Residents in emergency medicine often find themselves working 60-plus hour weeks, living a circadian rhythm seemingly devised by Thelonious Monk, and living on a salary that is more satire than subsistence. And in the midst of these intense 3 to 4 years of training, they pose the question, "How do I get involved with Wilderness Medicine?"
Here is a list of potential opportunities for electives in wilderness medicine that should fit well with a resident’s time constraints and budget. Plan ahead, and any of these electives could provide a unique hands-on experience to supplement your training while placating a concerned EM Residency Director.
Grant Lipman, MD
Past Section Chair
This list was last updated in January 2017. If you know of additional elective opportunities for residents interested in wilderness medicine, please send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Program||Carolina Wilderness EMS Externship|
|Location||Burke County, rural western North Carolina|
|Dates||August-September (every summer for one month)|
|Contact Info||Seth Collings Hawkins MD, EMD, FACEP, FAEMS, MFAWM
|Open To||Be enrolled as a 4th year medical student or resident physician in an accredited medical school or residency program. DO and MD programs are both acceptable. Resident physicians must have or obtain a NC resident physician license prior to the first day of the Externship.|
|Other Requirements||See requirements section on website below|
|Additional Info||Website: http://www.hawkventures.com/externship/
Applications submitted online
The Carolina Wilderness EMS Externship is dedicated to training the future physician leaders of wilderness EMS. It represents a unique collaboration between a private company (Hawk Ventures), a community EMS system (Burke County Emergency Services), a community hospital system (Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge), a community college (Western Piedmont Community College), and an international research university (Wake Forest University‘s Department of Emergency Medicine). It differs from most wilderness medicine electives in that the emphasis is almost entirely on EMS activities, rather than general wilderness medicine. As such, the focus of the Extern is spent on learning the systematic response to and management of wilderness emergencies, rather than general environmental medicine and individual patient care. Particular attention is paid to hands-on and field training. Every effort is made for Externs to be learning their skills from actual field providers and in the field, rather than in a classroom from lecturers. This philosophy is exemplified by our motto: “esse quam videri”, or “to be rather than to seem.”
|Program||Racing the Planet|
|Location||Multiple races and destinations around the world|
|Dates||Variable: see schedule on website|
|Open To||Senior EM residents and fellows|
|Other Requirements||Fit enough to hike 10 to 20km and camp for 7 days; must obtain your own malpractice insurance|
|Additional Info||The 4 Desert Races is a series of 7-day, 250-kilometer footraces across the world's largest and most forbidding deserts including the Sahara in Egypt, the Atacama in Chile, the Gobi in China, and Antartica. Dr Krabak heads an international team of physicians to provide medical care for all athletes and staff.
Physicians with an interest in providing sports medicine care in remote areas of the world would gain invaluable experience on the care of endurance athletes and logistics for coordinating such care. Flight costs are supplemented, and lodging is paid.
See website (www.4deserts.com) for registration, and send a CV and 2 letters of reference to Dr. Krabak
|Program||Telluride Medical Center Emergency Department|
|Dates||Dec-Apr (every winter for one month rotations)|
|Contact Information||Daniel Hehir, MD
|Open To||Senior level EM residents|
|Other Requirements||Contact for specifics|
|Additional Info||A clinical rotation in Emergency Medicine. During ski season we see a high proportion of orthopedic related ski injuries requiring primary reduction and altitude related cases such as Acute Mountain Sickness and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema. Opportunities exist to work directly with ski patrol and search and rescue and to work with the Institute for Altitude Medicine. Telluride Medical Center is a level 5 trauma center located 70 miles from the nearest inpatient facility and residents will gain experience with the challenge and rewards of practicing in a rural but modern Emergency Department.|
|Program||NAHEC Grand Canyon Clinic|
|Location||South Rim Village of Grand Canyon National Park, AZ|
|Dates||Anytime (Apr-Oct are best), 4-6wks in length|
|Contact Info||Sean Clendaniel, MD
|Open To||3rd year residents in EM, IM, or FM|
|Other Requirements||Contact for specifics|
|Additional Info||Housing provided|
|Program||St. John's Emergency Department and Wilderness Medicine Rotation|
|Dates||June-Sept, Dec-Mar for 4 weeks|
|Contact Info||Will Smith, MD
AJ Wheeler, MD
Coordinator: Jody Holzinger, CPCS, RHIT, email@example.com Rotation
|Open To||Senior EM Residents|
|Other Requirements||Must be approved by your home institution and insurance must be provided. Housing must be arranged separately.|
www.tetonhospital.org St. John’s Medical Center (SJMC) is a progressive, remote, rural 48-bed hospital facility,
|Program||University of Massachusetts|
|Location||Fly in/out of Salt Lake City, UT|
|Dates||3 weeks during the spring semester. The 2012 Elective dates are April 28 - May 16, 2012.|
|Contact Info||Kerri O'Keefe
|Open To||EM residents and medical students|
The course is organized into three different parts or “evolutions”: alpine, swift water, and desert. In each environment we teach how to travel and live in that setting while maintaining safety and comfort. We believe that, in order to be able to care for patients in a wilderness setting, you must first understand how to care for yourself, to quote the pre-hospital provider maxim: “a dead rescuer saves no one.” We then learn about medicine that is specific to that environment via daily lectures by faculty and students (each student prepares and gives one lecture with faculty guidance) and scenarios designed to reinforce topics covered in the previous days.
