Division of Aerospace Medicine

Dean M. Olson, M.D., M.S., M.S., Director

space ship

What is Aerospace Medicine?

Aerospace Medicine (ASM) is the preventive medicine specialty that promotes the health and functional well-being of pilots, astronauts and other flight crew members as well as all other people traveling in air or space. ASM physicians endeavor to discover, prevent and manage various adverse physiological responses of the normal healthy individual to the hostile aerospace environment, such as the effects of low barometric pressures and oxygen tension, rapid and sustained acceleration, short and long-term effects of microgravity, cosmic radiation and isolation. Common medical problems associated with exposures to this abnormal environment include hypoxia, decompression sickness, ebullism, barotitis, spatial disorientation, G-induced loss of consciousness, desynchronosis, thermal stress, space adaptation syndrome and microgravity induced bone-loss. Operationally, ASM specialists may be involved with the development of life-support systems and participate in aircraft/spacecraft accident investigations. Aerospace medical certification of pilots, astronauts and other flight crew members is also an important part of the practice of this specialty.

Our Training Program

Wright State University's NASA-funded program is the oldest civilian ASM training program in the United States. Since its inception in 1978, the program has graduated physicians from around the world (including individuals from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Mexico, Pakistan, Portugal, Qatar, South Africa, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and the United States of America). Our graduates hold high-ranking positions of responsibility in their individual countries.

The ASM residency program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The Division of Aerospace Medicine is part of the Department of Community Health in the Boonshoft School of Medicine and provides all of the mandated training requirements for board eligibility for certification in ASM by the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM). Graduates also earn a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Medicine.

Career Opportunities

Civilian physicians trained in aerospace medicine may find work at a NASA facility, the Federal Aviation Administration, an airline medical department/clinic, an aerospace manufacturer, private practice of aerospace medicine, medical research or academia, commercial spaceflight operations, military and other government (e.g. Coast Guard) or non-governmental agencies that have aviation and/or space-related missions. The need for competent aerospace medicine support is expected to increase in demand with a world-wide increase in domestic and international air travel, continued low-Earth orbit (LEO) operations aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the planned expansion of human spaceflight operations using the proposed Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) for missions beyond LEO and evolving commercial spaceflight operations involving civilian passengers for sub-orbital and orbital flights.

Vision

To educate highly motivated healthcare providers as world-class specialists in aerospace medicine.

Mission

The Division of Aerospace Medicine is committed to providing a fully accredited ACGME environment suited and conducive to promoting clinical and scientific inquiry, along with the skills, knowledge and competencies necessary to be a successful aerospace medicine practitioner.