|Elective Description: The UMass Wilderness and Environmental Medicine Elective is a true wilderness medicine elective taught in an adventurous and exciting environment. Our goal is to teach wilderness medicine through a combination of lectures and scenarios. Students also learn to safely operate in each of three environments: alpine, swift water, and desert. Medical topics to be covered will include: extrication, altitude, hypothermia, frostbite, orthopedics of the upper and lower extremities, lightning injuries, submersion, wound care, traveler’s diarrhea and water treatment, eye injuries, heat injuries or burns, and stings and bites. Education will be achieved by lectures given by both instructors and students (with appropriate instructor guidance) and by regular scenario-based simulations which reinforce topics as well as foster students’ abilities to consider multiple medical factors in the decision making process. A combination of expected and surprise simulations has proven to be one of the most beneficial parts of the course; past students have noted that this prepares them for internship in a way no other course has.
In addition to medicine, students learn about trip organization by assisting in planning for the medical and logistical needs of the group, taking into account factors such as group size, remoteness, experience, objective danger levels, and special needs of participants. Operational topics covered in the environments are: ice axe/crampon use, climbing techniques, avalanche awareness, topography/orientation, boat based/swift water rescue and travel, and drinking water management.
The alpine evolution takes place on the flanks of Mt Pfeifferhorn in the Little Cottonwood Canyon; camp will be made in Red Pine Canyon. The swift water evolution is held on the Green River in Desolation Canyon. The desert evolution takes place in The Needles section of Canyonlands National Park outside of Moab.
Total cost is $2000+ depending on number of students as well as other factors. Students are responsible for cost of airfare to/from Salt Lake City. Hotel and food while on the elective are included in cost except for meals between evolutions.