AMSSM Member Selected as Astronaut Candidate

By Lauren M Simon, MD, MPH and Sandeep Johar, DO, MS AMSSM member Army Major Andrew “Drew” Morgan, MD, has been selected by NASA as a 2013 astronaut candidate. Dr. Morgan is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He completed an emergency medicine residency at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington and his sports medicine fellowship at the Virginia Commonwealth University – Fairfax program under the guidance of Tom Howard, MD. Drew was practicing at Fort Belvoir, Virginia when he was notified that he would be the first Army physician to be selected as an astronaut candidate. He has been described by his military colleagues as a “stellar emergency physician, caring soldier and family man.”

He has served as an emergency medicine physician and flight surgeon for the elite Army Special Operations community and has served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa. In addition to being a graduate of the Army’s very challenging Ranger school, he is also airborne qualified and has completed hundreds of parachute jumps with the Army’s parachute team, the Golden Knights. In his spare time, he participates in ultramarathons.

Drew was selected from an initial pool of more than 6,000 military and civilian astronaut applicants. The initial group was narrowed down to 120 initial interviewees who were brought to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas for medical testing, language aptitude testing (since the astronaut candidates will learn Russian) and interviews. Fewer than 50 of the applicants were selected to undergo additional medical and aptitude testing including the extensive “long-duration spaceflight” physical testing, plus ultrasound and MRI imaging of most organs in the body. The group was then narrowed down to the targeted eight astronaut candidates consisting of four men and four women. The 2013 astronaut candidate class will train for possible long-duration missions of at least five to six months on the International Space Station and other space exploration. They will undergo two years of candidate training before becoming full-fledged astronauts.

We could not talk to Drew personally due to media silence during his training, but we wish him the best of luck in his training and beyond. He is an excellent representative of both the military and sports medicine communities.

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