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). Winter 2023 will be 2/19 - 2/25; Spring 2024 will be 4/22 - 5/5
  • Preceptors:
    • David Fiore, M.D. (Winter)
    • Gary E. Johnson, M.D. (Spring)

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 winter camping or hut weekend, and 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. 

  • For ELECTIVE CREDIT only, students may attend one or both of the electives (winter and spring).
  • For the SCHOLARLY CONCENTRATION, students must do both winter and spring electives. Please meet with your career advisor to plan your rotations to not have overlap. If you have overlap:
    • Please connect with the appropriate preceptor to discuss options: Dr. Fiore for winter, and Dr. Johnson for spring
    • Fill in the add/drop/change form for electives and submit to Clinical Education office by the deadline

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 2023 is being offered 2/19 - 2/25
The Spring course in 2023 is being offered 4/22 - 5/5