Cardiothoracic surgery staff earn Air Force distinction; ACEP honors emergency med chair's researchPublished on Monday, June 1, 2020UMMC cardothoracic surgery director becomes state’s first aerospace N.P.Craig Mathis, director of cardiothoracic surgical operations at UMMC, has become the first and only Air Force aerospace nurse practitioner in Mississippi.Among the first graduates after training at the Air Force’s School of Aerospace Medicine, Mathis, a lieutenant colonel, completed the newly created two-month training program. Having successfully passed the Air Force’s Flight Surgeon Qualification Exam, he is now able to provide a unique health care role to his fellow service members.Craig Mathis, director of cardiothoracic surgical operations at UMMC, is the first and only Air Force Aerospace NP in the state. He stands by a Cirrus SR22, the aircraft he piloted in multiple sorties during the final stage of his training. His training included piloting aircraft, simulator flight training, “pulling high Gs” in a centrifuge, altitude chamber training and many other classroom and operational exposure laboratories.“Graduates of the school sign a book that has a very long heritage in the Air Force,” Mathis said. “Being one of the first nurse practitioners to sign in all of the U.S. Air Force, was an honor.”As an aerospace nurse practitioner, Mathis serves a key role in operational medicine for the Air Force, focusing on providing care to individuals requiring special flying or operational medical requirements. Part of his job will involve flying with the Mississippi Air National Guard on its C-17 flights.“Because I am with them, I have the ability to experience the situational stresses these aircrews go through and what they face,” Mathis said. “The more I can understand their jobs, the better care I can provide.”Mathis has served more than 17 years in the Air Force, enlisting first in 1993 and serving until 2001. He returned to the Air Force in 2011 as a captain and nurse practitioner after a 10-year hiatus.At UMMC, Mathis provides surgical assistance in operating rooms for adult and pediatric patients undergoing cardiothoracic surgical procedures.Emergency Medicine chair earns national research honorJonesDr. Alan Jones, professor and chair of emergency medicine, has been named the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution in Research Award from the American College of Emergency Physicians.Jones will receive the award at the college’s annual meeting, scheduled for Oct. 26-29 in Dallas, Texas.Jones’ research interests include new methods for the treatment and management of sepsis. He leads multiple clinical trials related to COVID-19. His work is funded by the National Institutes of Health.