Department 33 Aerospace Medicine Residency

Dept 33 Aerospace Medicine Residency

U.S. Naval Residency in Aerospace Medicine

The U.S. Naval Residency in Aerospace Medicine prepares medical officers for board certification and a rewarding medical career. The practice of Aerospace Medicine focuses on preventive medicine: the study of disease processes in defined communities or population groups and the stimulation of practices with respect to these communities that advance health and prevent disease and injury. Upon completion of the residency, Aerospace Medicine specialists are expected to be team leaders in aerospace and preventive medicine practice.

The Aerospace Medicine Specialist

Aerospace Medicine (AM) practice is based on human factors, population management, and risk identification and control in the aviation industry. AM specialists guide aeromedical teams and analyze and direct health service support in challenging environments. Military AM specialists become recognized as leaders in operational medicine.

There are over 48 billets for this specialty in the Navy and the Marine Corps. These include carrier and shore assignments, administration, teaching, preventive medicine and occupational medicine positions. Many billets offer the opportunity to lead other Navy Flight Surgeons, a group renowned for camaraderie with their aviators and contributions to accomplishment of the Navy's missions. There are over 25 specialty billets in the Army. These include aviation brigade surgeon, regional flight surgeon, academics, research, safety, and physical standards. The brigade flight surgeons supervise over 46 battalion flight surgeons and find this duty to be extremely satisfying.

After military service, civilian opportunities are available in the aerospace industry, preventive medicine, and occupational medicine; public health positions at city, county, state or federal levels; in executive medicine; and in universities and for-profit or volunteer health organizations.


  • Graduation from a US accredited medical school
  • Commissioned in the US military, or eligibility for such a commission
  • Qualified as a Flight Surgeon (for USA)

Residency Curriculum

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited residency consists of three years of graduate medical education (GME) - an internship year, and two preventive medicine years (PM-1 and PM-2).

The internship year (FYGME) focuses on enhancing clinical skills. During the internship year, residents are encouraged to complete rotations in ophthalmology, otolaryngology, psychiatry, obstetrics-gynecology, emergency medicine and primary care, with particular emphasis on neurology and cardiology. At least 11 months of direct patient care in both inpatient and outpatient settings is required.

The preventive medicine years (PM-1 and PM-2) combine direct patient care, graduate level courses, and practical experience in administration of preventive health services.

Both PM years are completed with the resident assigned to the Navy Medicine Operational Training Center detachment Naval Aerospace Medical Institute in Pensacola, Florida and at affiliated institutions.

The Navy Experience

The curriculum emphasizes the practical application of population tools and preventive medicine principles in "Joint" aeromedical settings. The resident is expected to demonstrate written and oral skill in elucidating issues relevant to preventive or aerospace medicine. This is intertwined with didactic courses that introduce the resident to the core and specialty specific knowledge required for independent practice of preventive, aerospace medicine. It is a busy, intense time learning, writing, and traveling. A basic flight-training syllabus is included to develop aeronautical skills and serve as a source of clinical problems for the supervised management of those encountered in flight personnel and passengers.

Residents receiving residency training will complete an additional year of advanced clinical training. Satisfactory completion of the Aerospace Medicine program will allow such residents to complete advanced clinical training as residents in the US Army-sponsored Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) residency program, co-located at NAMI. Successful completion of the OEM / advanced clinical year will allow residents to achieve board certification by examination for OEM upon graduation.

The graduate level courses required during preventive medicine GME include epidemiology; biostatistics; health services management and administration; environmental health; and the behavioral aspects of health comprising the core knowledge for a Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree. In addition, graduate level courses specific to  aerospace medicine: toxicology; global health and travel medicine; principles of aviation and space medicine; and accident investigation/risk management and mitigation are required to complete the MPH requirements and qualify for board certification.

A PM year in aerospace medicine may include the following courses emphasizing practical application of preventive medicine principles:

Piloting fixed and rotary wing aircraft; Aviation safety; Accident investigation; Air medical evacuation; Travel medicine or global medicine; Hyperbaric medicine; Space Medicine; FAA AME course; Aerospace clinical specialties; Physical examinations & qualifications; Aerospace medicine clinic; Aerospace medicine research; Senior Medical Officer Development; Aerospace Medical Association Conference; Combined Aeromedical Problems Course.

A PM year also includes clinical rotations dedicated to patient assessment in occupational and aviation medicine settings.

The Graduate Medicine Education Selection Board for Aerospace Medicine meets in early December. Naval medical officers should apply as early as possible using information and application forms as published in BUMED NOTICE 1524 for the current year. BUMED NOTICE 1524 is published in the summer of each year. It outlines the application process and is available on the Web at the Navy Medicine, Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education Command (NM MPT&E) site. A personal interview with the residency director at NMOTC is recommended for all prospective residents. Current residents are available to discuss any questions about the program.

Although prior designation is not required, applicants with prior designation as Naval Flight Surgeons are preferred. Applicants must meet physical qualification standards for Naval Flight Surgeons.

Applicants with successful tours as medical specialists and as Naval Flight Surgeons are also preferred. Resident trainees without prior designation will complete the primary Naval Flight Surgeon course (leading to designation) within their assignment to the program.

Board Certification

Graduates of the program (upon completion of PM-1 and PM-2) will sit for the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM) certification exam. The board examination is offered in the fall.

For more information regarding application requirements and the test, visit the ABPM web site

International Students

Applicants from other countries interested in this course must apply for the training through their military service and the Security Assistance Officer at the U.S. Embassy. A prospective student must be sponsored by their country’s military or work for the country’s federal government. He or she must also meet proficiency requirements in the English language and attend specialized English training. For further information, please call (850) 452-2292 or email:

Contact Info

CAPT Joseph T. Lavan
Director, Residency in Aerospace Medicine Naval Aerospace Medical Institute, Code 33
340 Hulse Road Pensacola, FL 32508-1092
(850) 452-8125, DSN 459-8125 FAX: (850) 452-5194

CDR George Merrill Rice DO MPH
Associate Director, Navy, Residency in Aerospace Medicine
(850) 452-3691 or (850) 619-3300, DSN 459-3691

Ms. Carrie Moore
GME Coordinator
(850) 452-3154, DSN 459-3154