Sean Roden

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Sean Kevin Roden (born 1965) is a NASA flight surgeon was the lead of medical operations for the International Space Station (ISS) from 2004 to 2007.

Sean K. Roden
Sean Roden.jpg
Sean Roden
Born Midland, Texas
Education BA, University of Texas at Austin; MS, University of Texas Permian Basin; MD, University of Texas Medical Branch
Occupation Medical doctor
Known for NASA Flight surgeon


Roden was born April 19, 1965 in Midland, Texas, the son of Midland oilman William (Bill) Roden and Carolyn Jones Roden,[1]

He graduated from Midland High School in 1983.[2] He completed an associate degree in paramedic technology at Austin Community College in 1985, followed by a Bachelor of Arts in kinesiology and exercise physiology from The University of Texas, and a Master of Science in genetics from The University of Texas-Permian Basin in 1990.[2][3]

He received his M.D. in 1994 from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, and completed his residency in emergency medicine at Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas,[4] where he was chief resident from 1996-1997. In 2002, he obtained his Master of Public Health and completed an aerospace medicine fellowship at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston.[5]

In 1994, he completed an externship with the "Royal Flying Doctor Service" and "The Australian Rural Health Service" in Yuendumu Aboriginal Nation, Northern Territory, Alice Springs.[5][6] After his residency, he returned to Midland, Texas, and practiced emergency medicine at Midland Memorial Hospital.[7] In 1997, he became an FAA medical examiner practicing from his family ranch in West Texas.[2]

He married Sonya Crump on June 20, 1998.[8]

Medical career[edit]

While serving as a NASA flight surgeon, he was a clinical assistant professor in Preventive Medicine and Community Health at University of Texas Medical Branch.[5][6] He was also a preceptor at Texas A&M Health Science Center from 2006 to 2007 and then as an assistant professor in 2008-2010.[9] He is on the Advisory Council for the University of Texas Permian Basin.[10]

From October 2012 to February 2013, Roden served as Medical Officer/expeditionary physician for National Science Foundation South Pole Station supporting station personnel and summer expeditionary away teams in the Trans Antarctic range, and was medical support during the race around the world and South Pole marathon events.[7][11][12] He was interviewed by Ira Glass on This American Life about his time at the station.[13]

As of 2017, Roden works for The Emergency Center at West 7th LLC in Fort Worth, Texas.[14]

NASA career[edit]

Roden was selected to the UTMB aerospace medicine residency in conjunction with NASA in 2000. During his time he spent three years at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia.[7] He was selected as deputy crew surgeon for Expedition 7.[5]

At NASA, Roden served as a back up crew member to Josef Schmid, for the NASA-NOAA NEEMO 12 (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) mission on May 2007. NEEMO 12 was the first time for NASA flight surgeons to be included on a NEEMO mission.[15] In August 2007, he also served as backup crew member to NASA astronaut Rick Arnold on the 13th NEEMO undersea mission.[16] Roden acted as deputy surgeon for the STS 120 Discovery shuttle mission and crew surgeon for ISS 10 A stage mission.[17]

In 2004 when the International Space Station ran low on food supplies, Roden oversaw the calories and nutritional intake of the astronauts.[18][19][20][21] During his time as deputy flight surgeon for the Discovery mission in 2007, he was the first flight surgeon to break news to an astronaut about a death in the family while in space.[22][23][24][25] Roden has been interviewed by Miles O'Brien on CNN's "American Morning"[21] Melissa Block on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered,"[22] and The New York Times.[25]

Roden's other NASA missions include:[2][26]

  • Deputy crew surgeon for Expedition 7, 2002
  • NASA/DOD liaison flight surgeon for Expedition 8 in 2003
  • Lead flight surgeon for Expedition 10 in 2004
  • Ascent and Entry surgeon for STS-118
  • Deputy Crew Surgeon for STS 120
  • Crew Surgeon for STS 10 A stage
  • Deputy flight surgeon and medical officer in C-9 Reduced Gravity Flight program from 2006 to 2008
  • Deputy Crew Surgeon for ISS Expedition 42[27]

Roden left NASA in May 2008 for private practice in Bryan, Texas.[2] In 2013, he returned to UTMB in his previous role as expeditionary flight surgeon supporting the International Space Station and NASA crew members.[28]


Roden has been issued the following awards:[2]

  • NASA JSC Group Achievement Award to the STS 122 Flight Surgeon Team 2008
  • NASA Superior Achievement Award 2005
  • NASA Space Flight Achievement Award Expedition 10 in 2005
  • NASA Superior Achievement Award Expedition 7 in 2004
  • NASA Individual Performance Award 2004
  • Special Space Flight Achievement Award Expedition 7 in 2003
  • Special Space Flight Achievement Award 2003
  • NASA Flight Crew Operations Directorate GEM Award
  • Distinguished Alumni Award -The University of Texas Permian Basin 2000


Roden is a Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association (Space Medicine Branch).[29] Additionally he is a member of the Wilderness Medical Society, American College of Sports Medicine, Society of NASA Flight Surgeons, American College of Forensic Examiners life member, American Medical Association life member, Texas Medical Association, Galveston County Medical Society, AOPA, and Commemorative Air Force life member, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and Experimental Aircraft Association.[2]

