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Wilderness Medicine Offerings


(May 2014) Continuing medical education: CU offers educational trips in conjunction with the Wilderness Medical Society to health professionals and lay people interested in learning improvised medical care in remote areas. Trips in 2014 include Nicaragua (tropics), Alaska (sub-Arctic), Moab (hut-to-hut bicycle), Costa Rica (tropical and marine medicine), Adirondack (canoe) and Canyonlands National Park in Utah (desert).

Diploma in Mountain Medicine: The DiMM is an international certification previously offered only in Europe that trains health care professionals in mountain medicine and rescue techniques. Partnering with the Wilderness Medicine Society and the University of Utah, CU offers four weeklong sessions that include travel to Washington, Utah and Rocky Mountain National Park. Physicians earn a Diploma in Mountain Medicine; nurses and paramedics are awarded a Certificate in Mountain Medicine.

Fellowships: Designed to develop leaders in wilderness medicine, this 15-month program based in the Department of Emergency Medicine at CU instructs fellows in altitude medicine, search and rescue, wilderness orthopedics and survival. Three months of the program are dedicated to a project. Previous students have studied tropical medicine and staffed the Himalayan Rescue Organization.

Electives for medical students: Fourth-year medical students can spend a week near Estes Park and another in Moab learning wilderness medicine essentials like avalanche safety, rescue and jerry-rigging basic supplies into medical equipment. First- and second-year students can choose an elective that emphasizes basic skills. 

Travel clinic: The new Travel, Expedition and Altitude Medicine (TEAM) clinic is operated by the Department of Emergency Medicine and the Department of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases. Physicians help travelers prepare for trips and provide care for travelers who return with illnesses. It includes the Colorado Clinic for Altitude and Mountain Medicine at the Altitude Research Center.

Massive open online course (MOOC): Jay Lemery, MD, section head of Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, recently was approved to develop a Global Health Responder professional training course emphasizing personal competency skills. “This isn’t just for physicians going into global health situations,” Lemery says. “It’s for anyone—people who are building sewer lines or improving infrastructure.” CU will begin offering the class through Coursera, an online course provider, this fall.   

Undergraduate courses: Students interested in entering medical school have a two-week opportunity to learn about emergency medicine. They spend a week in Denver riding with paramedic crews, answering 911 calls and trailing emergency doctors. In the second week they work with physicians in emergency scenarios in the Rocky Mountains.

Antarctic research support: CU’s Wilderness and Environmental Medicine Departmenthas been named medical director  for the U.S. Antarctica Program, overseeing emergency medical services for McMerdo Station, two research vessels and several field camps