16 Dec 2014

Aviation Medicine

Flight travel exposes passengers to a number of adverse factors due to changes in air pressure, humidity, oxygen concentration and so many others.Some passengers with health risks associated with air travel may have difficulty in getting accustomed to these factors. Under such circumstances, people get quick medical attention by specially trained medical practitioners.  Also safety is a major component of aviation. Safety in the hands of aviation crew, mainly the pilots is pivotal in running aircrafts and in managing aviation with zero incidents/accidents/human failures occurring therein. In order to ensure that pilots have the physical capability-in medical terms-to fly safely and to mitigate any possible risk of medical disability, they have to be checked and tested periodically by qualified medical doctors who are experienced in the medical field as applied to aviation, namely, Aviation Medicine.              

Aviation Medicine is a study of prescribed medical parameters and standards of fitness to fly including performance of tests to ensure such standards are met and in turn to maintain acceptable flight safety of passengers and crew.

To be precise, Aviation Medicine, also known as Flight Medicine or Aerospace Medicine, is a medical specialty that combines preventive, occupational, environmental and clinical medicine aspects of aviation medicine. It is mainly concerned with the health and safety of pilots, aircrews and the persons involved in the flight. The military practitioners of aviation medicine are called flight surgeons, while the civil practitioners of aviation medicine are called aviation medical examiners.

Such Aerospace Medical Specialists usually carry out crew training in first aid and also plan in advance in making of passengers recover from illness. They also assist paramedical professionals and apply principles of preventive medicine for avoiding diseases that may spread during the flight travel. In addition to all these, these specialists also conduct post-flight medical evaluations of pilots and other crew in identifying the adverse effects of space flights on their bodies. These medical practitioners also help in developing vehicles, emergency systems and protective equipment of aerospace flights.

Paul Bert of France is regarded as the father of modern aviation medicine. His observations on the effects of high and low pressure on balloonists led the way for research in space research and consequently the technical advancements were made in space search. As a result of all these technological enhancements, aviation medicine has been recognized as an important medical specialty.

Aviation Medicine includes following medical specialities as applied and specific to Aviation sector.

  • Physiology and Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Psychology
  • Pathology
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical and surgical programs
  • Aviation medical standards and policy.
  • Aviation safety and ergonomics
  • Susceptibilities studies in treating medical conditions of aviation risks to pilots crews and passengers.

The Aviation Medicine sector works in collaboration with UN agencies such as World Health Organization (WHO) and some of the non-governmental organizations such as International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airport Council International (ACI). There will be often consultations between chief medical officers of civil aviation and medical directors of airline companies around the world to ensure air travel safety, on all occasions.

Careers in Aviation Medicine

There are many opportunities for students who want to pursue their career in the aviation medicine all around the globe. The Minimum qualification in India to join as a Medical Officer/ Flight Surgeon/First Aid Instructor requires a degree in MBBS and other qualifications that vary with the civil or military institution. The Medical officers and flight surgeons are mostly involved in treating medical emergencies of passengers, while the first aid instructors are required to conduct training and first-aid audits. Latter  are required to design and develop training modules, manuals and learning aids and update course contents.

Some of these Aviation Institutions also require a certificate/degree course in Aviation Medicine in addition to the graduate degree or post graduate degree in medicine. The field surgeons/medical officers have opportunities to work in some of the world’s biggest airlines such as Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways, Jet Airways and many others. Some of the institutes like U. S. Air Force have openings for Aerospace Physiology specialists, who are needed to conduct training for pilots and crews about oxygen masks, pressure suits, hyperbaric chambers and so on.

The civilian physicians trained in Aviation Medicine also have opportunities to work in medical research, commercial space flight operations, airline medical department and military, government and non-governmental agencies that have aviation sectors. Qualified Aviation Medical Examiners in Civilian Airlines and Flight Surgeons in Military are appointed respectively in these designations to carry out periodic mandatory routine tests in pilots/aircrews and certify that they are medically fit to fly or serve civil and military aircrafts. As per international standards there are three-of such mandatory certifications which have to be necessarily done by qualified Aviation medical doctors only.

Pre-requisites for entering the aviation medicine stream are

All the organizations involved in Aviation Medicines require the candidate to be physically and mentally fit for performing the aviation duties.

Physical and Mental requirements: An applicant of Aviation Medicine should not have any congenital or acquired abnormalities or active, latent or acute or chronic disability, as such disabilities would make a person interfere with the safe operation of aircraft. He/She should not have any major injuries/wound or sequelae from operations. Also, He/She should not have any side-effect of any prescribed or non-prescribed diagnostic or preventive medicine taken.

