPA; and SOAR PSP, United Airlines and ALPA

This event is for pilot peer volunteers, medical and mental health professionals in the aviation field, and organizations looking to develop a robust pilot-assist program at their airline. The conference includes lectures on suicide prevention by Dr. Tom Joiner; FAA protocols by Dr. Mike Berry, FAA Federal Air Surgeon; FO Jeff Skiles from US Air flight 1549 Hudson River landing; along with leaders in the global aviation mental health field, innovators in respective pilot assist programs, and more.

The conference will be a place for leaders, peers and administrators across pilot groups to collaborate and help reduce stigma, and open doors for pilots seeking help for mental health issues that may be affecting their lives.


Dr. Tom Joiner, Suicide in Context – Presentation Notes

Dr. Mike Berry, Federal Air Surgeon, Process and Protocols – Presentation Notes

Dr. Greg Pinnell, FAA Senior AME, Adjustment Disorders and Return to Fly – Presentation Notes

FO Jeff Skiles, US Air Flight 1549, Miracle on the Hudson – Presentation Notes

Col Terry Virts, NASA Astronaut STS-130, International Space Station – Presentation Notes

Dr. Matt Dumstorf, FAA AME, FAA Airman Medical Certification DUI Processing – Presentation Notes

Dr. Rob Bor and Dr. Aedrian Bekker, Center for Aviation Psychology, London, UK – Presentation Notes

Dr. Quay Snyder, Looking Forward in Aviation Mental Health – Presentation Notes

Dr. Carlos Porges, United Airlines, Decision Making and Risk Assessment as Peer Assisters – Presentation Notes

Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, Resiliency and Wellness –

Speaker Biographies

Dr. Mike Berry

Dr. Berry was named the FAA’s Federal Air Surgeon in January 2017. Dr. Berry has been a Senior Aviation Medical Examiner for the FAA since 1979, and an Aviation Medical Examiner for Transport Canada. He is a Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association, and the American College of Preventive Medicine. He is a Past President of the Aerospace Medical Association, past Vice-President of the Civil Aviation Medical Association, and Past President of the International Academy of Aviation and Space Medicine.

Michael A. Berry received his M.D. degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1971. He completed surgical internship in the United States Air Force, and served four years as a fighter squadron flight surgeon. He completed his residency in Aerospace Medicine at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and received his Master’s Degree in Preventive Medicine. He was certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine in Aerospace Medicine.

Dr. Berry served as the NASA Flight Medicine Clinic Chief at Johnson Space Center where he responsible for the screening, selection, and certification of astronauts. Dr. Berry worked 25 years in private Aerospace Medicine practice. His practice included medical intervention for airline and commercial pilots.

In 2006, Dr. Berry accepted a Senior Executive position with the Federal Aviation Administration headquarters in Washington, D.C.. In March 2014, Dr. Berry was selected as the FAA Deputy Federal Air Surgeon. Berry oversees approximately 4000 domestic and international Aviation Medical Examiners (AME’s).

Dr. Robert Bor

Professor Robert Bor is a practicing psychologist, pilot and current Chair of the British Psychological Society Expert Task Force on Aviation Psychology.

He is a Chartered Clinical, Counselling and Health Psychologist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. A certified Aviation Psychologist in Europe (EAAP), he is also a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and Member of the American Psychological Association and South African Health Professions Council. ​

He has more than 29 years experience consulting in clinical and organizational settings in the UK and abroad. He has published more than 30 books and 200 academic papers and chapters in books.

Rob leads a team of expert practitioners providing bespoke assessment and treatment services to those involved in aviation whether that be customers who have a fear of flying, or airline employees who have mental health problems. He is the lead clinician for the British Airways Pilot Peer Support system.

Rob is an Honorary Civilian Consultant to the Royal Air Force. He is listed on the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum wall of honor in Washington D.C. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, a Liveryman of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators and also holds the Freedom of the City of London. Rob is a Churchill Fellow and has recently received the Boothby-Edwards award from the Aerospace Medical Association.

Dr. Aedrian Bekker

Aedrian is a Chartered Clinical and Organization Psychologist. He is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and is a member of the British Psychology Society.

While Aedrian started his career as a clinician in the NHS, for the past 16 years he has worked with senior leaders and their teams in blue chip companies around the globe. With an expertise in human behavior in complex organizations, he has worked in heavily regulated and customer sensitive industries such as defense, nuclear, automotive, finance, telecommunications, utilities, industrial relations and of course, aviation.

Aedrian leads a team of psychologists and consultants that have designed and delivered award winning psychological interventions that have been credited for their innovation, integrity and user engagement. In British Airways for example, this includes working with over 2000+ flight crew as well as programs for all senior cabin crew and facilitation of joint Management and Trade Union projects. As a psychologist, he has a deep insight into the unique challenges facing a highly professional and largely remote workforce – and the organizational contexts within which they work.

