Michael Abernethy, MD

Credentials: Clinical Professor

Pronouns: Division of Prehospital Medicine

Administrative Support:
Sara Schils (sschils@medicine.wisc.edu)

Michael Abernethy


Chief Flight Physician

Clinical information Publications UW Experts Database


Undergraduate: The Ohio State University
Graduate: The Ohio State University
Medical School: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Residency: University of Chicago Medical Center – Chief Resident

Dr. Abernethy first joined Emergency Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health as a Med Flight physician and ED attending in 1992. He has been full-time EM faculty and has served as Chief Flight Physician since 2008. His research/specialty interests include HEMS utilization, procedural/behavioral sedation and emergency airway procedures. He is a well-known lecturer at many local, regional and national EM/EMS/HEMS conferences. He also has an international reputation as an EMS educator and clinician and has lectured in the UK, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Cuba, Canada and France.

With over 30 years continuous experience and thousands of patient transports, Dr. Abernethy is one of the world’s most experienced helicopter flight physicians. In addition to his certification in Emergency Medicine, Dr. Abernethy is a Faculty and Fellow of Sports and Exercise Medicine (FFSEM) with the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. He was the first American to earn a Diploma in Retrieval and Transfer Medicine (DRTM) from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He was also the first American examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in their section of Pre-hospital Care and was elected to the recently established Fellow and Faculty of Trauma and Critical Care (FFTACC) with the Royal College of Surgeons of England and The ATACC Group. Dr. Abernethy has also served as a faculty instructor with the UK’s renowned Anesthesia, Trauma & Critical Care Group (ATACC) in Lancashire, United Kingdom, since 2016.

Other than his career in medicine, Dr. Abernethy has been an EMT, steelworker, metallurgical engineer, military air crew and flight surgeon, wildlife rehabilitator and grandfather.