SECTION MENU

Klinker Award: Benjamin Johansen

September 03, 2021

Klinker Award: Benjamin Johansen

Established by the Flight Nurse Section in 1968, this award became an official AsMA award in 1972. In 1978 it was renamed in memory of Mary T. Klinker, who was killed in a C-5A crash while performing a humanitarian mission. The award is given annually to recognize significant contributions to, or achievements in, the field of aeromedical evacuation. Sponsored by ZOLL Medical Corporation.

Benjamin Johansen, M.D., M.P.H., was the 2021 recipient of the Mary T. Klinker Award for his research efforts dedicated to addressing use of thoracic ultrasound to evaluate aeromedical injury prior to evacuation in the case of commercial spaceflight mishap. His study into novel sonographic approaches to triage and examination of commercial spaceflight participants following a mishap has the potential to improve pre-evacuation triage, advance field medical support, and provide insight for aeromedical evacuation to appropriate tertiary care. He has spent the last 2 years in an exhaustive review of the literature about and technique required for ultrasound evaluations, gathering knowledge and understanding from those at the forefront of the field.
   Dr. Johansen graduated in 2011 from the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine at Midwestern University. Following medical school, he completed Internal Medicine residency training at Banner University Medical Center and Carl T. Hayden VA in Phoenix, AZ, in 2014. He went on to complete a second residency in Aerospace Medicine, as well as a Master’s of Public Health at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in 2016. During his Aerospace Medicine training, he completed the Air Force Aerospace Medicine Primary Course, earning Air Force Flight Surgeon Wings. For 6 weeks he provided medical care in Antarctica at both McMurdo and South Pole Stations. He completed a 1-month rotation at SpaceX, where he learned about suit thermal systems. He also completed the Joint Enroute Care Course at Ft. Rucker, AL, in which he trained to provide helicopter transport for wounded patients. In his final months of residency training, he was hired as a NASA Flight Surgeon to support medical operations. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Aerospace Medicine.
   Dr. Johansen has completed three deployments to Star City, Russia, in support of astronaut training. During his time there, he provided medical support for Soyuz simulations, centrifuge runs, and pressurized suit checks. He served as Deputy Crew Surgeon for Expedition 53/54 and Expedition 58/59, providing medical care to NASA astronauts during 6-month missions to the International Space Station. He served as the Program Medical Officer for the NASA Commercial Crew Program, overseeing a team of 12 flight surgeons working SpaceX and Boeing missions to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. Working from SpaceX mission control, he provided medical care to NASA astronauts onboard the SpaceX Demo-2 Dragon Capsule that successfully landed off the Florida coast August 2, 2020. He is currently assigned as the lead Flight Surgeon for the NASA/SpaceX Crew-1 mission that launched November 15, 2020.
   In addition to his NASA duties, Dr. Johansen continues to work regular urgent care shifts at UTMB and works as a Flight Surgeon in the Air Force Reserves assigned to the 45th Operations Group Detachment 3 at Patrick Space Force Base, FL. He is a member of the American College of Physicians, Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA), Space Medicine Association, and the Society of NASA Flight Surgeons. His honors and awards include the Arizona State Legislature’s Doctor of the Day, Internal Medicine Annual Best Team Player Award, the Jeffrey R. Davis, M.D., Aerospace Medicine Endowed Scholarship from AsMA, and the William K. Douglas Aerospace Medicine Award.