Career tasks of aviation medical practitioners

The aviation medical practitioners are required to perform a range of tasks-from nursing patients to assemble medical devices–in order to ensure the health and safety of passengers and co-workers. Some of the main career tasks are:

  • Nursing duties for patients including feeding, bathing and handle patients with care under any health emergencies
  • Assembling, operating and maintaining medical devices such as oxygen delivery equipment, intravenous controllers, fetal monitors, suction machines and electrocardiograph recorders
  • Administering medications under the supervision of a nurse or a physician in order to draw blood samples
  • Collecting urine, excreta and other bodily secretions daily for laboratory experiments
  • Preparing patients for surgery and performing post-operative monitoring
  • Assisting in the delivery and care of newborns
  • In countries like USA, the aviation medical practitioners can write to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) to show their level of competency in aviation medicine.

Salary Packages of Aviation Medicine specialists across work

Aviation Medicine jobs are one of the highest paid jobs. The salary structure varies from country to country and it also depends upon the organization and experience of the professional.

Courses/Certifications/ Programmes in Aviation Medicine:

INSTITUTE OF AEROSPACE MEDICINE (IAM), BANGALORE : IAM, which is a part of Indian Airforce, is the only institute in South East Asia to provide a postgraduate degree (MD) in Aerospace Medicine. It is a 3-year course and it is also a multi-disciplinary course that covers subjects in the areas of medicine, physiology, psychology, biophysics and bioengineering. The course also offers research and clinical training and is available only to civilian students and to service medical officers of army, navy and air force. The admission to this course is based on all India written examination. The minimum eligibility to join in this course requires 55% in MBBS. The eligibility criterion also requires the candidate to be registered with the state medical council.

NASA, USA

NASA offers a course in Aerospace Medicine Clerkship that usually happens in the month of April and October every year. The course duration is for four months and the course covers topics on space medicine and medical aspects of international space station operations. During the course, the participants are required to complete a research paper in the hot trends in space medicine.

The eligibility criterion for the clerkship programme requires the medical students to be in the final year of their academics with interest in the aerospace medicine field. The applicants of the clerkship course will be selected based on the interest and career of student and recommendation from the dean of the institution in which the applicant is pursuing academics, and also related research and work experience. The clerkship programme is conducted by flight surgeons and space and clinical operation team members.

INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION (ICAO), CANADA

ICAO offers civil Aviation Medicine and other Aviation Medicine courses for professionals. It also conducts a management programme on aviation known as Collaborative Arrangement for the prevention and management of public health events in civil aviation.

AEROSPACE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, USA

The Aerospace Medical Association of USA conducts certification courses for aerospace medicine physicians after a 2-year residency and after passing the board examination.

INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY OF AVIATION AND SPACE MEDICINE (IAASM)

IAASM offers a course in Aviation Medicine. The eligibility criterion requires the applicant to be a medical graduate from a recognized university, or a degree in aviation science or space medicine or a certificate in the respective field.  The applicant must produce a ten year evidence certificate for working in the particular field of medicine/aviation science for the selection process.

BOONSHOFT SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, USA

Boonshoft University offers a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Medicine. The course includes topics in the areas of aviation and space medicine, operational aerospace medicine, human factors and aerospace accident investigation. The course also includes core topics in the Aviation Medicine industry such as environmental medicine, health services administration, behavioral aspects of health. The minimum eligibility criterion for a person to do a master program in Boonshoft university requires the applicant to have a M.D or equivalent medical degree. Also, the applicant should have good proficiency in English. The university also mandates TOEFL score, if the applicant belongs to a non-English speaking country.

The Boonshoft School of Medicine also offers a training program on Aviation Medicine funded by NASA called ASM training program. The program is conducted by experienced physicians around the world. The ASM program is accredited by Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

UNIVERSITY OF OTAGO, WELLINGTON

The Otago University offers courses on Aviation Medicine for both doctors and allied health professionals. It is a distance learning programme and the subjects will be taught online through audio conference sessions.

EMIRATES AVIATION UNIVERSITY, DUBAI

The Emirates university offers a professional training programme on Aviation Medicine. The programme duration is for 11 days and only certified doctors can apply for this course. The course is delivered in collaboration with Emirates Medical Services. The course will be helpful for doctors who wish to become Aviation Medical Examiners (AME).

Aviation Medicine offers literally ‘high-flying’ jobs, with salary packages and opportunities to take one to places too.

