Rowena Christiansen

Rowena Christiansen
University of Melbourne | MSD · Melbourne Medical School

MEmergHealth, DCH, GradDipDisasterHealth GradCertSpace Studies, ACCAM, MBBS, MBA, GradDipEd, BA(Hons), LLB. FAsMA.

About

42
Publications
11,618
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Introduction
Dr Rowena Christiansen currently works at the Melbourne Medical School, University of Melbourne. Rowena undertakes research in Extreme Environments Medicine, Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Emergency Medicine and Pre-hospital Care. Her current projects include space medicine, COVID-19 and seasonality, the role of the human appendix as 'friend or foe' and the long-term consequences of its removal, and first aid management of accidental hypothermia.
Additional affiliations
December 2019 - December 2020
The ad astra vita project
Position
  • Consultant
Description
  • I am the founder of the ad astra vita project. This tripartite pro-bono/philanthropic initiative aims to (1) develop a living online database of people engaged with space medicine and the life sciences, (2) provide an online resources portal for medicine and extreme and austere environments and associated disciplines, and (3) establish a space health consultancy, including education and outreach services.
January 2011 - present
The University of Melbourne
Position
  • Tutor and clinical medical educator
Description
  • Small group facilitator for case-based learning, clinical skills and professional practice tutorials and assessor/examiner/interviewer for prospective medical students. I have worked across all four year levels of the MD curriculum.

