Population and Public Health Sciences offers new aerospace medicine course

The Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine is launching a new aerospace medicine course. Its content will benefit undergraduate students interested in the fundamental sciences underpinning all things aviation and space medicine.

The course is called ASM1717 On the Edge! Humans and Machines at Extremes. The class instructor is Sheri Gladish, M.D., clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine and population and public health sciences. With Wright State University’s history of education in aerospace medicine dating back to the 1970s, Gladish will share that legacy and the potential held by a career in the field.

“This is the result of several years of discussion on how to bring the excitement of aerospace medicine to undergraduate students,” she said. “We wanted to offer a general science course for any undergraduate major as a very different science experience.”

Most people outside of the specialty do not realize that aerospace medicine is a subset of public health and preventive medicine. As a faculty member in the Boonshoft School of Medicine and the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences, Gladish can provide a unique view into this world. The COVID-19 pandemic and the projected return of launching astronauts from U.S. soil are both areas of interest and study in the vast field.

Students will benefit from the course by approaching science topics such as physical principles, anatomy and physiology. They will learn about extreme environments and vehicles capable of extreme performance. As an integrated writing course with a hands-on lab component performed at home, the course offers students multiple ways of being successful.

“From doing well on laboratory experiments to the task of making that information more personal by writing how the information in the course applies to the individual student’s interest, our goal is to build scientific literacy for any major,” Gladish said.

Students interested in aviation, space or medicine may have the most interest in ASM1717. However, it is designed for any undergraduate student, including those studying natural sciences, art, literature, history and beyond.

“We want to share the excitement of this unique specialty with others and hopefully pique interest in science, medicine and public health in students who may not otherwise consider them,” Gladish said.

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