Welcome to Aviation Psychiatry!

Dr. Gregory Kirk owns and operates the aviation specialty clinic, Aviation Psychiatry, LLC. 

Dr. Kirk is a HIMS psychiatrist in Denver and is Board-Certified by the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry in Adult Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry.

Dr. Kirk’s professional-pilot clients span the country from coast to coast and work for every legacy airline and most western regional carriers. Dr. Kirk also works with General Aviation pilots, student pilots, pilots in training, and Air Traffic Control applicants. Apart from pilots, Dr. Kirk also sees clients in other regulated professions, like medicine and law, and is a specialty evaluator for professional sports leagues in Denver.

For more about Dr. Kirk, click here.

Keep reading for answers to common questions.

What is Aviation Psychiatry?

What is HIMS?

What is a HIMS Psychiatric Evaluation?

What is Aviation Psychiatry?

Commercial airline pilots have demanding careers. Junior pilots accumulate student debt and then begin physically and financially demanding work. Military pilots leave a long, structured career and join large corporations with a new and alien hierarchy. Women pilots join a culture long dominated by men, and even when welcomed by your airline it can still feel like joining a fraternal organization. Aviators with children, whether men or women, must adapt to raising a family with demands most other professionals just cannot understand.

Other issues, like hopping in an out of different time zones, regular sleep disruptions, being away from family, getting bored on layovers, fiscal pressures to your company and the fear of furlough, are all issues that cause stresses unique to the industry.

Aviation psychiatry is not a formal subspecialty of psychiatry. It is a subset of general and addiction psychiatry that is practiced by a physician familiar with the career of a pilot and knowledgeable of the interface between pilot health, company policies, aerospace safety, and federal regulation

What is HIMS?

From www.himsprogram.com

HIMS is specific to commercial pilots and coordinates the identification, treatment and return to the cockpit of impaired aviators. It is an industry-wide effort in which companies, pilot unions, and FAA work together to preserve careers and further air safety.

HIMS stands for Human Intervention Motivation Study and formed in a partnership with ALPA (the Airline Pilots Association) and the FAA in the 1970s. The goal of the original study was to collect data in a program that allowed pilots with alcohol problems to get help and with the possibility (but not guarantee) of preserving a career if conforming to program guidelines. Congressional authorization and appropriation allow the FAA to gather data about the program and offer a partnership between the pilot, the company, the union, and the FAA to identify what a commercial pilot should do to return to cockpit after getting treatment for an alcohol problem.

The FAA does not administer the HIMS program. Each airline operating a HIMS program designs to their need but there is collaboration in the industry. HIMS programs, individually administered at the airlines, contain similar elements in promoting an effective recovery process for the pilot. On the other hand, not every airline has a designated HIMS program, but even in those cases, an individual program can be designed. It just takes some extra work.

What is a HIMS psychiatric evaluation?

A HIMS psychiatric evaluation is a comprehensive psychiatric and substance use evaluation. The evaluator should be familiar with Aviation Psychiatry and HIMS.

The HIMS psychiatric evaluation must produce a comprehensive report. Although the FAA publishes specifications for what the report must include, there is no standard template for the report. Reports vary in length but must cover every topic on the specification sheet. Even though the report is based on clinical information, its use is as evidence in a regulatory proceeding. It is not a clinical report.


About Gregory L. Kirk, MD

Dr. Gregory Kirk provides psychiatric clinical and consulting services in the Rocky Mountain region. Board Certified in both Adult and Addiction Psychiatry, Dr. Kirk keeps a clinical practice, works with the courts, and is an Aviation Psychiatrist.

Dr. Kirk has experience in public health settings, non-profit private medical systems, university systems, and independent consulting.

Dr. Kirk is an experienced expert witness throughout the western United States, in both state and federal courts, and has served defense attorneys, plaintiff attorneys, prosecutors, individuals, hospital systems, and insurance companies to review and testify about high risk psychiatric, emergency medicine, and addictions cases.

Dr. Kirk also teaches on substance abuse and emergency psychiatry in community, professional, and academic settings.

To read Dr. Kirk’s curriculum vitae, please click here.

This beautiful Husky Aviat belongs to aviation psychologist, Dr. Chuck Denison, of Aviation Psychology, www.aviationpsychology.com


For inquiries, private questions about your case, or to schedule an examination, please go here.

You can call me at 720 399 9620 (aviation inquiries only).

You can also email me at gregkirk@avipsy.org.