FO Jeff Skiles

Jeff Skiles has flown for 32 years at US Airways and American Airlines and is currently a B787 First Officer. He is best known for a few short moments over New York City as Captain Sully Sullenberger’s First Officer in the Miracle on the Hudson, but he also served as the Vice-President of the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations representing over 28,000 pilots on airline safety and security issues. In this role, Jeff testified before congressional committees supporting the First Officer Qualification language and participated on the initial Aviation Rulemaking Committee for the ATP rulemaking process. He also is the past Vice President of Communities and Member Programs for EAA, a 200,000 member recreational pilot association. Jeff is an aviation writer and has published over 100 articles. He also speaks on aviation topics before business and aviation safety audiences.

Gregory Pinnell, MD

Dr. Gregory Pinnell is a board-certified Family Practitioner and Senior Aviation Medical Examiner in Michigan.   He serves as a Senior Flight Surgeon for the 1st Special Operations Medical Group at Hurlburt Field Air Force Base. He serves as adjunct professor teaching Aviation Physiology and Human Factors at Western Michigan University College of Aviation.  He is a board member for Civil Aviation Medical Association (CAMA) and AME Consultant to the Federal Air Surgeon. He is President of Airdocs Aeromedical Support Services, a multi-specialty group providing a variety of services to the aviation community.

Dave Fielding

Dave Fielding studied Classics at Cambridge before making the perfectly logical step and becoming an airline pilot. He joined British Airways in 1993 on the Highlands and Islands Division, flying the BAe ATP which taught him a love for Scotland and a hate for aircraft which keep breaking down and have no cockpit heaters. When Highlands Division closed he moved down to London on the B757 and achieved his command on the Airbus A320 in 2001, with perfect timing the day before 9/11. Since then he has been a captain on the B767, B777 and the A380, which is his current type. Dave has been a union rep since 1996, and unsurprisingly given his classics background gravitated towards the quasi-legal field of disciplinaries. This led to an interest in alcohol and welfare cases, which in turn led to him creating a BALPA peer intervention programme to identify problem individuals upstream and away from the airline operation. The Germanwings crash of 2015 changed the game dramatically, and he worked with British Airways in the period following to adapt and improve the programme. In January 2017 the Pilots Assistance Network (PAN) became the first peer support programme in Europe to be launched post-Germanwings. Most of the major UK airlines have or are in the process of implementing the BALPA / BA programme in some form. Dave sits on the Executive Board of the European Pilot Peer Support Initiative (EPPSI) which has drawn together all the European expertise in setting up PSPs. They are anticipating a very busy period now that EASA have mandated that all European airlines must have a PSP within two years. Dave would love to retire to warmer climes but is too young and finds this work far too interesting.

Dr. Tom Joiner

Dr. Joiner is an American academic psychologist and leading expert on suicide. He is the Robert O. Lawton Professor of Psychology at Florida State University, where he operates his Laboratory for the Study of the Psychology and Neurobiology of Mood Disorders, Suicide, and Related Conditions. He is author of Why People Die by Suicide (Harvard University Press 2005) and Myths about Suicide (Harvard University Press 2010), The Perversion of Virtue: Understanding murder-suicide. (New York: Oxford 2014) Mindlessness: The Corruption of Mindfulness in a Culture of Narcissism (Oxford University Press 2017), and has published over 450 articles and publications and is the current editor-in-chief of Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior.

Dr. Joiner holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Carlos Porges

Dr. Carlos Porges is an aviation and clinical neuropsychologist, board-certified in the assessment & rehabilitation of brain injury and stroke, with specialized training in multicultural psychology. He is also a Boeing 757/767 pilot for United Airlines. He is the only aviation psychologist that is also actively flying the line in a part-121 operation.

His clinical practice is entirely devoted to aeromedical issues and pilot/safety advocacy. In addition to flying the line, he consults to the United Airlines SOAR program and the Human Factors and Pilot Development Team at United Airlines. He actively consults to ALPA aeromedical, the FAA as well as various airlines and universities. He contributed a chapter on substance abuse to an aeromedical textbook and has been interviewed on-air by CNN as a subject matter expert on aviation safety and human factors.

Dr. Matthew Dumstorf

Dr. Dumstorf graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine as an MD in 1998. Following an internship year in Internal Medicine and one year of training in Radiation Oncology, he attended Wright State University’s Residency in Aerospace Medicine. He completed the residency training in 2002, and received his Master of Science in Aerospace Medicine degree in 2003. He began his career as American Airlines Area Medical Director at Chicago O’Hare, from January 2004 through June 2006. He then joined the FAA’s Office of Aerospace Medicine as the Great Lakes Deputy Regional Flight Surgeon, holding that position from June 2006 until December 2012. He then transferred to the FAA’s Airman Medical Certification Division as a Staff Physician/Medical Officer, as has been in that position from December 2012 to the present. Since the spring of 2013, he has been the Drug and Alcohol Team Lead for the Airman Medical Certification Division in Oklahoma City.

