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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Canada’s quirky federal jobs: Meet the physician who takes care of Canadian astronauts Specific Instances

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‘If there is a medical emergency, in the event that they want something, the web connection on the area station now could be pretty good to allow them to name us at any time on our mobile phone or arrange a Groups (name) to debate the medical concern’

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There isn’t a devoted physician on board the Worldwide House Station to care for astronauts. So, when Canadian astronauts want medical consideration in area, they do what many Canadians do after they’re sick: use telemedicine.

On the opposite finish of a space-to-Earth telehealth video chat, you could find Raffi Kuyumjian, the chief medical officer of the Canadian House Company (CSA), and certainly one of solely two flight surgeons on workers.

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Flight surgeons are medical doctors chargeable for medically certifying, evaluating and supporting astronauts earlier than, throughout and after their missions.

Kuyumjian leads the operational area medication group.

“We’re concerned within the medical certification of the astronauts,” he stated, noting that astronauts want to finish detailed medical exams to make sure they’re wholesome sufficient to participate in area missions. “We’re lowering the chance of them getting sick throughout the mission as a result of our medical infrastructure may be very restricted.”

Although flight surgeons keep grounded on Earth, they do lots of the pre-flight coaching actions the astronauts do, like water and winter survival coaching. They go into quarantine two weeks earlier than launch with the astronauts to assist end up their coaching and do last medical checks.

Throughout the mission, Kuyumjian stated he’s chargeable for offering astronauts’ train plans and coordinating their medical testing, corresponding to bodily health testing, imaginative and prescient testing and vitamin assessments, additionally participating in weekly non-public medical conferences. The workforce coordinates weekly video conferences for members to talk with their household and mates and bi-weekly psychological conferences.

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“If there’s a medical emergency, in the event that they want something, the web connection on the area station now could be pretty good to allow them to name us at any time on our mobile phone or arrange a Groups (name) to debate the medical concern that they’ve or to assist out with the therapy of a fellow crew member,” Kuyumjian stated.

Medical evacuation again to Earth could be a chance throughout worst-case situations, although he stated that has not occurred within the 20 years of the ISS. “We’re very properly conscious of what the medical infrastructure on the area station is, what medicines we’ve, what medical instruments we’ve, so we will information them through telemedicine if you’ll in real-time on what to do.”

Kuyumjian can also be chargeable for getting ready for touchdown, additionally concerned in astronauts’ medical testing and rehab classes to make sure they’re recovering and getting their steadiness, energy and coordination again to pre-flight ranges.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: David Saint-Jacques faces lengthy restoration after return to Earth, physician Raffi Kuyumjian says

How does one grow to be a CSA flight surgeon?

After getting a bachelor’s in civil engineering, Kuyumjian stated he found area medication whereas doing his doctorate in medication, and getting the chance to intern with NASA.

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After commencement, there have been no jobs within the area of interest area medication area, so he educated in household medication and began working as a household practitioner in a distant space of northeastern Quebec. Throughout that point, he was capable of do programs on matters like area legislation, orbital science and rocketry with the Worldwide House College, ultimately being supplied a flight surgeon place primarily based out of Germany on the European House Company.

“I used to be capable of get the coaching that wasn’t actually supplied wherever in Canada and proceed to observe medication till a possibility got here up,” he stated.

After about 5 and a half years, Kuyumjian stated he got here again to Canada and was employed by CSA to work on Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s mission, later engaged on David Saint-Jacques’ mission. He’s now engaged on the Artemis 2 mission with Jeremy Hansen.

Flight surgeon salaries differ relying on a number of components, together with expertise and seniority, in response to Maxime Vézina Laprise, a spokesperson with CSA. The Authorities of Canada web site states that most charges attain $234,146.

Kuyumjian additionally works with worldwide companion colleagues and represents the CSA on numerous worldwide medical boards and dealing teams for the Worldwide House Station (ISS) and Artemis packages.

“It was simply lots of enjoyable to mix my technical background and training in engineering and the medical points of what I used to be finding out. I used to be form of hoping that someday I’d be capable to work within the area,” Kuyumjian stated.

“It is vitally distinctive.”

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