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Aerospace Medicine

Program Type: Non-hospital/non-clinic

Location: Dayton, Ohio

Accredited: Yes, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education

Program Length: 2 years

Required Pre-Requisite Training: Medical School Graduation and PGY-1 completion or completion of residency in another ACGME accredited medical specialty and a minimum of 18 months as a credentialed and practicing USAF Flight Surgeon

Categorical Year in Specialty Required: Yes

Total Approved Complement: 30

Approved per Year (if applicable): 15

Dedicated research year offered: No

Medical Student Rotation availability: Yes

Additional degree concurrent with training (e.g. MPH): Yes, Master of Public Health (MPH) or approved equivalent degree

Program Phone Number: 937-938-2744


Program Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Program Description

On Feb. 8,1953, the American Medical Association (AMA) officially recognized Aviation Medicine as a unique subspecialty under the governance of the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM). Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Air Force Residency in Aerospace Medicine became an accredited graduate medical education program on Nov. 15,1954. To this day, the U.S. Air Force Residency in Aerospace Medicine remains the oldest and longest running Aerospace Medicine residency program in the United States and has graduated 1,063 executive level leaders in the discipline as of July 1, 2024. Since 2012, the program has been located at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, and is authorized by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to train up to 15 residents in the AM-1 year and 15 residents in the AM-2 year, for a total of up to 30 resident physicians per academic year.

The U.S. Air Force Residency in Aerospace Medicine is a didactically rigorous and operationally diverse 24-month training program. All incoming residents must have previously completed a minimum of one-year post-graduate training (internship) and have operational experience as a credentialed flight surgeon (18 months or greater). However, additional experience and prior residency training/board certification in another medical specialty is common and highly encouraged. New physicians matriculating to the program are categorized as AM-1 residents. Second-year physicians are classified as AM-2 residents.

The training program is preceded by a month-long orientation and in-processing phase in the month of June. During this period residents will be issued computers and in-process with numerous entities as required with a permanent change of station. Introductory Aerospace Medicine lectures and rotation specific orientation by core faculty, adjunct faculty, and administrative staff take place each week, as well as introduction to flight operations requirements by the host aviation unit. New residents will also complete an accelerated Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) Basic course, including prerequisite online learning, and receive designation as an AME Basic with authorization to perform FAA Second and Third-Class medical exams during applicable follow-on rotations. A series of lectures focused on an Introduction to Civilian Aviation Operations (ICAO) also takes place each week to assist each resident in expanding their aviation experience outside of a military environment. New residents will also undergo a medical examination to receive an FAA civilian Third-Class Medical Certificate required for the flight training portion of the curriculum. On-boarding for physician privileges at the 88th Medical Group will also begin during orientation as well as the first of two in-service examinations described below.

In-service examinations (ISE) assist in monitoring resident educational progress and are part of the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Medicine residency program. Two separate in-service exams are utilized: an aerospace medicine centric exam administered locally, and an American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) Core Exam administered virtually. The aerospace medicine in-service exam is conducted in the month of June and the ACPM Core Exam is delivered in August. Residents will take the aerospace medicine centric exam three times and the ACPM core exam twice during their time in the program prior to graduation. Results of these examinations are provided to AM-1 and AM-2 residents and help monitor fund of knowledge advances during training. It is expected that residents will improve their performance beyond an initial level of competency over the course of the program and demonstrate increasing levels of knowledge and skill leading to board eligibility in Aerospace Medicine. Initia

l rotations during the months of July and August of the AM-1 year are devoted to ACGME required flight training for Aerospace Medicine residents. This phase of training is divided into two contiguous educational footprints. The first (Flying Part A) consists of an initial customized ground school encompassing many of the requirements for FAA Private Pilot certification. Ground school is immediately followed by flight training at the Greene County airport in civilian aircraft under Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 141 requirements. Initial ground and flight training is designed to take an ab-initio flight student with zero pilot experience through first solo, although solo flight is not an ACGME nor USAF residency requirement, but fully supported for those residents who wish to do so. The second phase (Flying Part B) consists of a second customized ground school focusing on instrument and multi-engine aircraft operations. Following this second ground school, residents proceed to ground based flight simulator training and then advance to in-flight instrument/multi-engine aircraft instruction. Both Flying Part A and Flying Part B training is conducted under FAR Part 141 which encompasses more rigorous FAA certification requirements and sets standards for a structured training program, syllabus, and curricula.

Upon completion of flight training residents will transition to the Principles of Aviation and Space Medicine (PASM) rotation. This primarily didactic experience is hosted at USAFSAM in the AM-1 classroom. Guest lectures from military, government, and civilian stakeholders are delivered to residents and represent an opportunity that provides unparalleled access to subject matter experts and highest-level leadership in the aerospace medicine community.

During late August AM-1 residents begin taking classes to receive a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. The MPH degree and Certificate in Aerospace Medicine are completed during the two years of training (AM-1/2) and coincide with required clinical and non-clinical rotations. Accomplishing this level of graduate study in conjunction with required clinical/non-clinical rotations requires a high level of dedication and commitment by each resident. During each semester of coursework “MPH Focus Periods” are provided to allow residents to study for mid-term/final exams and complete required coursework deliverables without rotation obligations.

AM-1 residents, per ACGME requirements must complete a minimum of 16 weeks of clinical rotations during their first year of training. The USAF residency program adheres to this requirement through patient-centered clinical rotations in the Flight and Operational Medicine Clinic (FOMC), Medical Flight Screening (MFS) at WPAFB, Clinical Aerospace Medicine (CASM) at Tinker AFB, and other local and away rotation opportunities. Additional non-clinical first year rotations include Military Tropical Medicine (MTM), Research and Reading, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Center (JSC), Biomechanics Seminar, Biodynamics Research Corporation (BRC), Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) Annual Scientific Meeting, and Introduction to Space (ITS 101) rotations. Additional scholarly activity in the AM-1 year includes an update to the USAF Waiver Guide and a Grand Rounds case presentation each year during the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) Annual Scientific Meeting.

Mission, Vision and Aims

Curriculum and Schedules

Scholarly and Professional Development Opportunities

Participating Sites

Applicant Information, Rotation and Interview Opportunities

Teaching Opportunities

Faculty and Mentorship


Contact Us

Aerospace Medicine Residency Program

Location: Building 840

Hours of Operation:

7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Phone: 937-938-2744

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