Wilderness Medicine Elective and CME Course

Department of Family and Community Medicine

The Family Medicine Department offers two scheduled Wilderness Medicine experiences targeted towards students and residents, a winter mountain-based experience, and a spring desert/scrub forest-focused experience.  This is under the guidance of Drs. Fiore, Islas, and Johnson.  Dr. Tony Islas is the past President of the Wilderness Medical Society.

Both experiences offer a unique educational exposure to the field of wilderness medicine. The winter experience combines a traditional wilderness medicine exposure with a winter focused experience that includes topics such as snow science, introduction to avalanche science and use of avalanche rescue equipment. During the desert/ scrub forest experience,  a broad range of topics are covered in the classroom and the field. Students prepare a first aid kit, complete a practicum, participate in a triage experience and must pass a final exam.

Emphasis is placed on gaining practical experience in an entertaining way. No technical skills are required (but may be gained!), and students are encouraged to share their own knowledge and experience in both experiences.

Examples of topics covered in the past include:

  • Snake Bite
  • Animal attacks
  • Respect for the environment and ethical considerations in the Wilderness
  • Avalanche Safety
  • Care for children in the wild
  • Pregnancy and travel activities
  • High Altitude illness
  • Hypo and Hyperthermia
  • Fracture stabilization
  • Communications and pioneering
  • Preparation for foreign travel
  • Dutch oven cooking