JD Polk, NASA's Medical Director, on the Dragon, the Moon & Mars.

WEM founder Mark Hannaford chats to NASA Medical Director JD Polk.

'Its phenomenal, no matter how many times I watch a launch its never gets old, the butterflies in your stomach.'
Hot on the heels of the historic Dragon Capsule Launch WEM founder Mark Hannaford was given fantastic access to NASA's Chief Medical Officer JD Polk.
'The exact thermographic sensing that we use on planets is the same type of technology that we are using to detect COVID-19.'
JD has engaged in Space Medicine since the Expedition 06; 'I'm the single-digit guy having been involved in launches since Expedition 06'... 
The pair discuss exploration, COVID, collaboration with the private sector and SpaceX, plans for the Moon and much much more.
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Show Timings
0.50   Dragon Launch.
1.54    Being NASA's CMO.
5.44    NASA's collaboration with the private sector: the 'tipping point'.
8.40   What does Space Flight do for Earth?
10.48  NASA's designs for COVID-19.
14.24  Casualty Evacuation from Space.
17.07  Colonising the Moon.
19.11   Mars Exploration & the Artemis Program.
22.50  Solar Radiation and mitigation strategies.
24.26  Safer to be a male or female, young or old, astronaut?
27.10  New look spacesuit.
29.42 Questions from the WEM Community.
29.44   Exercise is crucial for the well-being of astronauts. Can we know more about current studies/thinking in this area and any pathways for Extreme Sports Scientists on MSc Extreme Medicine to become involved in the research?
31.57    How much research from the field of Geriatric Medicine is applied to preparation for Mars (with particular reference to post-war generation coping mechanisms/older population dealing with long-term isolation and loneliness on a daily basis).
Bit random but there you go!
33.46    Naming protocols for spaceships.
35.04   Daniel Grace; Would be interesting to hear more about this 🚀.
Ultimate Telemedicine: Expert helps treat astronaut's blood clot during NASA mission.
38.20  Rohan Sant; What medical advances can we see on the lunar horizon?
42.51   Sandy Greenaway; Application of Red and near-infrared therapy.
44.57   Indy Gregor:  Most challenging medical emergency?
Rounding off.
48.05   Busiest person in the galaxy award goes to JD Polk! 
49.00   Shout-out for WEM!

JD Polk's Bio.


Dr. JD Polk, DO, MS, MMM, CPE, FACOEP, FAsMA, is the agency Chief Health and Medical Officer of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) located at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. He began serving in this position in November of 2016.


Dr. Polk is the former Dean of Medicine for Des Moines University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. Prior to his work at Des Moines University, Dr. Polk was the Assistant Secretary (Acting) for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), assuming this post after serving as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Deputy Chief Medical Officer. Before coming to DHS, Dr. Polk was the Chief of Space Medicine for NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. He is the former State Emergency Medical Services Medical Director for the State of Ohio, and former Chief of Metro Life Flight in Cleveland, Ohio.  Dr. Polk is a Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians, and a Fellow of the Aerospace Medicine Association.


Dr. Polk received his degree in Osteopathic Medicine from the A.T. Still University in Kirksville, Missouri. He completed his residency in emergency medicine with the Mt. Sinai hospitals via Ohio University and completed his training in aerospace medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch. He is board-certified in both emergency medicine and aerospace medicine. Dr. Polk holds a Master in Science in Space Studies from the American Military University, a Master in Medical Management from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, and a Masters Certificate in Public Health from the University of New England.


Dr. Polk is well-published in the fields of emergency medicine, disaster medicine, space medicine, and medical management. He is a Clinical Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine.  He has received numerous awards and commendations including citations from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, White House Medical Unit, Association of Air Medical Services, U.S. Air Force, and has received the NASA Center Director’s Commendation, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the National Security and International Affairs Medal and the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal.

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