Publications

Publications (42)
Presentation
Full-text available
An examination of some of the current proposals around commercial spaceflight and a consideration of the potential for disaster on both an individual and organisational level. Current provisions for screening and training of spaceflight participants are also examined. The presentation finishes with an overview of some current space hotel proposals.
Presentation
Full-text available
An examination of some of the challenges and conundrums around the issue of human reproduction in the space environment. This must include both human rights for children and also child development milestones.
Presentation
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An explanation of the principles of mass casualty incident triage (following the MIMMS approach) and interactive case studies.
Presentation
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OUTLINE The topics covered in this presentation include: * Space effects on human reproduction * Pregnancy and childbirth in space - a new race of humans? * Gravity… or the lack thereof… - issues for reproduction in space * “Is there a doctor in the house?” * The rights of the child in space and extreme environments * Conception in space – space to...
Presentation
Full-text available
During March and April of 2020, Australian public health measures and community cooperation resulted in a very successful “flattening” of the COVID-19 case curve. As part of the Australian Ski Patrol Association’s winter 2020 “COVID-Safe” policy, it wished to investigate the risk of an increased incidence of COVID-19 in the cold and dry alpine envi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
(Original Research) INTRODUCTION: In order to investigate the three questions posed of what effects hypoxia has on pilots, why it is a threat even today, and what can be done to protect against it, a twelve-year retrospective literature review was carried out in the annals of the two journals of the Aerospace Medical Association: “Aviation, Space...
Conference Paper
(Original Research) INTRODUCTION: Traditional belief holds that the human appendix is a vestigial organ devoid of any purpose, and consequently, surgical appendicectomy has been the “gold standard” treatment for suspected appendicitis. Prophylactic (preventative) appendicectomy remains the policy of the Australian Antarctic Division for wintering...
Presentation
Full-text available
September 2019 updated version of the presentation "Space Tourism - is it a disaster waiting to happen?".
Technical Report
Full-text available
Letter to Airline Management - Should the airline establish an in-house medical department? (with special regard to hazards in the aviation environment and in-flight medical emergencies)
Preprint
Full-text available
In order to investigate the three questions posed of what effects hypoxia has on pilots, why it is a threat even today, and what can be done to protect against it, a twelve-year retrospective literature review was carried out in the annals of the two journals of the Aerospace Medical Association: “Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine” (Januar...
Poster
Full-text available
‘The special senses’ in the modern military flight environment - physiological and performance limitations and countermeasures. A five-year retrospective audit of articles in “Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine” from 2008-2012. 74 articles were identified dealing with the ‘special senses’ and/or military aircrew and aircraft.
Presentation
Full-text available
Does your appendix have a purpose? Can you prevent appendicitis? What are my options if I develop acute appendicitis (IV antibiotics as an alternative to surgery)? What are the risks associated with appendicectomy? Are there any long-term health risks? (yes), plus further questions and resources.
Poster
Full-text available
First Aid Management of Accidental Hypothermia and Cold Injuries -an update of the Australian Resuscitation Council Guidelines. This poster sums up progress to date with this project.
Presentation
Full-text available
Humanity’s efforts to journey to the edge of space and beyond have implications for disaster management which have not yet been widely considered. Space tourism has the potential to lie at the intersection between terrestrial disaster management and space medicine as it is evolving rapidly with little regulatory restraint.
Presentation
Full-text available
The quest for exploration is at the heart of the human psyche, and journeying to the stars is the ultimate quest. However, effective surgical and anaesthetic support will be an essential part of any human space exploration mission, so it is important to understand some of the key issues and challenges involved in this.
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Traditional belief holds that the human appendix is a vestigial organ devoid of any purpose, and consequently, surgical appendectomy has been the “gold standard” treatment for suspected appendicitis. Prophylactic (preventative) appendectomy remains the policy of the Australian Antarctic Division for wintering medical practitioners and...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Best practice first aid management of accidental hypothermia and cold injuries in the prehospital setting is relevant for disaster management in cold environments as well as for wilderness and expedition medicine, and space medicine. In the Australasian context, guidance is currently taken from the Australian Resuscitation Council (“AR...
Presentation
Full-text available
This was a 12-year retrospective literature review in the journals of the Aerospace Medical Association to look for papers dealing with cosmic radiation as a hazard in the aviation environment. Papers dealing with cosmic radiation in the spaceflight environment were excluded.
Poster
Full-text available
Scenario-based analysis of the principles governing aircraft cabin pressurisation systems, looking at a hypersonic aircraft, the Concorde, and a Boeing 777.
Poster
Full-text available
An analysis of Epstein CR, Forbes JM, Futter CL, Hosegood IM, Brown RG, and Van Zundert AAJ. Frequency and clinical spectrum of in-flight medical incidents during domestic and international flights. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care [Internet]. 2019. DOI: 10.1177/0310057X18811748.
Presentation
Full-text available
