How to develop a WM lecture series in your region

How to develop a wilderness medicine lecture series for your region


EMRA Wilderness Medicine PPT

Katie Saxon, Mark Christensen

Wilderness Medicine involves providing medical care in a low-resource environment and is a growing field in medicine.  In the Midwest region, there are few opportunities to become involved with wilderness medicine education and much of the valuable learning in the field comes through collaboration.  In an effort to embrace this collaborative spirit, emergency medicine residents in Michigan have established the Wilderness Medicine Quarterly Lecture Rounds. This is a consortium between wilderness medicine groups at residency programs in Michigan. The goal is to provide a continuing source of quality wilderness medicine education and an opportunity to connect and work with other like-minded people.

Each quarter, a wilderness medicine day consisting of lectures and hands-on activities, is hosted at one of the residency programs.  The lectures are based in part on the core topics established by the Wilderness Medical Society’s Fellowship of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM) curriculum.  The learning techniques incorporated in these courses combines multiple elements, including traditional lectures, small-groups with hands-on practice, and simulation scenarios in an outdoor environment.  A small group of residents coordinates these days with assistance from their residency’s administrative staff, and it may be best to appoint one or two persons with this responsibility.

To establish this in your region, follow these steps.  First, choose a series of lectures based on the Wilderness Medical Society’s FAWM curriculum.  To offer FAWM credit for the lectures given, there is a $200 fee to pay through the WMS.  This is a cost that could be covered by each participating institution in your region.  You may consider including topics that are not frequently offered at other conferences.  For example, most wilderness medicine conferences include a session on altitude medicine.  Consider less frequently presented topics, such as STDs in the Wilderness or seafood-related toxins.

Next, schedule a date and location for the lecture series ideally more than 2 months in advance so that residents may include the date in their schedule requests.  Recruit residents and faculty from various programs to lecture on the specific topics, and if needed, provide objectives and guidelines for the lecture.  Using the SAEM or another database, advertise the program by contacting program directors and coordinators in your region.  Also consider posting this on websites or other forums, but specifying that the goal audience is residents.  

On the lecture day, consider adding in additional events, such as an outdoor recreational activity.  Each person obtaining FAWM credits will require a certificate to submit to the WMS.

At the first meeting which took place on October 22, 2012, at the University of Michigan, residents, students and faculty from several institutions across the region were in attendance.  Lectures on wilderness dentistry, envenomations, high altitude illness and water procurement were presented by attendings and residents from the various residency programs in the morning and a course on land navigation and orienteering was held that afternoon.  Subsequent lecture series days have taken place at Western Michigan University and Detroit Medical Center and each time, new residents attend.

We are excited for the prospects of this venture and are confident that it will be a valuable learning tool for those involved in wilderness medicine to improve their skills and knowledge while also providing a way for those new to the field to get involved.

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