Published Research[edit]

  • Principal investigator on Periodic Fitness Evaluation with Oxygen Uptake Measurement[30]
  • Musculoskeletal Diagnostic Imaging with Ultrasound on the International Space Station[31]
  • Blood-Injection-Injury Phobia in a Commercial Aviator: a Case Report[32]


  1. ^ "Don't Fence Him In/Independent straight-talking environmentalist Robert McCurdy is on a mission to preserve a vital West Texas water source - and while he's at it, to tear down some fences." Freemantle, Tony. Houston Chronicle. June 9, 2002. Accessed Oct. 15, 2012
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Texas Flying Doctors website "Biography: Dr. Sean Roden" Accessed Oct. 15, 2012
  3. ^ "Former Regent, Art Collection Donor William Roden Dies." UTPB Publication. Accessed Oct. 15, 2012
  4. ^ "Emergency Medicine Residency Program Alumni." Scott and White Healthcare website. Accessed Oct. 15, 2012
  5. ^ a b c d Dr. Sean Roden: Curriculum Vitae." Texas Flying Doctors website. Accessed Oct. 15, 2012
  6. ^ a b "Wilderness medicine comes to UTMB." UTMB: The Newsroom. Mar. 26, 2007. Accessed Oct. 15, 2012
  7. ^ a b c Tang, Iline. "UTPB alumnus to serve as NSF Medical Officer." Midland-Reporter Telegram. Oct. 7, 2012
  8. ^ [Marriages in Texas website] License purchased in Midland, Texas. Index no. 084966
  9. ^ "June 2007 Newsletter." Archived 2012-05-15 at the Wayback Machine. Texas A&M Health Science Center Medical College of Medicine
  10. ^ "Advisory Council." University of Texas Permian Basin website.
  11. ^ "Alumni Updates." Alcalde. January/February 2013
  12. ^ "Meet the Doctors of Antarctica". 2017-01-11. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  13. ^ "613: OK, I'll Do It - This American Life". This American Life. 2017-12-14. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  14. ^ "76107 january february 2017". Issuu. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  15. ^ "NASA Announces Undersea Mission to Include First Flight Surgeon." Space Ref. Feb. 6, 2007. Accessed Oct. 15, 2012
  16. ^ "NASA Announces Next Undersea Exploration Mission Dates and Crew." NASA press release. July 24, 2007
  17. ^ Carreau, Mark. "Bush leads hero's welcome for astronauts." Houston Chronicle. Nov. 9, 2007. Accessed Oct. 15, 2012
  18. ^ Associated Press. "Space Station Pantry Gets Low." Los Angeles Times. Dec. 10, 2004. Accessed Oct. 15, 2012
  19. ^ Leary, Warren E. "With Food Low, Space Crew Must Cut Back." The New York Times. Dec. 10, 2004. Accessed Oct. 15, 2012
  20. ^ Dunn, Marcia. "Space Station Running Low on Food." CBS News. July 15, 2009
  21. ^ a b American Morning CNN Transcript. Aired December 17, 2004, 8:30 ET.
  22. ^ a b Block, Melissa, host. “Astronaut in Space Gets News of Mother’s Death.” All Things Considered. National Public Radio. Dec. 20, 2007
  23. ^ Associated Press. “Astronaut Learns of Mother’s Death Aboard Space Station, Cannot Attend Funeral.” Fox Dec. 21, 2007
  24. ^ Carreau, Mark. “For grieving astronauts, ‘no one prescription.’” Houston Chronicle. Dec. 20, 2007
  25. ^ a b Leary, Warren E. "Doctor offers assurances that astronauts won't go hungry." The New York Times. Dec. 11, 2004. Accessed Oct. 16, 2012
  26. ^ Malik, Tariq. "Space station crews prepare for changing of the guard. USA Today. April 5, 2005. Accessed Oct. 16, 2012
  27. ^ "Down to Earth: NASA Flight Surgeon Roden Home from Russia |". Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  28. ^ "Antarctic Adventure: ESP Physician Spends 4 Months at South Pole." Emergency Service Partners, L.P. Accessed May 2, 2013
  29. ^ "News of Members"[permanent dead link] June 2012. Aerospace Association website
  30. ^ Castrucci, Filippo, M.D. and Sean K. Roden, M.D. "Periodic Fitness Evaluation with Oxygen Uptake Measurement." Danish Aerospace Medical Centre, Denmark, Copenhagen
  31. ^ Ashot Ernest Sargsyan, Sean Kevin Roden (Co-author) Shannon L. Melton (Co-author) David Martin (Co-author). "Musculoskeletal Diagnostic Imaging with Ultrasound on the International Space Station" 77th Annual Scientific Meeting, ASMA 2005 Orlando, Florida
  32. ^ Roden, SK. Blood-Injection-Injury Phobia in a Commercial Aviator: a Case Report Aviat Space Environ Med. 2001 Dec;72(12):1138-40