These are the slides from a webinar that I gave for WADEM in March 2019. This looked at the progress in the review of the Australian Resuscitation Council Guidelines on Hypothermia and Cold Injuries, and also gave some background on accidental hypothermia, and how this research might be relevant in the space medicine context.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Since the recent creation of the Australian Space Agency (ASA), there is an opportunity to create programs focused on aerospace medicine if there is enough interest. Through a nationwide voluntary anonymous online cross-sectional survey, we aim to assess the level of interest amongst medical students in the area of space medicine research and to ev...
Poster
Australia has a track record of collaborative biosciences research and contribution to the field of space medicine. With the announcement and development of Australia’s Space Agency, now is the time to cultivate closer ties and collaborative relationships with the rest of global space industry. This paper summarizes current Australian capabilities...
Poster
Full-text available
Australia has a track-record of collaborative biosciences research and already contributes to the field of space medicine. With the announcement of Australia’s new Space Agency, now is the time for Australia to cultivate closer ties and collaborative relationships with the rest of the global space industry. This paper summarizes current Australian...
Article
Full-text available
Editor's note Space tourism is a thing in 2018. Elon Musk says two people have signed up with SpaceX to take a trip around the moon, and Richard Branson has hundreds registered for a similar program through Virgin Galactic. But space and aviation medical specialist Rowena Christiansen won’t be among these volunteer travellers. Apart from the cost...
Presentation
Full-text available
This presentation examines what is currently known about the responses of the major human body systems to spaceflight and the microgravity environment. It also briefly looks at what would happen if a human was exposed to the space environment unprotected.
Article
Full-text available
Background The latest changes to resuscitation guidelines in Australia were released in 2016. Few of the changes will have an impact on general practitioners (GPs) but there are some additional issues that they, as health professionals and leaders in the community, should be informed about. Objective The objective of this article is to provide an u...
Presentation
Full-text available
Outline: NASA’s Human Research Program: Risks; Integrated Research Plan; Human Research Roadmap: The 33 Key Issues for Human Health and Performance in Space: ‘Toxic’ Environmental Exposure Risks; Human/Mechanical/Technological Interaction Risks; Musculoskeletal Impact Risks; Adverse Health Effect Risks; Food and Nutrition Risks; Psychological Impac...
Poster
Full-text available
Acute appendicitis is not one of NASA’s ‘33 key risks to human health and performance in space’, but the utility of prophylactic appendicectomy in long-duration spaceflight has been raised. There are Antarctic parallels, being required at times, and still in place for wintering Australian doctors. However, with recent advances in research it is no...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
With food and water security presenting one of the 21st century's key challenges, this paper undertakes an examination of potential space solutions that could assist in tackling this pressing issue. With a focus on application within the Global South, Sensing Progress is the result of a 5-week project involving 31 participants from 11 countries who...
Presentation
Full-text available
Abstract With food and water security presenting one of the 21st century’s key challenges, this paper undertakes an examination of potential space solutions that could assist in tackling this pressing issue. With a focus on application within the Global South, Sensing Progress is the result of a 5-week project involving 31 participants from 11 coun...
Presentation
Full-text available
Abstract With food and water security presenting one of the 21st century’s key challenges, this paper undertakes an examination of potential space solutions that could assist in tackling this pressing issue. With a focus on application within the Global South, Sensing Progress is the result of a 5-week project involving 31 participants from 11 coun...
Research
Full-text available
The set task was to select a ‘crisis event’ and prepare a framework for an evaluation proposal using a framework or frameworks drawn from published resources and to discuss the choice of framework/s and evaluation method. The selected ‘crisis event’ is the terrorist attacks in and adjacent to Oslo, Norway on 22 July 2011. A précis of the event and...
Article
Full-text available
Throughout history, humanity has looked to the heavens for inspiration and guidance. In the modern era, we look up to gain information and knowledge from the many man-made ‘eyes in the sky’ orbiting high above the Earth. These ‘eyes in the sky’ capture imagery of our planet from above. Earth observation (EO) satellites have been recognized as “cruc...
Data
This diagram sets out the complex web of issues which is thrown up by undertaking a risk/benefit analysis around prophylactic appendicectomy.
Presentation
Full-text available
Benivolem: a benevolent friend who cares for us New knowledge about the function of the appendix: Supports gut immune function; Supports gut health; and Reduces the risk of developing a variety of serious diseases; OR?? Insidiator: one who lies in ambush intending us harm Risk of developing acute appendicitis; Risk of perforation and abscess; and S...
Working Paper
Full-text available
To the casual observer, it might seem that the issue of prophylactic appendicectomy (removal of a normal healthy appendix to prevent the future occurrence of appendicitis) for expeditioners venturing into such extreme environments is an “open and shut case” i.e., no appendix, no appendicitis. A growing body of research prompts us to ask “is it real...
Presentation
Full-text available
This presentation looks at the current recommendations for the management of hypothermia and cold injuries based on results of a literature search for the review of the Australian Resuscitation Council Guidelines on Hypothermia and Cold Injury: Guideline 9.3.3 Hypothermia: First Aid Management published in February 2009; and Guideline 9.3.6 Cold In...

Questions

Question (1)
Question
Harking back to the days of the famous Dr Alexander Fleming and the discover of penicillin, what would be the feasibility of growing organically-based antibiotics in a petri dish on a spacecraft or on the Moon or Mars rather than (as well as) just taking a limited supply with us?

Projects

Projects (11)
Project
To examine some of the challenges and conundrums associated with achieving safe and successful human reproduction in the space environment.