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Health policy fellow to speak about international space station

ATHENS, Ohio (Aug. 9, 2005) -- Kira Bacal, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow, will lecture on the International Space Station's medical system at noon, Thursday, Aug. 11, at Ohio University's Irvine Hall, room 194.

After the medical philosophy for the International Space Station (ISS) medical system changed from one of rapid evacuation to providing care on-orbit, numerous changes to the ISS medical system were needed. Bacal, a health policy fellow detailed to the office of Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), will describe how those changes were identified, the challenges that went into implementing them and the current system in place today. She also will share her experiences redesigning the station's medical system.

Prior to being selected for her fellowship, Bacal served as the chief clinical consultant to the Branch of Medical Informatics and Health Care Systems at NASA-Johnson Space Center (JSC) and as clinical lead of the clinical systems support group at Wyle Laboratories. During this period, she helped guide the research and development arm of the Office of Space Medicine at JSC in efforts both to improve the medical systems currently on orbit and to design new systems for use on exploration class missions.

Bacal completed specialty training in emergency medicine and aerospace medicine and holds a doctorate in molecular physiology and biophysics, as well as a master's degree in public health.

The Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowships Program provides an opportunity for outstanding mid-career health professionals to gain an understanding of the health policy process, to contribute to the formulation of new policies and programs, and to develop in their careers as leaders in academic health centers and in health policy. Initiated in 1973, the program is funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and conducted by the Institute of Medicine.

The discussion is sponsored by the Ohio University Vice President for Research Office, the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology, and the College of Osteopathic Medicine. Refreshments will be served.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu

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