Monday, May 18, 2009

If I Could Go Through Life Again

If I could go through life again, I think I'd like to pursue a career in Aerospace Medicine. What is Aerospace Medicine?

According to the American Board of Preventive Medicine, "Aerospace medicine focuses on the clinical care, research, and operational support of the health, safety, and performance of crewmembers and passengers of air and space vehicles, together with the support personnel who assist operation of such vehicles. This population often works and lives in remote, isolated, extreme, or enclosed environments under conditions of physical and psychological stress. Practitioners strive for an optimal human-machine match in occupational settings rich with environmental hazards and engineering countermeasures."

Kids often grow up with lofty dreams. I always wanted to be an astronaut or a fighter jet pilot (yes, you can blame those dreams and ambitions on my love for Star Wars and science fiction). However, my dreams shifted towards biomedical engineering as I got older and those dreams of space travel faded away. Now, as I look back on life, I wonder what life would have been like if I had pursued aerospace medicine. Preventive medicine is not a specialty that is emphasized very much in most medical schools. In fact, I still meet many medical students who are not familiar with this specialty. They have no idea that you can do a residency that also includes the completion of an MPH degree.


  1. Hi Joseph,
    Your post is very inspiring. I am studying for my ECFMG certifications so I can obtain a specialty training in aerospace (well I dream to at least).

    Right after I finished with my boards in Asia, I bumped into Aerospace Medicine and a listserv where topics aeromed topics are discussed. My interest for this continues to grow. I have done my 'research' and I wrote to some who are in this specialty for further information. So far it has been encouraging.

    At the same time, a small part of me fears the unknown. My med school never had this course and preventive medicine is less emphasized. I majored in public health in undergrad so it helps being familiar with some of the aspects of this specialty. But that's about it.

    After all my tests someday, I am hoping the geek in me will brave it out and act with some certainty that this is what I really want.

    I am happy to bump into this post.

    Best Regards,

  2. Thanks for your comment Karina. I find that most medical schools don't seem to ignore the preventive medicine specialty. People are familiar with an MPH, but they often forget that preventive health and wellness are essential to public health. Best wishes as you pursue your ambitions!