The research activities of Clayton T. Cowl, M.D., are diverse and involve a variety of topics within aerospace and transportation medicine, as well as research into the conditions that are caused by or exacerbated due to environmental or occupational exposures.
- Aerospace safety and altitude physiology. With a laboratory in the Mayo Clinic Hyperbaric and Altitude Medicine Program, Dr. Cowl's research focuses on testing emergency oxygen delivery systems utilized on commercial and private aircraft, analyzing crash data from general aviation aircraft, and studying efficacy and quality assurance of forensic pilot evaluations.
- Environmental and occupational lung diseases. Studies involving occupational asthma and acute toxic inhalations are a research interest, as well as asbestos-related lung disease and other occupational pneumoconiosis.
- Medical education. Dr. Cowl's research efforts have been aimed at leading Mayo Clinic training courses and providing test preparation material for health care providers across the nation. The courses involve performing federally mandated medical examinations for commercial truck and bus drivers.
Significance to patient care
Everyone is touched by the transportation industry — whether traveling on a commercial airliner, consuming goods from a local store or buying gas at the pump. Commercial vehicles transport billions of dollars of goods and hundreds of millions of people each year. Research involving the health of drivers and pilots as well as devices, such as emergency oxygen masks on board vehicles, is vital to the safety of roads and airways. Additionally, to maintain a healthy workforce, research is crucial in areas such as inhalation of toxic fumes, exposure to dusts and other occupational exposures.
- President, Civil Aviation Medical Association, 2014-2016
- Board member, Regents of the American College of Chest Physicians, 2010-2016
- Elected to the International Academy of Aviation and Space Medicine, 2013
- Leadership Council, National Business Aviation Association, 2012