Wilderness Division

 Wilderness Medicine Logo
Welcome to the EMRA Wilderness Medicine Division Homepage! (wildernessctte@emra.org)
Geoffrey Comp, DO
Ohio Health Doctors Hospital
Vice Chair
Charlie Duke, MD
Staff Liaison
James Bryant
Board Liaison, Ex-Officio Board Member
Geoffrey Comp, DO
Ohio Health Doctors Hospital

Our objective is to provide seamless access to wilderness medicine research opportunities, educational materials, mentorship, and wilderness elective experiences. 

We have valuable resources to help incorporate wilderness medicine into your residency experience and future career.

"As humans extend into remote reaches of the globe and large populations encounter environmental changes at an ever-increasing rate, this medicine of exploration, adventure, travel, and disaster response has become indispensable. While much of the medicine practiced in remote areas or under environmental extremes is “emergency” in nature, the field of wilderness medicine has advanced beyond the exciting rescues of extreme alpinists and survivalists. It has expanded in scope beyond the physiology and pathophysiology of medical conditions relevant to wilderness environments to include the practice of medicine in situations of constrained resources, during times of catastrophe, and often in impoverished countries during global humanitarian relief. Practitioners skilled in wilderness medicine have become rescuers and leaders noted for their resourcefulness and rugged practicality." - Dr. Paul Auerbach Mountain pic1
Interested in joining our division? Apply now! Leadership positions are also available. Interested individuals should contact wildernessctte@emra.org for a description of specific responsibilities and duties.

EMRA Wilderness Medicine FAQs

What is Wilderness Medicine?

Wilderness Medicine has been defined as the practice of medicine with limited resources in austere environments. It ranges from the initial treatment and evacuation of patients with acute injuries to the management of illnesses experienced by patients on long term expeditions. Its broad scope includes, but is not limited to:

  • Trauma and Emergency Medicine
  • Sports Medicine
  • Rescue and Evacuation
  • Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine
  • Disaster Medicine
  • Tropical and Travel Medicine
  • Expedition Medicine
  • High-Altitude/Mountaineering Medicine
  • Survival Medicine
  • Tactical Medicine

How can I become involved with Wilderness Medicine?

There are various ways to get involved with Wilderness Medicine at all different levels. You can earn certification such as Advanced Wilderness Life Support (AWLS), join a national or international organization, attend a conference, or even complete a Wilderness Medicine Elective Rotation or Fellowship. Start by joining the WM division today!

What certifications are available?

Whatever your skill set or availability, there is a certification for you. Here are some of the most common:

  • WFA – Wilderness First Aid (1-2 days)
  • WFR – Wilderness First Responder (1-2 Weeks)
  • W-EMT – Wilderness EMT (4-6 weeks)
  • AWLS – Advanced Wilderness Life Support (3-4 days)
  • FAWM – Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (WMS, 5 year time limit)
  • Other Sport Specific Certifications:
    • DiMM: Diploma in Mountain Medicine (WMS)
    • Avalanche
    • Ski Patrol
    • Rock Climbing
    • Swiftwater Rescue
    • SCUBA

Where do I get these Certifications?

Many are offered through the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS) or National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), or by other independent entities.

For upcoming courses and certifications, check out: nols.edu and awls.org

Are there Elective opportunities in Wilderness Medicine?

There are various opportunities available for both residents and medical students to participate in a Wilderness Medicine elective.

Do I need to complete a Wilderness Medicine Fellowship? What does a fellowship entail?

A fellowship is not required to enter the world of Wilderness Medicine. However, for those who wish to make WM a more substantial part of their career, there are several high quality Fellowship Programs across the country. These programs exist for the purpose of training the future leaders in the field and provide hands-on training and opportunities for research. Check out the map on our main page for a list of current programs.

How about Research? Is there funding available?

Every year new and exciting research comes out of the wilderness, with topics ranging from high altitude physiology to marine envenomations to search and rescue practices. The WMS offers several grants each year to qualified researchers, listed here. Also check out Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, the official journal of the WMS at wemjournal.org.

How can I incorporate Wilderness Medicine into my career?

One of the benefits of WM is that you can practice as little or as much as you like. Whether you just enjoy the outdoors and want a little extra training, or want to volunteer with search and rescue, provide medical coverage on an expedition, or make WM the focus of your career, there is a place for you. Join our mentoring program to be paired with a mentor who can answer your career specific questions.

This sounds awesome, where can I find a mentor?

We have various physicians and members of ACEP’s WM division who are eager to help. Also, if you are a member of the WMS you can navigate to the “Academy” tab on the wms.org page for a list of mentors in your area.

Upcoming Events in 2017

  • July 28 – WMS Annual Meeting & Summer Conference - Breckenridge, CO
  • MAug 27 – Grand Canyon Motorboat Adventure
  • Sep 9 – Yellowstone Fly Fishing Adventure
  • Sep 21 – Desert Medicine Conference
  • Oct 21 – Canyon Country Adventure - Southern Utah

For more events, visit WMS.org and click the "conferences" tab

Wilderness Medicine Electives

• Wilderness Medicine Elective Opportunities
• How to Develop a Wilderness Medicine Lecture Series

Simulation Materials

True wilderness emergencies are not an everyday event for most of us but as we strive to be prepared for medical complications in the wilderness, simulation can play a vital role in transferring our knowledge into skills and practical action. Four high-fidelity cases were developed by the Stanford Wilderness Medicine Fellowship and presented by the ACEP Wilderness Medicine Section at ACEP13 in Seattle. The case files have been made available by the Stanford Wilderness Medicine Fellowship and we encourage you to download them and use them in your respective programs or training organizations:

Case I
Case II
Case III
Case IV

Wilderness Medicine Fellowships


Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM)
• All health care professionals are eligible
• Sponsored by the Wilderness Medical Society

Wilderness Medicine Organizations

• ACEP Wilderness Medicine Section
• SAEM Wilderness Medicine Section
• Wilderness Medical Society
• International Society of Mountain Medicine
• Wilderness Medicine Institute
• Wilderness Medicine Associates
• Expedition and Wilderness Medicine
• Himalayan Rescue Association
• Explorer’s Club
• U.S. Park Service
• U.S. Army Research Institute for Environmental Medicine
• National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP)

Wilderness Medicine Mentorship Program

Click here to
send us feedback