Institute of Aerospace Medicine - Doctor of Medicine course details

Do you want a career in Aerospace Medicine? A post-graduate degree in Aviation Medicine? The Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) an Armed Forces Medical College conducts a PG course in Aerospace Medicine. Here is a brief sketch of the course.

Aerospace medicine sometimes referred to as aviation medicine or flight medicine, is a discipline of medicine whose existence is not known to many. Aviation medicine has a clearly defined purpose and is designed to serve individuals employed in the aviation industry. The branch of medicine is specific to those working in the aviation and space industry, mainly, pilots and aircrew and even space travellers.

It is a highly specialised branch of medicine, for treating and keeping in check medical conditions that arise due to the working environment. Pilots and aircrew are especially vulnerable to medical problems due to the constant flying at high altitude, at high speed, with elevated cabin pressure.

The problems could be as simple as an ear block caused by cabin pressure to life support measures. Medical practitioners of aviation medicine are also involved in clearing pilots for flying. It is they who examine pilots and aircrew and declare them medically fit for flying. They carry out tests, study test reports and issue the aeromedical certification, stating them fit to fly. Pilots and crew, who do not clear the medical examination, are grounded, and not allowed to operate until their medical parameters are within acceptable limits. Aviation medicine specialists are also involved in air evacuation of seriously ill patients in countries that have air ambulances.

Understanding atmospheric physics

All air travellers are susceptible to the effects of flying, but pilots and aircrew are more at risk because of the frequency at which they fly. Long-haul flights ascend between 30,000-40,000 feet, and cabin pressure drops, as does the humidity level. There is constant exposure to cosmic radiation, acceleration forces and vibration, all of which adversely impact the health.

Yes, safety mechanisms are in place; all aircraft have oxygen supply, controlled cabin pressure and heating. However, all features supporting safe flights also have a failure rate. And every failure puts the crew in danger.

The objective of aviation medicine is to keep tabs on the specified risks, for those employed in the aviation sector. Pilots and aircrew have to undergo regular screening for any signs of medical conditions. The testing helps in identifying and arresting problems which can pose a threat at high altitude, hampering their ability to perform their duty. The aeromedical examination is essential for the issuance of the 'fit to fly' certificate. Pilots and aircrew work under high stress and have odd working schedules. They have irregular sleeping patterns and different meal timings and often eat at hotels, which puts them at a high risk of contracting lifestyle diseases.

The Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) – Bangalore

The Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) Bangalore, is one of a kind, with the distinction of being the only institution in the South Asian region, offering the specialised course of Doctor of Medicine (MD) in Aerospace Medicine. Therefore, getting admission into the PG course in Aerospace Medicine at IAM is considered a great achievement.

Though aspirants from India can study medicine in neighbouring Nepal or even go to Europe to study medicine in Ukraine or avail the opportunity to study MBBS – MD for free, in Germany, they cannot do a course in aerospace medicine, in these places. And, while we are on the topic of studying medicine overseas, here is a bit of information on funding your overseas studies. There are a number of scholarships for medical studies abroad that you can apply for. Apart from which there are special SAARC scholarships for Indian students that you will be eligible to apply.

The above is just for information, in case, you or someone you know are looking for ways of funding their medical studies abroad. Let's get back to the IAM. The institute offers the highly-specialised PG course in aerospace medicine and has well-appointed training laboratories, fitted with the latest equipment. Being a military establishment, you can expect the best facilities on the campus –

  • Night Vision Training Laboratory
  • Applied Physics and BioMedical Engineering Lab
  • Multi Place Environmental Chamber
  • Tilt Table
  • Lower Body Negative/Positive Pressure
  • ISOKINETIC strength training equipment
  • Dry Flotation Tanks
  • Altitude Chamber
  • Hyperbaric (Pressure) Chamber
  • High Performance Human Centrifuge
  • Disorientation Simulator
  • Anthropometry Platform
  • Colour 3D Whole Body Scanner
  • Eye Tracking Device
  • Spinal Column Analysis System

The faculty posted at the institute consists of highly-qualified, skilled, experienced and committed personnel. They are specialists in the subfields of their expertise, in aerospace medicine. As mentioned earlier, the IAM is a military establishment, hence discipline is a prime criterion. The faculty as well as the students display a very high level of discipline.

The IAM faculty engages in regular interactions with medical specialists from other countries, ensuring that they are well-versed with the latest techniques and scientific and medical advancements in the field.

The interactions are not limited to the international community of specialist in aviation and aerospace medicine. The faculty networks with people in various other fields, such as aviation pathologists, aircrew, aeronautical engineers, biomedical engineers, physicists, clinical specialists, psychologists and physiologists, etc., with the aim of understanding, developing and practising new medical technologies. Resultant of which, students at this prestigious institution get exposed to the latest methods and approaches in aerospace medicine, enabling them to become proficient at their job as MD in Aerospace Medicine.

The key credentials of IAM, Bangalore

  • The Institute of Aerospace Medicine was set up, in 1957, as the School of Aviation Medicine (SAM), a centre for aeromedical pursuits associated with the defence and civil aviation. In 1968, SAM was rechristened as the Institute of Aviation Medicine (IAM)
  • As the IAM afforded medical assistance to the Indo-Soviet Manned Space Flight programme, since the latter's inception, in 1982, it was renamed, yet again, in 1989, and came to be known by its present name – The Institute of Aerospace Medicine
  • Today, the IAM is an established nodal organisation in Aerospace Medicine in India. Furthermore, the institution has also gained recognition from the Russian and US Space Agencies. It is among the top-ranked aeromedical hubs in the world, despite there being differences in medical degrees across world regions
  • The institute is affiliated to the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka. The Medical Council of India recognises the PG degree programme offered by the institute
  • It is a co-educational institute and the only establishment in the South East Asia region, to offer a postgraduate course in aerospace medicine

A synopsis of IAM

The IAM is a leading institution of the Indian Airforce, under the Armed forces Medical College (AFMC). Each year ten meritorious candidates (this data is based on last year's intake) are selected for the PG programme in Medical Aerospace, at the IAM.

Admission Procedure and eligibility

  • To be considered for admission, candidates aspiring to secure admission into the Doctorate of Medicine (MD) programme, must qualify the NEET PG Entrance Test
  • To ace the competitive exam, join a NEET coaching centre
  • Even though the IAM is a defence establishment, civilian candidates are allowed admission, after an undertaking to serve as Short Service Commissioned officers, for a minimum period of 5 years. Alternatively, candidates who do not want to serve as short service commissioned officers, may pay a sum of money, (decided upon by the Government) before the course commences
  • Candidates under both categories must be in possession of a provisional/permanent registration certificate issued by the State Medical Council or the Medical Council of India
  • The maximum age for civilian applicants is set at 35 years

Application process for IAM

The IAM issues admission notice in leading newspapers, but the application form and details are available on the AFMC official website, details of which are provided under contact information. Applications have to be submitted online. Find details of application form, eligibility criteria, selection process etc., here

Contact information

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