– See more at: http://www.testsandcareers.com/aviation-medicine/page/0/1#sthash.R7rOlaZE.dpuf

 

Career tasks of aviation medical practitioners

The aviation medical practitioners are required to perform a range of tasks-from nursing patients to assemble medical devices–in order to ensure the health and safety of passengers and co-workers. Some of the main career tasks are:

  • Nursing duties for patients including feeding, bathing and handle patients with care under any health emergencies
  • Assembling, operating and maintaining medical devices such as oxygen delivery equipment, intravenous controllers, fetal monitors, suction machines and electrocardiograph recorders
  • Administering medications under the supervision of a nurse or a physician in order to draw blood samples
  • Collecting urine, excreta and other bodily secretions daily for laboratory experiments
  • Preparing patients for surgery and performing post-operative monitoring
  • Assisting in the delivery and care of newborns
  • In countries like USA, the aviation medical practitioners can write to the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) to show their level of competency in aviation medicine.

Salary Packages of Aviation Medicine specialists across work

Aviation Medicine jobs are one of the highest paid jobs. The salary structure varies from country to country and it also depends upon the organization and experience of the professional.

Courses/Certifications/ Programmes in Aviation Medicine:

INSTITUTE OF AEROSPACE MEDICINE (IAM), BANGALORE : IAM, which is a part of Indian Airforce, is the only institute in South East Asia to provide a postgraduate degree (MD) in Aerospace Medicine. It is a 3-year course and it is also a multi-disciplinary course that covers subjects in the areas of medicine, physiology, psychology, biophysics and bioengineering. The course also offers research and clinical training and is available only to civilian students and to service medical officers of army, navy and air force. The admission to this course is based on all India written examination. The minimum eligibility to join in this course requires 55% in MBBS. The eligibility criterion also requires the candidate to be registered with the state medical council.

NASA, USA

NASA offers a course in Aerospace Medicine Clerkship that usually happens in the month of April and October every year. The course duration is for four months and the course covers topics on space medicine and medical aspects of international space station operations. During the course, the participants are required to complete a research paper in the hot trends in space medicine.

The eligibility criterion for the clerkship programme requires the medical students to be in the final year of their academics with interest in the aerospace medicine field. The applicants of the clerkship course will be selected based on the interest and career of student and recommendation from the dean of the institution in which the applicant is pursuing academics, and also related research and work experience. The clerkship programme is conducted by flight surgeons and space and clinical operation team members.

INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION (ICAO), CANADA

ICAO offers civil Aviation Medicine and other Aviation Medicine courses for professionals. It also conducts a management programme on aviation known as Collaborative Arrangement for the prevention and management of public health events in civil aviation.

AEROSPACE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, USA

The Aerospace Medical Association of USA conducts certification courses for aerospace medicine physicians after a 2-year residency and after passing the board examination.

INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY OF AVIATION AND SPACE MEDICINE (IAASM)

IAASM offers a course in Aviation Medicine. The eligibility criterion requires the applicant to be a medical graduate from a recognized university, or a degree in aviation science or space medicine or a certificate in the respective field.  The applicant must produce a ten year evidence certificate for working in the particular field of medicine/aviation science for the selection process.

BOONSHOFT SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, USA

Boonshoft University offers a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Medicine. The course includes topics in the areas of aviation and space medicine, operational aerospace medicine, human factors and aerospace accident investigation. The course also includes core topics in the Aviation Medicine industry such as environmental medicine, health services administration, behavioral aspects of health. The minimum eligibility criterion for a person to do a master program in Boonshoft university requires the applicant to have a M.D or equivalent medical degree. Also, the applicant should have good proficiency in English. The university also mandates TOEFL score, if the applicant belongs to a non-English speaking country.

The Boonshoft School of Medicine also offers a training program on Aviation Medicine funded by NASA called ASM training program. The program is conducted by experienced physicians around the world. The ASM program is accredited by Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

UNIVERSITY OF OTAGO, WELLINGTON

The Otago University offers courses on Aviation Medicine for both doctors and allied health professionals. It is a distance learning programme and the subjects will be taught online through audio conference sessions.

EMIRATES AVIATION UNIVERSITY, DUBAI

The Emirates university offers a professional training programme on Aviation Medicine. The programme duration is for 11 days and only certified doctors can apply for this course. The course is delivered in collaboration with Emirates Medical Services. The course will be helpful for doctors who wish to become Aviation Medical Examiners (AME).

Aviation Medicine offers literally ‘high-flying’ jobs, with salary packages and opportunities to take one to places too.

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