“As Air Canada’s Chief Medical Officer, based at Toronto Pearson, I oversee a team of physicians and medical experts that takes care of both our employees and our passengers.
Prior to joining Air Canada, I served in the Canadian Armed Forces as a Flight Surgeon, based at CFB Petawawa. The training to become a flight surgeon is quite intensive, looking at altitude physiology and the effect of a hypobaric environment on the human body.
The best way to explain how aviation medicine is different is that typically, a doctor is looking at a person with an abnormal health condition in a normal environment. In aviation, it’s a healthy person in an abnormal environment.
Our pandemic taskforce kicked into gear in early January, facing the challenge of the novel coronavirus. Being a “novel” virus, COVID-19 is brand new and our understanding of it must start from scratch. The study that we are co-sponsoring at Pearson is a world’s first for a scientific study of COVID-19, in terms of its scale and its goals. We’re looking for effective safety measures, testing to understand how we evolve into a new normal. This study could lay the groundwork for how large-scale testing of air travel passengers can be incorporated into a multilayered approach to keeping Canadians safe within the air travel context.
Above all else, we want passengers and airport workers to know that this is a scientific, evidence based study, to ensure that our leaders are able to make the best decisions using the most accurate data for the welfare of all Canadians.”
- Dr. J. Chung, Chief Medical Officer, Air Canada