Improving Emergency Response in Space

Improving Emergency Response in Space

The Neil and Elise Wallace STRATUS Center for Medical Simulation is being used to develop a training program to teach astronauts how to respond in space to medical emergencies.

One of the most comprehensive and technologically advanced medical simulation training centers in the world, the Neil and Elise Wallace STRATUS Center for Medical Simulation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is being used to develop a training program to teach astronauts how to respond in space to medical emergencies, ranging from cuts and bruises to heart attacks. Supported by funding from NASA’s National Space Biomedical Research Institute, Steven Yule, MA, MSc, PhD, director of education and research at STRATUS (pictured above), and the STRATUS team met with astronauts, mission control personnel, NASA psychologists, and staff at the Johnson Space Center in Houston to identify the skills essential for astronauts to respond to in-flight medical emergencies effectively and efficiently.

Based on input received, the STRATUS team, in collaboration with scientists from McMaster University and Northern Ontario School of Medicine, constructed a simulated medical bay that mirrors the environment on the International Space Station—with the only difference being the presence of gravity. The STRATUS team then filmed a series of simulated ISS responses to cardiac emergency, eye injury, pneumothorax, and toxic inhalation to use in training.

“At STRATUS we can simulate the medical events that astronauts may potentially face on a mission to Mars and save lives by replicating the space environment for training,” says Yule.

This article was originally featured in the 2017 Honor Roll, which celebrates donors to Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital. Check out more profiles of patients, clinicians, and researchers that illustrate the power of transformative philanthropy at the Brigham.