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NASA flight surgeon to speak at Paris and North Lamar high schools

Dr. Smith Johnston
Dr. Smith Johnston

Dr. Smith Johnston, Medical Officer and Flight Surgeon for NASA Medical Operations Branch of the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston will be in Paris on Jan. 30 and 31 to speak on Space Medicine: Terrestrial Applications for Wellness, Human Performance, and Longevity or Using Space Medicine to Help You Fulfill your Mission.

Hosted by the Lamar Delta Medical Society of Paris and Dr. Mark Campbell, Dr. Johnston will speak in a public presentation at 6 p.m. that Thursday evening at North Lamar High School auditorium with a public reception to precede at 5p.m. hosted by North Lamar AVID students.

On Friday, Dr. Johnston will address the student bodies at North Lamar High School and Paris High School.

North Lamar’s assemblies are scheduled at 9:15 a.m. for the 9th and 10th graders then at 10:15 a.m. for the juniors and seniors in the high school auditorium.

Paris High’s Health Occupation students and AP and dual credit students will hear Johnston’s presentation that afternoon. The community is invited to attend the public event or either of the two assemblies at North Lamar.

Johnston, from Woodstock, Georgia, received his Bachelor of Science in biology from Emory University.  He completed his residencies in Internal and Aerospace Medicine from Wright State University, where he received a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Medicine and was Chief Resident in Internal Medicine.

Dr. Johnston is a faculty member at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.  He presently serves on the Board of Directors for Houston Medical Centers Hospice and Palliative Care System.

He has served on the Advisory and Oversight Committees for the National Science Foundation’s American Polar Medicine Program, Washington, DC and has held staff positions with the Veterans Administration and Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston, Texas.

Most of his career has been spent as a medical officer and flight surgeon for NASA. Over the past 20 years, he has supported the medical care of the Astronaut Corps and dependents and numerous missions of NASA’s Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) programs.

He has been the lead physician for the ISS Emergency Crew Return Vehicle development and has supported over 25 Shuttle missions (12 as the Lead Crew Surgeon), including the tragic STS-107 Columbia mission.

Over the last five years he was the Lead Crew Surgeon for the STS-129 and STS-132 missions and the ISS Expedition 16 and 29 missions.

He is the Lead for the NASA and ISS Fatigue Management Teams and the Lead for the Medical Standards Health and Evaluations Working Group.

Dr. Johnston was recently appointed the Medical Director of NASA-Johnson Space Center Aerospace and Occupational Medicine Clinics and became the Lead Physician for the Johnson Space Center Wellness Program.

He has published numerous articles on operational space medicine and parabolic research on methods for providing Advanced Life Support and medical evacuation/transport in space.

Dr. Johnston is the recipient of numerous awards including the NASA Achievement Award for Crew Health Care Systems and X-38 Development, the NASA Space and Life Science Performance Award for Excellence in Assigned Duties, and the NASA Superior Service Award.  He was recently awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, in September 2012.

Dr. Johnston is Board Certified in Aerospace Medicine from the American Board of Preventive Medicine and a Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA).  He was the President of the Space Medicine Association in 2005 and the President of the Society of NASA Flight Surgeons in 2006 and recently received the Society of NASA Flight Surgeon’s Lovelace Award in May 2011.

Dr. Johnston received the highest award given by the Space Medicine Association, The Hubertus Strughold Award, in May 2012.

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