February 2015

Visit the Student Elective Website and Blog

The Wilderness Medical Society, and the Academy of Wilderness Medicine, in association with the Jefferson Medical College offer:

"A Standard in Wilderness Medicine Education"

Designed for 3rd and 4th year medical students, residents, and allied health profession students from accredited schools, 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!

Educational Objectives:

• Act as a medical group leader in backcountry or other remote settings
• Advise a wilderness travel group concerning care and evacuation of ill or injured members
• Plan for the medical support of wilderness and adventure travel experiences
• Manage common illnesses and injuries in an austere environment with limited resources
• Understand the physician’s role in search and rescue
• Identify and plan for special hazards in a variety of extreme environments
• Demonstrate basic competence in exotic travel and wilderness survival skills


The curriculum is structured to be academically demanding. It was developed by a review committee of nationally recognized faculty from the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS). This curriculum has been reviewed by the Jefferson Medical College (JMC). Each participant must query their own institution IN ADVANCE as to whether the elective, deemed credit-worthy by JMC, will be accepted by their home institution.


The curriculum consists of five units:

• Introduction to Wilderness Medicine
• The Human Condition in the Wilderness
• Special Topics in Wilderness Medicine
• Human-Wilderness Harmony
• