Dedicated LifeFlight Crew | UnityPoint Health - Des Moines

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LifeFlight helicopter

Meet Our Team 

Cory Vaudt, DO
LifeFlight Medical Director

Dr. Vaudt has been involved with the air medical and EMS field for 7 years. He attended the University of Northern Iowa and Des Moines University for medical school. He then went on to Doctor's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio to complete an emergency medicine residency program. Dr. Vaudt is an attending emergency physician at Iowa Methodist, Methodist West and Iowa Lutheran Hospitals. He is instrumental in the flight crew's ongoing training, including all skills verification. Dr. Vaudt enjoys spending his leisure time in the outdoors and with his family.

Michael Zweigart, RN, CFRN, CMTE, Paramedic
Flight Nurse & LifeFlight Program Manager

Years in EMS: 20 Years of flight experience: 11

Michael has his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Iowa. He spent 7 years at Cedar Rapids Area Ambulance Service, then moved to a nursing career at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics with a focus on surgical ICU and emergency. His personal interests revolve around spending quality time with his daughters and traveling.

Jim Miara, MBA, BSBA, Paramedic 
Director, Emergency Transport Services

Jim has been involved in the EMS field for 30 years and has been a paramedic since 1985. He received a degree in Health Service Management from Robert Morris University and his MBA from Penn State University. Along with LifeFlight, Jim is also responsible for the UnityPoint Health - Des Moines Ground Transport Services, the One Call Transfer Center and the EMS Communications Center. Jim enjoys his leisure time spending time with his wife and two children. 

Tammy Apana, RN, BS, EMT-P Flight Nurse

Years in nursing: 21
Years in EMS: 4 Years of flight experience: 2

Tammy attended the Mercy School of Nursing, the University of St. Francis, and Creighton University. She worked for 16 years at Iowa Methodist in various roles but primarily in the Emergency Department, four years at Broodlawns ED, and was with the Norwalk Fire Department for three years prior to joining the flight team in 2013. She has also recently joined the Pediatric Transport Team.  Tammy is an instructor for TNCC and is a member of the education and outreach committee. When she is not at work, Tammy likes to play in the great outdoors, especially the ocean, with her family and friends.

Jill Austin, RN, BSN, CEN Flight Nurse

Years in nursing: 14 Years of flight experience: 9

Jill attended the University of Northern Iowa and Allen College of Nursing for her BSN degree. She worked at St. Luke's Emergency Department and Lifeguard Air Ambulance in Cedar Rapids prior to joining the LifeFlight Des Moines team in 2009. Jill is an active member of the conference committee for LifeFlight. Her personal interest centers around time with her family, especially her three beautiful daughters.

Tina Baysinger, RN, EMT-PS, CEN, CFRN Flight Nurse 

Years in nursing: 20 Years in EMS: 18 Years of flight experience: 5

Tina has her Associate Degree in Nursing and her Paramedic Specialist. Her work experience started in the Monroe Co. Hospital Emergency Department as a nurse and medic with their ambulance service. She has worked for Nurse Finders, Iowa Methodist ED, and Pleasant Hill Fire Department prior to joining the flight team in May of 2011. Tina is involved in the LifeFlight calendar and conference committees and is a LifeFlight preceptor. During her spare time, Tina enjoys working out, spending time with family, being outdoors, volunteering with children and events with the Pleasant Hill Fire Department, and spoiling her granddaughter.

Jim Cooper LifeFlight Pilot Helicopter: Instrument, Commercial, Flight Instructor, Flight Instructor Instrument

Years flying: 12 Years in EMS: 7

Jim attended Flight School at Quantum Helicopters. His previous professional experience includes:  - Quantum Helicopters - Papillon Helicopter Tours - Maverick Helicopter Tours - Mercy Air Ambulance Sioux City - Rated Helicopters: Robinson R22, R44, Bell 206L, EC-130, EC 135, EC -145, AS 350 B2

Brian Dotts, RN, CFRN, BS Flight Nurse

Years in nursing: 20 Years of flight experience: 12

Brian has his Associate's Degree in nursing from DMACC and two Bachelor of Science degrees from Iowa State University. He has extensive experience in ICU, endoscopy and flight nursing and teaches a wide range of topics to the pre-hospital community. He participates on the Safety Committee for LifeFlight and is active in outreach efforts and a LifeFlight preceptor. Brian is an avid hunter/outdoorsman and stays very active in his local church. He also enjoys automotive repairs and restoration.

Katy Hill, RN, BSN, CEN, CFRN, EMT-B Flight Nurse & EMS Coordinator

Years of nursing: 29 Years of flight experience: 18

Katy earned her Bachelors of Science in nursing degree from the University of Iowa and went to Creighton University for further education to become an EMT-B. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings including the adult and pediatric emergency departments, neonatal intensive care unit and LifeFlight. She also taught nursing and managed obstetrics programs in the home healthcare area. Katy now serves as the EMS coordinator for UnityPoint Health - Des Moines. She teaches numerous topics to the EMS community including: stroke education, STEMI care and PALS. The committees that Katy works on are: calendar, outreach, PR and conference events for LifeFlight. She is a board member for IEMSA and an active participant in the CIEMSD organization. Katy enjoys traveling and outdoor activities such as gardening, sports and sightseeing.

