FCM661MM.01 (Reno)
Wilderness Medicine

Office of Medical Education

  • Course Name: Wilderness Medicine
  • Short Name: FCM661MM.01 Wilderness Med
  • Course Number: FCM661MM.01
  • Location: Reno
  • Department: Department of Family and Community Medicine
  • Type: Non-Clinical
  • Length: 1 week (winter) 2 weeks (spring)
  • Preceptors:
    • Gary E. Johnson, M.D. (Spring)
    • David Fiore, M.D. (Winter)

Please contact the Department of Family and Community Medicine (775) 982-1000 (Patients)(775) 432-6672 (Academics) University of Nevada, Reno UNR 1664 N. Virginia StreetRenoNV89557 RenoHYBRIDUniversity of Nevada, Reno MS 0316 to verify elective availability.


  • The intent of the course is to prepare physicians to deal with medical problems occurring in areas where traditional medical equipment, laboratory and backup are unavailable.
  • It also provides tools for recognizing and treating wilderness related problems presenting directly to the physician’s office.
  • An emphasis is placed on self-reliance, abstract thinking and provision of care outside of traditional medical settings.

Description of Rotation

The Family Medicine Department has two Wilderness Medicine experiences. We offer both a one week winter session, culminating in a three day retreat at Lost Trail Lodge, and a two week spring session that culminates with a desert camping experience.

A broad range of topics will be covered in the classroom and in the field. Students will be asked to prepare a first aid kit, complete a practicum, participate in a triage experience and pass a final exam. Emphasis is placed on gaining practical experience in an entertaining way. No technical skills are required, and students are encouraged to share their own knowledge and experience. Students may attend one or both of the sessions for credit.

Examples of topics covered 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
• Safe winter backcountry travel 
• Decision making in wilderness environments 


Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer ($7.99 at UNR bookstore)

Others readings may be assigned.

Evaluation Method

The grade is dependent on attendance, participation, completion of readings and a final exam. Honors is available only through participation in all aspects of the course including the campout and a separate project which will be defined individually.

IMPORTANT: Grade is Pass/Fail. Please disregard the grading scale below.


  • Honors: An exceptional performance which exceeds all course objectives
  • High Pass: A performance which exceeds most course objectives
  • Pass: A performance which meets the course objectives
  • Fail: A performance which does not meet the course objectives

Special Notes

The Winter course in 2022 is being offered 2/7 - 2/13
The Spring course in 2022 is being offered 4/10 - 4/21