New Martinsville Native Serves On Shuttle Team
Dr. Kristy Johnson-Pich from New Martinsville had the opportunity of a lifetime to get up close to the recent NASA space shuttle launch as part of the astronaut’s primary medical team. Johnson-Pich and her husband, Fred Pich, are currently resident physicians at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida which provides the medical services for each NASA shuttle launch and landing.
On April 5 the 33rd mission to the International Space Station aboard space shuttle Discovery, STS-131 launched at 6:21 a.m. from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Drs. Johnson-Pich and Pich were up close for the historical launch and stated the experience was “absolutely amazing.” Themain responsibility of the NASA medical team is to manage any health concerns from the astronauts during the launches and landings as well as to provide emergency medical care in the event of a catastrophic event. Fortunately, the launch went smoothly and their medical expertise was not put into action.
There are only three shuttle launches left before NASA dissolves the space shuttle program and initiates a rocket program. This launch for the Discovery shuttle took eight tons of science equipment to the International Space Station and included three space walks during its 15-day mission. It also marked the first time in history that four women were in space at one time.
Dr. Johnson-Pich is the daughter of Gary and Janice Johnson and the late Alice K. Johnson. She is completing her last year of residency in Internal Medicine and plans to practice as a full-time Hospitalist in Dothan, Ala., starting in July. Her husband, Dr. Fred Pich, is from Dothan and is completing his residency in Emergency Medicine; he also plans on practicing in Dothan this summer as a full-time ER physician.