Jerrica Moon, RN, CEN Flight Nurse

Years in Nursing: 11 Years of Flight Experience: 2

Jerrica attended Mercy College of Health Sciences, graduating with her associates degree in 2005. She has worked at Grinnell Regional Medical Center on their med/surg floor for two years followed by six years in their Emergency Department. She then transitioned to Iowa Methodist Medical Center where she worked in the ED for two years before starting with LifeFlight. Jerrica is involved on the LifeFlight Trauma QA, Apparel and Conference committees. Jerrica enjoys spending time with her family, friends, being outside and swimming. She also loves animals and spends her spare time volunteering at Poweshiek Animal Rescue League.

Scott Perkins, RN, EMT-PM, CCP, CEN, CFRN Flight Nurse

Years in EMS: 23 Years of flight experience: 10

Scott has his Associate of Arts, Associate Degree in Nursing, and Associate of Science in Emergency Medical Technology from Indian Hills. He started his health care career at Ottumwa Regional Hospital and then moved to Iowa Methodist Medical Center where he has worked in the emergency department, ICU and flies for LifeFlight. Scott instructs TNCC as well as a variety of other medical topics as requested, with a focus on Ag Trauma. Scott is a farmer and enjoys spending time with his son Kaiden.  His other interests include weight lifting, running, Nascar and Iowa Hawkeye football.

Scott Richard, EMT-PS EMS Instructor and Flight Paramedic

Years in EMS: 19 Years of Flight Experience: 3

Scott holds his AAS in Paramedic Technology from Century college, his AA from Fergus Falls Community College and AA in Theology from Association of Free Lutheran Bible college. Scott's extensive work history includes several departments in Minnesota including Lakes Region EMS, Chicago City Fire Department, Virginia Fire Department and St. Louis County Sheriffs Department SWAT team. He also works in Ames with Mary Greeley Medical Center Mobile Intensive Care Services and at Iowa Methodist Medical Center as a paramedic in the Emergency Department where he is involved with the Unit practice council. Scott has an extensive teaching background from Hibbing Community College and Mesabi Range Community College as well as being a current EMT and Paramedic Instructor at Des Moines Area Community College. He enjoys playing hockey, guitar, and spending time with his kids.

Patrick Scheall LifeFlight Lead Aircraft Mechanic

A & P Mechanic Years in EMS/flight: 33

Patrick's career began with 5 years in the United States Marine Corp., followed by 4 years in the oil aviation industry. Most notable though has been his past 30 years as a mechanic in the EMS field. He is certified on the following aircrafts: CH-46, Bell 205, 212, 206, 407, Pumas, Eurocopter BK 117, EC145, EC 135, AS350's Patrick enjoys riding his Harley and spending time with family, especially his grandchildren.

Benjamin Schloss, EMT-PS, CCP, FP-C Flight Paramedic

Years in EMS: 18 Years of flight experience: 14

Ben attended Mercy School of EMS and began his career at Monroe County EMS and Ottumwa Regional Hospital. He was a combat medic with the Iowa National Guard for 17 years, serving a one year tour in Iraq. Ben served as a flight medic at Life Guard air medical helicopter in Cedar Rapids before coming to LifeFlight. He instructs classes on patient assessment and medicine in combat,  has been actively involved on the computerized charting and IT committees, the QA committee and is a LifeFlight preceptor. Ben's personal interests include scuba diving, wood working and attending his kid's events.

Amy Smith, RN Flight Nurse

Years nursing: 10 Years of flight experience: 3

Amy earned her nursing degree from Iowa Central Community College in Webster City. She comes to LifeFlight with critical care nursing experience from both the ICU and Emergency Department at Iowa Lutheran Hospital. Amy also previously worked as the RN supervisor for Mahaska Health Partnership in Oskaloosa, IA. Amy is an instructor for both ACLS and PALS. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her children and traveling.

Gary Smith LifeFlight Aircraft Mechanic

A & P Mechanic, IA Commercial Helicopter and Airplane Years flying: 17 Years in EMS/flight: 4

Gary Holds his AAS in Aviation Maintenance Technology and is currently studying Aviation Administration at Utah Valley University. He has worked on general aviation aircraft as well as Eurocopter EC 145, EC135, R22, R44 helicopters and King Air airplanes. He was employed at Haps Air Service and Exec 1 Aviation, prior to joining the Air Methods Team. In his spare time, Gary's hobby is rebuilding a 1939 J3 Cub.

Michelle Welch, RN, CEN Flight Nurse

Years in Health care: 20 Years of flight experience: 14

Michelle graduated from the Iowa Methodist School of Nursing in 1995. She began her career in the adult ICU/CCU for seven years before joining LifeFlight in 2001 and the Pediatric Transport Team at Blank Children's Hospital in 2003. She has also worked in the adult and pediatric emergency departments.  Michelle has been instrumental in the development of the LifeFlight orientation program along with Co-Chair of the Safety Committee.  She has also assisted with the calendar and conference committees and fly-along program.  During her free time, Michelle enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and being outdoors.

Tammy Williams, RN, BSN, CEN

Years of nursing experience: 22
Years of EMS experience: 12 Years of flight experience: 7

Tammy graduated from the University of Iowa in 1993 and has had experience in both large and small hospitals, primarily in ICU and ED.   Prior to working at Life Flight, Tammy had experience flying with Mercy Air Med- Mason City and Mercy One-Des Moines.  Outside of work, Tammy enjoys biking, running, hiking, and spending time with her family.