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Speaker Bio

A veteran of three Space Shuttle flights, Dr. Rhea Seddon spent 19 years with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In 1978 she was selected as one of the first six women to enter the Astronaut Program.


She flew aboard her first Shuttle flight in 1985, deployed two satellites, operated the Remote Manipulator Arm, and performed the first echocardiography in space. In 1991 she was selected to serve as a Mission Specialist on the first Shuttle flight dedicated entirely to the life sciences research, Spacelab Life Sciences 1, and in 1993 she was the Payload Commander in charge of all science activities on Spacelab Life Sciences 2. This brought her total time in space to 30 days.


After leaving NASA, Dr. Seddon served as the Assistant Chief Medical Officer of the Vanderbilt Medical Group in Nashville, Tennessee and as Assistant Professor of Medical Administration and Education at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine for 11 years. There she led an initiative aimed at improving patient safety, quality of care, and team effectiveness by the use of an aviation-based model of Crew Resource Management. She worked with LifeWings Partners, LLC which teaches this concept to healthcare institutions across the United States.


A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in physiology, Dr. Seddon received her MD degree from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis, where she completed her residency in General Surgery.


She was inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame in 2005, the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Tennessee Women's Hall of Fame in 2015.


Rhea Seddon lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with her husband and fellow astronaut Captain Robert "Hoot" Gibson and their children.

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