Dr Kevin Fong OBE has worked as a doctor with NASA and currently flies as part of a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) crew in the UK. As of March 2020, Kevin was seconded to NHS England COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness Resilience & Response team. As a frontline emergency physician, his expertise lies in understanding teamwork, risk management and decision making under extreme pressure.
With degrees in astrophysics, medicine and engineering, he is also something of a renaissance man. Having worked with NASA’s human space flight programme in Houston, Kevin also has a unique perspective on science, technology, exploration and the limits of the human body which he has brought to life in his incredible talks inspiring a global audience at both public and corporate events. In 2015, he delivered the prestigious Royal Institution Christmas Lectures.
Kevin has also brought his expertise to both television and radio. He co-presented Astronauts: Do You Have What it Takes and Operation Goldrush with Dan Snow. He wrote and presented Space Shuttle: The Final Mission, To Boldly Go and several Horizon programmes including We Need to Talk about Death, Cyber Attack, Back from the Dead and How to Avoid Mistakes in Surgery. He presented Channel 4’s Extreme A&E and his radio documentaries include Game Changer: Fortnite on 4 and Trauma Medicine: The Fight for Life on BBC Radio 4.
Most recently, Kevin hosted the worldwide hit podcast 13 Minutes to the Moon produced by Andrew Luck-Baker and Rami Tzabar for BBC World Service. The podcast won Best Factual Podcast 2019 at the AIB Awards, sharing the prize with Hans Zimmer who composed original music for the series, and Silver in the Audio category at the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards. World Service has an audio audience of over 173 million listeners worldwide.
As an author, Kevin has written Extremes which won an American Association for the Advancement of Science Award (AAAS) in 2015. He was awarded an OBE for services to science, medicine and healthcare in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2019.
13 Minutes to the Moon – Lessons in Life from Outer Space: 50 years ago Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin skilfully flew their lunar module to the surface of the Moon; landing for the first time in the history of our species on the surface of another world. But their 13 minutes of final descent were riddled with hazard. The mission constantly teetered on the brink of failure but ultimately they were victorious. In this talk Kevin examines how disaster was averted by unpicking their 13 minute descent. The mission of Apollo 11 – and their successful landing on the Moon – is a masterclass in organisational endeavour and real time risk management. Half a century on from that historic mission in space there are still plenty of lessons for those of us here on Earth.
Frontline Lessons: Since the first lockdown in the UK began, everything about our lives has changed. For those working on the frontlines in the health service, it has been an extraordinary time. They have had to move swiftly and at scale to transform their way of working; massively expanding intensive care bed capacity, meeting challenge after challenge, day in day out, to get past the first peak. In March 2020 Kevin was seconded to NHS England as part of the response team for the COVID-19. In this talk, Kevin will share some lessons that can be learned from his experience working on the front line of the pandemic; the importance of deferring to expertise and delegating authority, shredding red tape and embracing risk when it is outweighed by benefits.
Photo credit: Anthony Cullen