Dr. Rob Riddell is a Flight Surgeon in the Operational Space Medicine Group at the Canadian Space Agency in St-Hubert, Quebec.
In this role, Dr. Riddell was Deputy Crew Surgeon for Astronaut David Saint-Jacques’ long-duration mission to the ISS in 2018/2019. He is also Medical Mission Manager for Lunar Exploration Health Initiatives, which aim to find home-grown medical solutions that will not only be essential to astronaut health on long duration missions but contribute significantly to the health of medically-remote Canadians including those living in Arctic communities. Dr. Riddell earned his position at the Canadian Space Agency after a top 4 finish in the 2017 Astronaut Recruitment Campaign.
Before dedicating his medical career to space-related endeavours, Maj Riddell served as the Senior Medical Officer at Joint Task Force 2 (JTF-2), Canada’s Counter-terrorism unit in the Canadian Armed Forces. In addition to advising Special Operations Forces (SOF) Commanders on operational medicine and ensuring appropriate medical support to SOF members while deployed, Maj Riddell was also responsible for their day-to-day in-garrison care . He also took great interest in the unique health issues of SOF soldiers, including chronic encephalopathy from repetitive minor traumatic brain injury related to blast exposure and long-range sniping.
Prior to embarking on his medical education, Maj Riddell served as an infantry and special operations officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, including 5 years as an Assaulter Officer in JTF-2. Maj Riddell’s military operational experience started with a tour to Bosnia in 2000 as a Project Officer. As a SOF officer he served in Afghanistan twice: once during combat operations in 2002 and then as Liaison Officer to the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Afghanistan (CJSOTF-A) in 2005. His service with JTF-2 during the Afghanistan campaign in 2002 earned him the Meritorious Service Medal. As a SOF physician, he served in Iraq in 2017, where he was part of small international SOF trauma resuscitation in Mosul. During this time, he participated in the trauma resuscitation of over 50 Iraqi civilians and security force members, working in a small house near the front lines under regular attack by Daesh. In 2014, Maj Riddell was also the physician for the Prime Minister on an official visit to South Korea and for the Governor General on a state visit to Columbia and Chile.
Dr. Riddell received his Bachelors in Chemical Engineering at the Royal Military College in 1997. He began his undergraduate medical degree at 34 years of age at Dalhousie University in Halifax followed by a Rural Family Residency at Red Deer Regional Hospital through the University of Alberta. He remains a practicing part-time emergency room physician, and is on staff at Cornwall Community Hospital and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (assistant trauma team leader).
Dr. Riddell lives in the South Shore of Montreal with his wife and 3 young boys. His pastimes include running, biking, cross-country and downhill skiing.