Wilderness Electives for Medical Students
Alabama Outward Bound School
The Alabama Outward Bound School offers a senior elective like no other. Our students will receive the industry standard 80 hour Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification through our affiliate, Longleaf Wilderness Medicine. Medical students will complete a wilderness skills checklist required of all Outward Bound Instructors. Our wilderness canoeing expedition is one week in duration and takes place in the famed Mobile Tensaw River Delta. Our course requires you to be in Alabama for three weeks, one week of the curriculum will feature on-line assignments through The University of South Alabama College of Medicine Sakai e-learning system.
WebsitesAlabama Outward Bound
Belize Institute for Tropical & Wilderness Medicine
Outworld Medical & Rescue Services is very proud to announce our association with the non-profit Belize Institute for Tropical & wilderness Medicine to offer you the finest and most unique certification programs in global remote, expedition, and independent duty medicine! Outworld sets the standards for cutting edge remote application medical training – the standards by which all others are judged. We are supported by the University of Nebraska School of Medicine (UNMC) in all of our programs & rotations, you will be trained & supervised by UNMC faculty; you will receive credit for student & resident rotations from UNMC! Accepts Medical students, Residents, Fellows, PA’s, RN’s, Faculty, Physicians, and Paramedics.
Please see application, as dates are year round
- Bruce Hagan, BA / EMT-P-MICP, Director of Education, Outworld Rescue
- Becky Abell, M.D. Medical Officer
- Keith Brown, M.D. Medical Director
Big Sky Resort, Montana
Elective at the Medical Clinic associated with Big Sky Ski Resort. Hands-on experience with treating injuries from skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and horseback riding. The clinic is also at 7,500 ft, thus altitude related illness is also observed in otherwise healthy travelers. We suggest you apply very early, as the waitlist can become quite long due to popularity.
- Dec- April = 5 students + 5 residents
- July – August = 3 students
- June – Nov = 2 students
- None in May
Carolina Wilderness EMS Externship
In operation since 2011 and is dedicated to training the future physician leaders of wilderness EMS, and trains two Externs each year. The program 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 to be.” The course is based in Burke County – one of the most beautiful and rugged areas of the eastern United States. The county includes Linville Gorge, South Mountains State Park, and Lake James with its 150+ miles of shoreline, including Lake James State Park. Linville Gorge was one of the first wilderness areas in the eastern United States (established even before the Wilderness Act) and is the deepest gorge east of the Rockies. It has some of the best climbing and hiking in the country, but is also notoriously treacherous and extremely demanding, leading to frequent rescues and extended medical activities. South Mountains State Park is the largest state park in North Carolina and a popular destination for admiring waterfalls, mountain biking and horseback riding, and also a frequent site for wilderness rescues.
September elective month every year
Cornell Medical College - Wilderness Medicine Elective
Offers two separate options with both a Fall and Spring Semester: A combined four-week Emergency Medicine/Wilderness Medicine Elective with 2 weeks in New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Emergency Department, and 2 weeks backcountry in the Adirondack Mountains.
George Washington University – Wilderness Medicine Elective
A two-week elective consisting of lectures, practicals, skillsessions, and scenarios intended to expose students to the practice of medicinein extreme environments. Students will have the opportunity to practice skillsand apply their knowledge in nearby wilderness environments during a multi-daycamping trip.
Held in April each year
Grand Canyon Clinic
This is a 4-6 week rotation for 3rd year residents (EM, IM or FP) providing remote urgent and ambulatory care for canyon visitors. Recommended to take place between April and August (highest visitor volume).
Sean Clendaniel, (928) 779-7245
Jackson, WY Emergency/Wilderness Medicine Elective
St. John’s Medical Center (SJMC) is a progressive, remote, rural 48-bed hospital facility, with a 5-bed ICU, state-of-the-art radiology department and surgical departments, as well as a 60-bed long term care center. Jackson Hole plays host to 3 local Ski Resorts, 2 National Parks (Grand Teton and Yellowstone), Class III/IV rafting, along with numerous square miles of National Forest. The local population of 20,000 provides the typical encounters seen in most emergency departments, but the unique location provides interesting cases of high altitude illness as well as unique trauma inherent to the local sporting activities (climbing, skiing, rafting, horseback riding, mountain biking, etc.). Our 4-week elective rotations are open to senior EM Residents in good-standing only.
8 slots offered throughout the year (Jan, Feb, March, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct).
Medical Staff Coordinator / Rotation Coordinator
Jody McGill, CPCS, RHIT (307)739-7514 (office)
Johns Hopkins University - Wilderness Medicine Elective
The Wilderness Medicine course focuses on practical approaches to emergency situations, illness and injuries, as well as teaching the basic skills needed to head into the great outdoors. We use a combination of morning lectures and afternoon practical demonstrations and group scenarios/exercises. The course is held for 2 weeks each Spring in a beautiful outdoor setting in the Catoctin Mountain Park in western Maryland. No outdoor experience required.