Dr. Dumstorf has been a member of the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) since 2000, and was selected as a Fellow of AsMA in 2018. He has been a member of the Airlines Medical Directors Association since 2004, and has been that organization’s Treasurer for the past 6 years. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine in Aerospace Medicine since 2004, and in Occupational Medicine since 2009.

Dr. Quay Snyder

Dr. Snyder is President/CEO of Aviation Medicine Advisory Service, formerly Virtual Flight Surgeons, an organization dedicated to aviation safety, pilot health and career preservation. He holds board certification in Aerospace Medicine, Family Practice, Addiction Medicine and Occupational Medicine. Dr. Snyder is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and Duke University School of Medicine.

Dr. Snyder has spent a career in aviation medicine and pilot instruction, both military and civilian. He is the author of 90 published articles on aviation safety and given 100+ presentations to pilot and physician groups. Dr. Snyder has been a CFI since 1975, is a Designated Pilot Examiner and one of 24 pilots worldwide to have earned the Master CFI designation 7 times. Dr. Snyder serves on the NBAA Safety Committee, chairing their Fitness for Duty Working Group, and the Flight Safety Foundation Business Advisory Committee, as well as serving as Aeromedical Advisor to ALPA and other unions of professional airline pilots and air traffic controllers. He is also the Program Manager for the FAA / ALPA HIMS (substance abuse in aviation) Program.

Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas

Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas is an internationally-recognized leader and in-demand speaker on topics of resilience, mental health and suicide prevention. Working directly with communities, companies, professional organizations, and higher education institutions, she inspires, educates, and successfully challenges leaders to develop caring cultures that help people thrive.

She uses the power of stories, science and humor (just enough!) to engage her audiences and inspire a passion for saving lives and promoting wellbeing.

CA Charlie Curreri

CA Charlie Curreri is currently an A320 captain and Senior Manager of Project Wingman, a leading pilot peer assist program at American Airlines and the Allied Pilots Association. He is a retired Air Force combat veteran of Desert Storm with over a 3000 hours fighter time. He is also a licensed professional counselor, CEAP and SAP in the state of Texas and holds a Masters in Human Relations and a Masters in Counseling, and is currently a PHD candidate. Charlie has been married for over 32 years, and has 6 children, and 5 grandchildren!

Col Terry Virts

Terry Virts graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1989 with a major in Applied Mathematics and a minor in French, and earned a Master of Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Terry was commissioned as an officer in the USAF and earned his pilot wings. After being stationed in Florida, Georgia, South Korea and in Germany, Terry was selected for Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. He has logged over 5,300 flight hours in more than 40 different aircraft including the F-16 “Viper” and the Space Shuttle.

In 2000, Terry was selected as an astronaut by NASA. On February 8, 2010 he made his first spaceflight as pilot of the Space Shuttle Endeavour during STS-130 —the mission to deliver the now famous Cupola, which provides astronauts with a 360° view of the International Space Station (ISS) and our planet.  After 2 weeks in space, he returned to Earth on February 22, 2010. As a part of NASA’s leadership training, Terry attended Harvard Business School in the fall of 2011 and completed the General Management Program.

On November 23, 2014, Terry launched onboard Soyuz TMA-15M from Baikonur, Kazakhstan to the ISS. In March of the following year, Terry assumed command of the ISS as Commander of Expedition 43.  Terry spent 200 days in space on his Expedition 42/43 flight, which is the fourth longest continuous NASA space mission.  He is also one of only 4 astronauts ever to have piloted a space shuttle, flown on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, performed space walks and commanded the ISS.

Terry is very active on social media with more than half a million followers on Twitter and Instagram. One of his most memorable tweets was on February 28, 2015 following the death of beloved Star Trek actor, Leonard Nimoy who portrayed Spock. Terry tweeted an image of the Vulcan salute–“Live long and prosper”–from the Cupola as the ISS flew over Boston, the city of Nimoy’s birth.  From the Cupola, Terry also explored his other calling, Photography.  He has a unique perspective about the earth having taken more photos from space than any other astronaut.

Terry is one of the stars of the IMAX film entitled, “A Beautiful Planet” Released in April of 2016, it is a breathtaking portrait of Earth from space, providing an increased understanding of our planet and galaxy as never seen before. Made in cooperation with NASA, the film features stunning footage—much of it shot by Terry while aboard (and outside) the ISS—of our magnificent blue planet, the heavens, and the effects humanity has had on our environment.

His book “View From Above”  was released on 3 October 2017. This National Geographic sponsored work features the best of Terry’s photographs along with his stories from space, reproducing the experiences of spaceflight in book format.

Terry is also a cinematographer and certified drone pilot. He speaks Russian and French. He looks forward to the next step in his journey—sharing with people in all corners of the world the unique stories, perspectives and insights of a pilot, astronaut, author and photographer.