DAYTON, Fla., March 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Daytona Beach, Florida Campus will launch a unique undergraduate aerospace physiology program, with Florida Hospital, for students who want to advance medical research and promote the well-being of pilots, astronauts, flight crew members and air or space travelers. It is believed to be the first undergraduate program of its kind in the nation.
"Our students will be on track for medical school or careers in the military and civilian sectors," said Karen Gaines, dean of Embry-Riddle's College of Arts and Sciences. "Studying cellular function in space can advance scientific research, human healthcare and life on Earth. Radiation, G force and other characteristics of extreme environments affect human physiology from the cellular to the whole-body level. Graduates of the new program will help inform healthcare, best practices in aerospace and our understanding of how cells age."
The need for aerospace physiologists and physicians specializing in aerospace medicine should increase: By 2024, healthcare employment could rise by 19% or about 2.3 million new jobs compared with 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Worldwide space business was worth $330 billion in 2014, the Space Foundation reported.
Addressing ailments related to air or space travel is a critical goal for NASA, the U.S. Air Force, private aviation and commercial space flight operations. This is why NASA conducted a "Twins Experiment," by sending astronaut Scott Kelly on a year-long space mission while his identical twin brother, Mark Kelly, remained Earth-bound.
Florida Hospital Fish Memorial CEO Rob Deininger said: "We are excited to support Embry-Riddle in launching this new program. It is unique, and we are proud to play a role in these students one day advancing medical research and caring for the men and women who fly – whether it be here on Earth or in space."
Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center CEO Ed Noseworthy added: "Florida Hospital is delighted to partner with Embry-Riddle to better prepare students for careers in medicine and other health-related fields," said Ed Noseworthy. "Embry-Riddle is a leading aviation and aeronautics institution and is an important member of our community."
Philanthropist Dr. Helen M. Wessel provided a substantial gift for a new faculty position, the "Dr. Robert H. Wessel and Dr. Helen M. Wessel Endowed Chair for Aerospace Physiology."