There’s white powder on your desk. Should you clean it up or call the professionals?
If you work on-site at Johnson Space Center, this scenario is usually one of the first situations you’re warned about. The white powder could be as innocuous as powdered sugar from someone’s donuts—or it could be something more hazardous, like asbestos that has fallen from ceiling tiles. Like most of the buildings on-site, the original clinic in Building 8 had been built in the 1960s, when asbestos was used in construction materials. In fact, the clinic first opened in 1965, the same year astronauts Gus Grissom and John Young became the first crew to fly the Gemini spacecraft. It was time for an update.
As part of JSC 2.0 top center goals, the Center Operations Directorate (COD) is working hard to build a new infrastructure and create sustainable facilities for the future and remove unnecessary risks like asbestos. The JSC Clinic is the most recent renovation, but it wasn’t enough to repurpose the old library building. COD is hoping the new clinic will be awarded with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold status. Sustainable features include clerestory windows in the roof to allow natural daylight to bathe internal areas and a subsurface storm water detention system that will store runoff water to be released into the environment at a controlled rate.
“[The new clinic is] a sustainable facility designed specifically for our uses that will support a healthy and vibrant workforce for many years to come,” said COD Director Joel Walker. “This facility, in conjunction with the Gilruth Fitness Center, our many jogging trails and management support for exercise and healthy lifestyles definitely supports the NASA Strategic Plan statement ‘People are our most important resource; without them, no mission can be achieved.’”
Fully operational as of June 11, the new clinic in Building 45N consolidates many services into one centralized facility. JSC’s Flight Medicine and Occupational Medicine services are now joined by the Employee Assistance Program and Behavioral Health to enhance communication between patients and the medical staff. The location of the new clinic was also carefully chosen to be closer to the largest concentration of JSC team members.
Available to all JSC civil servants, military personnel assigned to JSC, contractors and official visitors, no patient is ever turned away. However, preventative health services, chronic continuing care and injuries or illnesses not job related should be seen by your regular physician.
The clinic is equipped to treat physical ailments and perform work-related medical exams for astronauts, engineers, scientists and other technical and administrative personnel. Standardized but flexible exam rooms enable most diagnostic tests and exams to take place in one room. A new X-ray machine uses less radiation but provides better detail.
“We are getting more for less,” said Bob Martel, health system specialist. “You are the main benefactor.”
JSC’s “Clinic First” policy requires employees to seek prompt medical attention at the JSC Clinic whenever an injury or illness occurs on the job. During normal work hours, an advanced cardiac life-support ambulance is on standby to transport personnel whose injuries and illnesses, or personal health conditions, are best treated at an emergency room.
The clinic also provides Behavioral Health Services for employees and dependents struggling with health disorders, relationship problems, abuse and stress management. Counselors are available during normal work hours, and doctor/patient confidentiality is always maintained.
The new clinic is out with the old and transforming to better serve an evolving JSC team’s needs. You may not need them, or want
to need them—but they are ready to step in to provide quality care and an improved experience.
NASA Johnson Space Center
Located at Building 45N, the new clinic is in a more central location. Image Credit: NASA/Lauren Harnett
From left, JSC Director Ellen Ochoa, Bob Behnkin, Deputy Director Kirk Shireman and Associate Director Melanie Saunders observe the Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry scanner used to measure bone mineral density. Image Credit: NASA/Lauren Harnett
Clinic employees check out a new LED exam light used during minor procedures in the urgent care room. Image Credit: NASA/Lauren Harnett
The clinic’s existing X-ray unit was moved and upgraded to provide digital radiography.
Digital-imaging detectors reduce radiation doses to the patient. Image Credit: NASA/Lauren Harnett
Totally redesigned, Building 45N is environmentally friendly, brighter and more welcoming. Image Credit: NASA/Lauren Harnett