Wilderness travel skills that are covered include (but are not be limited to): ice axe/crampon use, climbing techniques, avalanche awareness/avoidance, topography/orientation, boat-based/swift water rescue, and drinking water management.
Medical topics to be covered will include: altitude, hypothermia, frostbite, orthopedics of the upper and lower extremities, lightning injuries, submersion, wound care, traveler’s diarrhea and water treatment, eye injuries, heat injuries or burns, and stings and bites. There is significant one on one teaching as well as realistic mock scenarios that utilize students, faculty, and river-guides as patients which incorporate moulage and other tools.
|Location||Fruita, CO to Moab, UT|
|Dates||Annually in June|
|Contact Info||Dr. Jeremy Joslin
|Open To||EM Residents|
|Additional Info||Fly in/out of Denver, CO
Five days of remote wilderness fun embedded with dozens of happily exhausted racers, 148-mile stage race through gorgeous canyons, mountains, and deserts. Learn remote medicine planning, wilderness first aid, and gain appreciation for the working environment of expedition medicine.
|Location||Fresno, CA and Yosemite National Park|
|Dates||every other January|
|Contact Info||Lori Weichenthal, MD
|Open To||EM residents|
A month-long training program held every other January provides certification for National Park Rangers to become paramedics (technically referred to as Park Medics). This is the only training program of its kind in the country. Residents interested in training paramedics and in learning wilderness EMS are encouraged to come to Fresno to help run the course.
|Program||Madigan Army Medical Center|
|Contact Info||MAJ David Hile, MD
Hile_16@yahoo.com or David.firstname.lastname@example.org
(253) 968-1250 or (253) 968-3977
|Open To||3rd and 4th year medical students, interns, and residents (any specialty)|
|Other Requirements||No prior wilderness experience required. Cost is $250 for 3-week course (does not include room/board) + $1,800 for NOLS elective (all-inclusive).|
|Additional Info||This 4-week elective at MAMC includes trips to Mt. Rainier. Students will participate in a didactic course including certification in Advanced Wilderness Life Support (www.awls.org), multiple field training scenarios requiring teamwork and improvisation, practical skills workshops, simulation medicine, and weekly attendance at MAMC emergency medicine grand rounds.
This elective includes an optional field experience in the Olympic Mountains with National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Pacific Northwest, focusing on teamwork, wilderness medical skills and leadership curriculum.
|Program||Wilderness Medical Society and the Academy of Wilderness Medicine|
|Location||Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN|
|Dates||January 29 - February 24, 2012|
|Contact Info||Liz Edelstein (215-955-6844 or Lizzard0202@me.com)
Tom Kessler (email@example.com)
|Open To||3rd and 4th year medical students, residents, and allied health profession students from accredited schools|
Small group discussions of wilderness scenarios • Formal lectures of Wilderness Medicine principles and specific topics by leaders in the field • Field and hands-on instruction in survival and pre-hospital patient assessment and evacuation • Supervised five-day field-practicum incorporating medical assessment, treatment, evacuation, survival and improvisational techniques. • 48 hour Wilderness First Responder Course • Eligibility to sit for the Wilderness First Responder National Registry Examination (as applicable in home state) Educational Objectives: • Act as a medical group leader in backcountry or other remote settings • Advise a wilderness travel group concerning care and evacuation of ill or injured members • Plan for the medical support of wilderness and adventure travel experiences • Manage common illnesses and injuries in an austere environment with limited resources • Understand the physician’s role in search and rescue • Identify and plan for special hazards in a variety of extreme environments • Demonstrate basic competence in exotic travel and wilderness survival skills
|Location||Nepal and Nicaragua|
|Contact Infofirstname.lastname@example.org or toll free (888) 241-0710|
|Open To||medical professionals, medical students and non-medical volunteers|
|Other Requirements||Complete application at www.helpinghandsusa.org|
|Additional Info||Helping Hands Health Education is a non-profit organization registered under 501(c)(3) status in 1992, with the main objective of bringing low cost quality medical relief services to people in rural villages of Nepal through the help of Western medical and non-medical volunteers.|
|Program||Centro de Investigación en Medicina de Altura (CIMA) de Aconcagua|
|Location||22,841ft [6962m], Cerro Aconcagua lies on the Argentina-Chile border and is the highest mountain in Western Hemisphere|
|Open To||Undergraduate students, medical students, paramedics, residents, physicians, researchers|
More information can be found on the organization's website or facebook page.