WebsiteJohns Hopkins Wilderness Med Elective
Maine Medical Center & Tufts University (formerly UMass) – Wilderness Medicine Elective
Three weeks (evolutions): These will include an alpine evolution on Mount Pfiefferhorn,a river evolution on the Colorado River or Green River near Moab, and a desert evolution in the Needles section of Canyonands National Park. Third and fourth year medical students, although first and second year students may be accepted to a wait list in advance. Apply at least one year prior to course dates. Approximate cost is $2,200 for 14 students, excluding transportation to Utah.
Takes place in April each year
Sara Nelson MD and Garreth Debiegun MD via the course website
WebsiteMain and Tufts Wilderness Med Elective
NOLS Medical Student Elective - Medicine in the Wild
The NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) and the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency (HAEMR) are pleased to partner for "Medicine in the Wild", an elective for third and fourth year medical students. Offered each spring, this elective utilizes an extended NOLS wilderness expedition in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico to offer an integrated curriculum focusing on wilderness medicine, leadership, outdoor skills and effective medical education.
WebsiteNOLS Courses and Sessions
UCSF Fresno – Wilderness Medicine Elective
This course is a great introduction to wilderness medicine. The first week is spent in a didactic setting, covering the major topics in wilderness medicine. In the second week, we head to the wilderness of the Sierra Nevadas to implement the knowledge we have gained to many practical scenarios, including basic preparedness, search and rescue, and wilderness improvisation.
8/27 – 9/7, 2018
WebsiteUCSF Wilderness Medicine Rotation
University of Colorado – Wilderness Medicine Elective
This is a two week hands-on course for 4th year medical students in the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The First week is spent in Estes Park, CO (just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park) and the 2nd week in Moabe, UT. The course covers broad range of topics in Wilderness Medicine. The class takes 6 participants per year, and takes both medical students and residents.
Please email for upcoming dates.
University of Michigan – Wilderness Medicine Elective
The Wilderness Medicine elective at University of Michigan includes approximately 37 hours of lectures are given by UMHS faculty and residents to the senior medical students, as well as guest lecturers from other departments within UMHS and other institutions. The course will include small group discussions of wilderness scenarios, formal lectures of specific topics and principles in Wilderness Medicine, and hands-on instruction in the field regarding pre-hospital patient care, evacuation, and survival. The course will include a multi-day camping field practicum at Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior that will involve patient assessment, treatment, evacuation, and field skills. There is a $350 course fee.
WebsiteUniversity of Michigan - Wilderness Medicine
University of New Mexico - Wilderness Medicine Elective
The Diploma in Mountain Medicine program sets the international standard for comprehensive training in mountain medicine for medical professionals. Nurses, paramedics, physicians and mid-levels will leave this course prepared to be leaders of complex technical rescue and able to provide medical care where resources and environmental conditions are extreme.
Two schedule options: Online + Seminar Hybrid
- 50 hours interactive online learning
- 9 day Winter + 9 day Summer Seminar, both held in the NM, CO and AZ
- CME and CE Eligible
Semester Based Course
- Weekly in class and practical sessions
- 15 university credits
WebsiteDiploma in Mountain Medicine
University of South Carolina - Wilderness Medicine Elective
The South Carolina Wilderness Medicine Course is now in its 14th year and continues to grow and improve. Open to fourth year students and residents of any specialty, the course involves several components including classroom instruction, outdoor laboratory sessions and a 4-5 day wilderness excursion involving rescue scenarios, canoeing, hiking, and camping. Fundamentals of search and rescue, survival training and wilderness emergencies will be practiced and reviewed. Plenty of leisure time is set aside for day hikes, rafting, canoeing, fishing, or just reflecting on the days adventures. By the end of the course the participants should have an understanding of the epidemiology, physiology and clinical practice of Wilderness, Environmental, and Travel Medicine.
Robin Dolge, (803)-434-3319
University of Utah - Wilderness Medicine Elective
This course is taught both on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and in incredible Moab, Utah. Will include both lectures and practical skills sessions with scenario training. Students will certify in Advanced Wilderness Life Support (AWLS). 2 week elective, but accomodations available for students requiring a 4 week experience (Ohio State, Michigan, others).
Dr. Richard Ingebretsen, (801)-554-2129
Website:AWLS Wilderness Med
West Viginia - Wilderness Medicine in the New River Gorge
Medical students and residents taking part in the rotation have a full two weeks of didactics and outdoor workshops, including participation in team activities in the WV EMS Competition, "The Battle in the Gorge."
The rotation is open to osteopathic and allopathic medical residents and 4th year medical students. It is co-sponsored by the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine and the Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling, WV. We have additional hospitality sponsorship from the WVSOM Alumni Association, the Southern West Virginia Health System, West Virginia Primary Care Association, and Lincoln Primary Care Center, Inc.
July 30 - August 11, 2018
Wilderness Medical Society
Designed for 3rd and 4th year medical students, residents, and allied health profession students from accredited schools. Held in the Smoky Mountains south of Knoxville, TN. This elective provides four weeks of instruction including:
- 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)
- All this and more in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park of Tennessee!