Wilderness medicine focuses on medical problems and treatment in remote environments. It includes aspects of physiology, clinical medicine, preventive medicine, and public health. While wilderness medicine shares many interests and methods with other specialties such as sports medicine and emergency medicine, it incorporates a unique spectrum of topics and distinctive perspective that validate it as an individual field of study.
This course teaches the general principles of wilderness and rescue medicine with an emphasis on the prevention and identification of medical emergencies, appropriate technology, and risk management.
The first part of the elective focuses on clinical knowledge. This core content will be presented using Blackboard. Clinical knowledge will include basic aspects of mountain medicine (high-altitude physiology and lightning injuries), thermoregulation and accidental hypothermia as well as heat-related illnesses, wilderness orthopedics, wound management, survival, zoonoses, nutrition and hydration, expedition planning, and a series of problem-based learning discussions on common medical and surgical situations in the wilderness environment, among others.
The hallmark of the wilderness medicine elective is an expedition in which students will have a chance to learn practical aspects of wilderness medicine as the medical members of a search and rescue team. This experiential learning activity can take place in different locations, depending on the time of the year and the schedule of expedition trips.