Robert W. Sanders


Robert W. Sanders


Crew Health and Safety Flight Surgeon, Medical Director, NASA Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, Assistant Professor, UTMB Dept of Preventive Medicine and Community Health Houston, Texas.

Dr. Robert W. Sanders is the Crew Health and Safety Flight Surgeon on contract to NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. He is also Deputy Medical Director for NASA C-9 Microgravity Flight Operations. He is board certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine in both Emergency Medicine and in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine.

Dr. Sanders received his BA degree in 1990 from Williams College in Williamstown MA.  During college, he served as an EMT for Village Ambulance Service in Williamstown. After graduation, he entered the theater and movie industries. In 1991 he completed a Technical Intern program at the Metropolitan Opera Assoc in New York City which led to a job as Assistant lighting Designer for Chatelet Theater Musical de Paris in Paris, France, and theatrical studies in Japan. He would later become a teacher of theater and art for grades 4-12 in North Hollywood, CA.

His studio experience is extensive.  He served as a medic for 12 films, 10 television series, and 30+ TV short runs. He was Technical Advisor for The Pretender: Under the Reds, Charlie Seibert, Director, Pretender Productions, Inc. His passion for diving continued to grow and his dive experience was needed for 5 movies:

Stuart Little, Columbia Pictures – Divemaster / Water Safety Coordinator

Significant Others, High Productions / Sony Pictures – Lifeguard / Dive Safety

Godzilla, Big Fin & Sightline Productions / Sony Pictures – Divemaster / Water Safety

Two Came Back, Zodiac Productions. – Divemaster

Journey of the Heart, Sane Productions/ Longbow Productions – Water Safety Coordinator

Dr. Sanders medical career began as an E.M.T. and National Ski Patrol member, then evolved into the hyperbaric field in 1993 where he worked as a technician and eventually as a supervisor at the USC/Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber.  During 4 seasons in the 1990s he was an Antarctic Research Diver/Field Safety Officer for the New York State Dept. of Health at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.  As a Dive Medic, he was responsible for individual health, and team safety as they collected macro organisms from sediment in 100-foot depths of 28˚F water below 12 ft of ice.

Wanting to learn more, Dr. Sanders received his medical degree from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in 2005. He became board certified in Emergency Medicine after completing the University of Pittsburgh Residency in Emergency Medicine, and a year later achieved board certification in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine.

Currently, Dr. Sanders is is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch, and a Crew Health and Safety Flight Surgeon on contract to NASA. He focusses his efforts on Diving Medicine at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston Texas where he was recently appointed Medical Director. He has served as the Medical Director for the American Hyperbaric Centers, and the American Marine Services Group in Anchorage Alaska, and also as an Attending Emergency Physician. Prior to coming to AHC, he was a Medical Officer at the University of Hawaii JABSOM’s Hyperbaric Treatment Center in Honolulu. During his residency, he served as Medical Advisor for Pittsburgh River Rescue, in Pittsburgh, PA.  He also served as Flight Physician for Stat MedEvac, Pittsburgh, PA, providing field based helicopter flight physician support for both scene runs and inter-facility critical care transfers.

He continues to be a recreational, technical and scientific diver He has professional experience conducting shark diving & tagging operations, and as a first aid person and waster safety coordinator in hollywood.  He also spent 8 years diving with the LA County Sheriff’s office where he participated in the search and recovery of evidence.  He is a recognized educator in emergency medicine, hyperbaric medicine and diving medicine.  He has 13 medical and scientific publications and 6 diving publications. He has given numerous presentations in emergency medicine, hyperbaric medicine and diving medicine, including scientific 12 poster presentations.

Awards & Honors include:

  • Recipient of Wyle Individual Bravo Award August 2015, Wyle’s most prestigious employee award.
  • Recipient of Edgar M. End, MD Memorial Award, UHMS Gulf Coast Chapter, August 20, 2011.
  • 2nd Place winner, 2008 William Spivey Research Competition, PaACEP annual Scientific Assembly
  • Finalist, Young Investigators Award Competition, AsMA annual Meeting, May 2006.
  • Elected to the Gold Humanism Honor Society, August 2004.
  • Recipient of the Antarctic Service Medal of the United States,1991.