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America's first doctor in space honored by Baylor College of Medicine
Date:5/26/2011

HOUSTON (May 26, 2011) Dr. Joseph P. Kerwin is a recipient of an honorary degree from Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) for his "influential contributions to space biomedical research and space medicine." Kerwin, a former NASA astronaut, made history on May 25, 1973, as the first U.S. medical doctor to travel in space when the Skylab 2 crew launched. He spent 28 days in orbit as a member of the first crew to live aboard the Skylab space station.

Currently, Kerwin is a member of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute's (NSBRI) User Panel. The User Panel is a group of former and current astronauts and flight surgeons who assist NSBRI management, which is based at BCM, in determining high-yield research areas that will lead to effective strategies that enhance mission success and maintain or improve crew health. He also serves as Director Emeritus on NSBRI's Board of Directors and is a member of BCM's Center for Space Medicine.

"Throughout his career, Dr. Kerwin has been at the forefront of space medicine and biomedical research," said Dr. Jeffrey P. Sutton, NSBRI director. "Today, he continues to have an active role at NSBRI, where his medical background and long-duration spaceflight experiences are valuable in the Institute's efforts to protect astronaut health and improve health care on Earth."

Kerwin received the Doctor of Letters in Medicine degree Tuesday during BCM's graduation ceremony. Kerwin shared some space medicine insights after the ceremony. "Exploration medicine is understanding and dealing with normal humans in abnormal environments, and space medicine deals with the most challenging environment that any frontier presents," Kerwin said. "Our job is to understand it -- and ourselves more deeply -- and to protect our explorers from its threats.

"Deep space expeditions and landings on Mars and some of the moons of the giant planets, are in store. And perhaps some day, we will learn to do two things tha
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Contact: Brad Thomas
rbthomas@bcm.edu
713-798-7595
National Space Biomedical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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