Rescue in the Appalachians: Students in Wilderness Medicine Course

The UVA School of Medicine offers a unique course in Wilderness Medicine which includes real life rescue simulations, such as rescuing a fallen, unresponsive hiker from the Appalachian Mountains, as shown in the video below:

The course is 2 weeks in length, including 8 days devoted to classroom and daily workshop activities and 3 days devoted to the final practicum. Students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in the daily workshops and in the 3-day practicum at the conclusion of the rotation which consist of a wilderness excursion to the Shenandoah National Park or George Washington National Forest.

Learn more from the Wilderness Medicine Course in the Division of Medical Toxicology in the Department of Emergency Medicine.

About the Elective in Wilderness Medicine

Wilderness Medicine focuses on the care of patients in remote environments lacking typical health care facility resources. This intensive course introduces students to the epidemiology, pathophysiology and clinical practice of Wilderness Medicine.

  • This course focuses on the unique diagnosis associated with Wilderness Medicine and the challenges of managing medical problems in environments with limited resources under harsh conditions.
  • The course is taught using traditional lectures, human simulation, course reading assignments, and multiple practical workshops.
  • Topics  discussed include diseases associated with ingestion of poisonous plants and mushrooms, animal envenomations, high altitude and undersea environments, heat and cold extremes.
  • Survival techniques are reviewed and land/water navigation using compasses and stars is also reviewed by trained experts in the field.
  • Students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in both the daily workshops and in the 3-day practicum at the conclusion of the rotation which consists of a wilderness excursion to the Shenandoah National Park or George Washington National Forrest.

The course is designed to be a total of 2 weeks in length with 8 days devoted to classroom and daily workshop activities and 3 days devoted to the final practicum. Student grades are based on classroom and workshop attendance as well as both a written and practical final exam completed at the end of the rotation.

Video:  Harry Moxley

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