ALPA Hosts HIMS Seminar

More than 150 line pilots and representatives of government, the airline industry, and the health-care community came together April 15-16 at ALPA’s Herndon, Va., Conference Center for a comprehensive symposium on helping flightcrew members deal with alcoholism and other substance abuse.

HIMS (Human Intervention and Motivation Study) is the FAA-funded substance abuse treatment program for airline pilots, which, according to the HIMS website (, “coordinates the identification, treatment, and return to the cockpit of impaired aviators. It is an industry-wide effort in which companies, pilot unions, and the FAA work together to preserve careers and further aviation safety.” ALPA administers the HIMS program under a contract from the FAA.

The HIMS Advanced Topics Seminar held this week was specifically tailored for attendees with several years of experience in well-established HIMS programs in the airline industry. In addition to ALPA HIMS pilot peer volunteers, attendees included FAA and airline management representatives, addiction counselors, and substance abuse evaluation professionals. Presentations dealt with the current state of HIMS (both nationally and at specific airlines), and issues and difficulties regarding diagnosis, treatment, case management, relapse prevention, legal issues, release from monitoring, and the effects of FAA policy.

One of the intents of the seminar was to gather best practices that could be incorporated into a more standardized HIMS model to be used throughout the airline industry.