SMA Jeffrey Myers YIA

September 28, 2021

SMA Jeffrey Myers YIA

The Space Medicine Association (SMA) Jeff Myers (JM) Young Investigators Award (YIA) is a competition intended for those making their first major efforts into Aerospace Medicine Research.

To compete for this award, contestants must be making their first presentation of a scientific paper or poster at an AsMA meeting (excluding cases presented at Grand Rounds as a student resident) as well as be competing for the award the first time; they must appear as first author on the paper; and they must prepare and submit a manuscript for judging. The potential applicability of the findings to Space Medicine and the degree of involvement of the student in the project are major considerations. I would like to thank the members of the YIA committee: John Darwood, Lloyd Tripp, Cathy Dibiase, Pat McGinnis, Jeff Jones, and Steve Guyton.
   The finalists in this years’ competition, selected from 153 potential contestants, are richly talented and diversified (listed later in this article).

Bonnie Posselt, center, accepts the award for Kapil Ojha, who was unable to attend. Jeff Myers, the sponsor, left, and Charles Mathers, 2020-2021 SMA President, right, presented the award.
   The winner of the 2021 SMA JM YIA is Kapil Ojha, M.B.B.S., M.Sc., D.Av.Med. His paper is entitled “Factors Affecting Medical Incidents On-Board Commercial Aircraft, Including the Use of Inflight Telemetry/Cardiac Monitoring Devices”. This work is becoming more important to us as we progress in the commercialization of space travel to allow more individuals to experience spaceflight, eventually having passengers more similar to those routinely flying on airliners today. Dr. Ojha completed this work as part of his residency at the King’s College of London in the United Kingdom, where he was mentored by previous YIA winner (2011) Squadron Leader Bonnie Posselt.
   The first runner up is Marion Venus, Ph.D., a recent Ph.D. graduate from the University of Bern, Switzerland. Her paper is titled “How Professional Pilots Perceive Interactions of Working Conditions, Rosters, Stress, Sleep Problems, Fatigue and Mental Health”. These are important considerations in all pilots, astronauts, and passengers. The second runner up is Mohsyn ‘ Mo’ Malik, B.Sc., a medical student from Western University School of Medicine in Ontario, Canada, mentored by former YIA winner Adam Sirek (2013), who in turn had been mentored by former YIA winner Kat Garcia (2010) from Johnson Space Center in Houston. His paper is titled “Immersive Reality Use in Medical Education with Implications for Remote and Space Medicine Training”. Honorable Mention went to Semran Thamer, B.S., a third-year medical student at the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine and Space Medicine Innovations Laboratory, for his paper titled “First Void Urinary Calcium for Tracking Bone Loss and Kidney Stone Risk in Space”.
The finalists for the SMA JM YIA Award who were able to attend pose together with Dr. Myers.
   Additional Finalists include: Lt. Cdr. James ‘Magic Hands’ Walsh, D.O., a Navy Flight Surgeon employing osteopathic manipulative therapy in Jacksonville, FL; Capt. Jason David, M.D., an Emergency Medicine resident at Nelis AFB, NV, in collaboration with NASA Johnson Space Cemter and KBR in Houston; and Lt. Col. Mark Dudley, D.O., M.P.H., a USAF RAM at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH.
   Although the COVID-19 pandemic has continued with challenges during 2021, the Young Investigators of 2021 demonstrated remarkable resilience, embracing new techniques for learning and problem solving while laying the foundation for the legacy of a truly amazing new generation of Aerospace Medicine scientists. Undaunted, they will surely make their mark toward the challenges of space exploration. Remember, if you want to do more than just exist, you must have a dream. Dream well and make a difference.
   K. Jeffrey Myers, M.D.