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Banner, UA, Space X partner to host aerospace surgery fellowship

Posted at 10:59 AM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 13:06:50-05

Banner-University Medical Center will host the first-ever Aerospace Surgery Fellowship in partnership with the University of Arizona College of Medicine -Phoenix and SpaceX.

The first of its kind, the fellowship program will prepare surgeons and physicians for advanced medical care, beyond primary care of astronauts, in aerospace conditions.

Fellows will learn hyperbaric medicine, pilot orientation, flight-readiness examination, aerospace physics and physiology and delivery of care in extreme and resource-constrained environments.

"As we learned more about the burgeoning future of space travel, the need for surgeons specifically trained to perform austere surgical procedures, and the interest and talent of our residents, it became clear the Banner and the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix should be the 'go-to' place for training in this unique niche," said Nathanial Soper, MD, chair of the college's department of surgery and physician executive director of general surgery at Banner-University Medical Center. "I am truly excited and enthusiastic about our institution being involved in this novel undertaking."

Half of the year program will be spent on-site at one or more of SpaceX's locations in California, Texas and Florida. There, fellows will work hands-on with medical evaluation and healthcare of astronauts, aviators, spaceflight participants, and occupational health for SpaceX personnel.

After graduation, fellows will be eligible for board certification in aerospace medicine and designation as a flight surgeon.

The first year of this fellowship is possible through a gift of $50,000 from Mr. and Mrs. James E. Brophy III. The Banner Health Foundation is looking for additional philanthropic support for the next three years of the program.