Application InformationCurriculumResidency ProgramStudent Clerkship
  • Space Medicine and Physiology

    The Space Medicine and Physiology senior elective is offered in conjunction with NASA scientists and flight surgeons. Specific attention is paid to the effects of gravity on the human physiology. The goal of the course is to introduce students to the concepts of space medicine as a means of providing insight into basic physiologic and biomedical processes they might encounter in their future practices. A review of adaptive physiologic principles and a consideration of the logistics of resource utilization in medical practice are emphasized through a study of the biomedical aspects of space exploration. The course is intended to expand the students' perspective of the practice of medicine and use this approach as a vehicle to gel some of their knowledge of human physiology.

    Rotation overview

    • Duration

      4 weeks or 1 calendar month

    • Clinical

      This is not a primarily clinical rotation and there are no specific clinical responsibilities. Meetings and didactics take place in and around the UMMC Adult Emergency Department and students are welcome to participate in the care of Emergency Department patients, but this is voluntary.

    • Didactics

      Most didactics are given in conjunction with NASA scientists with the majority of the teaching through distance learning techniques (telelectures, CDs and DVDs). The didactics will provide an overview of the special physiology and medical conditions experienced during exposure to microgravity with emphasis on the development of possible countermeasures and methods for space-related research.

    • Reading

      Students are assigned selected readings from journals and textbooks pertinent to the field. Computer based lectures are also provided.

    • Grading

      Grades are based on participation in meetings with the course director, completion of required lectures and an end-of-course written project to design a medical treatment plan for astronauts.


    A thorough and informative orientation session is held for all students at which time they will receive their reading materials and further information as needed.

    For more information

    • Sherry Ford, Course Coordinator
              Phone: (601) 984-5584
    • Richard Summers, MD, Course Director
              Phone: (601) 984-1810