On Tuesday, May 4, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) – Virginia continued its lecture series on Leading Global Health. The series provides experiences and stories from leaders in the medical field on various issues of global health importance.
Guest speaker J.D. Polk, DO, is Chief Health and Medical Officer at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He received a degree in osteopathic medicine from A.T. Still University in Kirksville, Missouri, and completed his residency in emergency medicine with the Mt. Sinai Hospitals via Ohio University. Dr. Polk also completed training in aerospace medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
The Leading Global Health lecture began with Dr. Polk informing students of the vast amount of medical research NASA performs in weightlessness, as well as key breakthroughs in science and medicine those projects have created. He spoke about how doctors treat and train astronauts both on earth and in space, and how the body reacts to weightlessness in both short term and longer timelines. Students learned about the challenges Dr. Polk and other physicians at NASA face with astronauts traveling long distances for extended periods of time, while striving to maintain healthy musculoskeletal function.