Leading Medical Institutes to Develop Collaborative Space Medicine Program


EL SEGUNDO, Calif., May 14 A comprehensive space medicine resource for the entire civilian spaceflight industry is the focus of a memorandum of understanding that has been signed between Mayo Clinic in Arizona, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) and Wyle Laboratories.

"Collectively, the partners will seek opportunities and develop mutual agreements to provide medical assessment and screening services to people considering space flight in an effort to assure passengers remain healthy and well," said Dr. Vernon McDonald, director of Wyle's Commercial Spaceflight Service unit.

Medical services including screening, medical management and special environmental testing would be available to spaceflight vehicle operators, suborbital spaceflight passengers, commercial space ports and other entities involved in the commercial spaceflight industry. The three partners in the collaboration bring unique experience and skills to this civilian space medicine program.

Wyle's Life Sciences Group, based in Houston, is a leader in space life sciences, medical operations and preparing astronauts for human spaceflight. Of the almost 500 people who have journeyed to space, more than two thirds of them have been supported and trained by Wyle staff. Mayo Clinic has a long tradition in aerospace medicine dating back to work on the first G-suits and aircraft oxygen systems. In Arizona, Mayo has broad clinical and operational expertise with one of the largest concentrations of board certified specialists in Aerospace Medicine and Internal Medicine.

"This collaboration affords Mayo Clinic the opportunity to partner with UTMB and Wyle Laboratories in bringing the highest degree of expertise to prospective space travelers," said Dr. Jan Stepanek, director of Mayo Clinic Aerospace Medicine Program in Arizona. Dr. Stepanek is board certified in Aerospace Medicine and Internal Medicine.

UTMB's Aerospace Medicine Program provides flight surgeons for NASA's Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation Programs, and Space Adventures commercial space travelers, as well as training for aerospace medicine residents.

Dr. Richard Jennings, program director of the UTMB Aerospace Medicine Residency Program, said, "Working with Wyle and the Mayo Clinic in Arizona will enhance the services we can provide to both current and future customers, providing a uniquely qualified resource for the commercial space industry."

5/07 Contacts: Wyle Laboratories: Dan Reeder at (310) 563-6834 e-mail: dan.reeder@wylelabs.com

Mayo Clinic: Lynn Closway at (480) 301-4337 e-mail: closway.lynn@mayo.edu

UTMB: Marsha Canright at (409) 772-2618 e-mail: Public.affairs@utmb.edu

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