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interest in aerospace med--pls advise

pctm05

New Member
10+ Year Member
Nov 18, 2005
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    Hi all,
    Was hoping you could help me with this one:
    I'm starting med school next fall and have a heavy interest in eventually specializing in aerospace medicine (emphasis on SPACE). I have past experience working for the space program (i.e., nerd) and also recently returned from doing overseas volunteer health work (i.e., love to travel, flexible, am considering the military for the service and aerospace exposure aspect, not the money). Eventual goal? It'd be pretty sweet to be a NASA flight surgeon.

    1. I've heard of a few (2-3?) civilian residencies in aerospace med, but how competitive are they?

    2. If I go the military route, I am considering either AF HPSP or FAP. I've been reading the posts and have also spoken to others currently in HPSP. I see the benefit of FAP over HPSP based on your prior discussions, but for what I want to do specifically, wouldn't the HPSP offer more aerospace exposure via the SAM the summer after your first year and such?

    3. My other concern with going the military route is more emphasis on aviation medicine as opposed to straight space medicine. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to put the odds in my favor?

    Any advice related either directly or indirectly to these topics would be helpful. Thanks.
     

    swampthing

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    Jun 22, 2005
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      pctm05 said:
      Hi all,
      Was hoping you could help me with this one:
      I'm starting med school next fall and have a heavy interest in eventually specializing in aerospace medicine (emphasis on SPACE). I have past experience working for the space program (i.e., nerd) and also recently returned from doing overseas volunteer health work (i.e., love to travel, flexible, am considering the military for the service and aerospace exposure aspect, not the money). Eventual goal? It'd be pretty sweet to be a NASA flight surgeon.

      1. I've heard of a few (2-3?) civilian residencies in aerospace med, but how competitive are they?

      2. If I go the military route, I am considering either AF HPSP or FAP. I've been reading the posts and have also spoken to others currently in HPSP. I see the benefit of FAP over HPSP based on your prior discussions, but for what I want to do specifically, wouldn't the HPSP offer more aerospace exposure via the SAM the summer after your first year and such?

      3. My other concern with going the military route is more emphasis on aviation medicine as opposed to straight space medicine. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to put the odds in my favor?

      Any advice related either directly or indirectly to these topics would be helpful. Thanks.

      Both the Navy and Air Force have an aerospace medicine residency. Military tends to offer more education on Aviation Medicine, not Space Medicine. Therefore, they may not be right for you.

      The civilian aerospace medicine residencies are at Wright State (Ohio) and Univ of Texas - Galveston. Galveston's program is more centered on Space Medicine, is affiliated with NASA, and may be the program for you (look at their website). I don't know how competitive these programs are.
       

      pctm05

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      10+ Year Member
      Nov 18, 2005
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      1. Non-Student
        swampthing said:
        Both the Navy and Air Force have an aerospace medicine residency. Military tends to offer more education on Aviation Medicine, not Space Medicine. Therefore, they may not be right for you.

        The civilian aerospace medicine residencies are at Wright State (Ohio) and Univ of Texas - Galveston. Galveston's program is more centered on Space Medicine, is affiliated with NASA, and may be the program for you (look at their website). I don't know how competitive these programs are.

        Thanks, swampthing. So do you not think that the aerospace-related ADTs done during HPSP "summers" are worth it? I know both Kennedy and Johnson Space Centers offer aerospace clerkships for 3rd and 4th years, but I was thinking that in addition, some military aerospace experience wouldn't hurt my cause in the long run...thoughts?

        Also, it seems most aerospace docs are also internists or something similar. Does that mean they first go through an IM residency, then later apply for RAM? Seems like a long haul...what are the pros and cons of doing just RAM, and is it possible? I'm still a little unclear on the post-medical school process.
         
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        swampthing

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        Jun 22, 2005
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          pctm05 said:
          Thanks, swampthing. So do you not think that the aerospace-related ADTs done during HPSP "summers" are worth it? I know both Kennedy and Johnson Space Centers offer aerospace clerkships for 3rd and 4th years, but I was thinking that in addition, some military aerospace experience wouldn't hurt my cause in the long run...thoughts?

          Also, it seems most aerospace docs are also internists or something similar. Does that mean they first go through an IM residency, then later apply for RAM? Seems like a long haul...what are the pros and cons of doing just RAM, and is it possible? I'm still a little unclear on the post-medical school process.

          I'm currently a Naval Flight Surgeon. I did a HPSP ADT's at the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory when I was in med school. I thought it was cool. There research is related more to military aviation medicine (not space medicine). Research topics included hypoxia, visual illusions in flight, centrifuge experiments, etc. It was a fun experience because I had a lot of down time to enjoy and explore Pensacola, Florida. But I wasn't really interested in the research topics.

          Current Navy policy is that you must complete another residency (eg. IM, Family Practice, Peds, etc) before your can apply for the RAM residency. As for the Air Force and Army, I believe you can apply directly to an aerospace medicine residency out of med school (but don't quote me on that).
           

          dtn3t

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          Jun 2, 2004
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            swampthing said:
            ... As for the Air Force and Army, I believe you can apply directly to an aerospace medicine residency out of med school (but don't quote me on that).


            The Army accepts directly into a RAM from med school. The intern year is generally at Eisenhower and then the rest of the residency is combined with the Navy at Pensacola. It works out pretty well and in the end, the Army residents earn Naval FS wings in addition to Army FS wings.
             

            kingcer0x

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            Jun 10, 2003
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              Some of the RAMs at Brooks told me that the AF rarely accepts people straight outta med school / internship to the RAM. Most have active duty experience as a GMO or BE/BC physician and I would assume all have already completed the short course.

              Does anyone know where SAM is going to go when Brooks closes? Wright-Patt?
               

              island doc

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              Jul 24, 2005
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                kingcer0x said:
                Some of the RAMs at Brooks told me that the AF rarely accepts people straight outta med school / internship to the RAM. Most have active duty experience as a GMO or BE/BC physician and I would assume all have already completed the short course.

                Does anyone know where SAM is going to go when Brooks closes? Wright-Patt?

                You are correct, BRAC is relocating the RAM to Wright-Patt.
                 
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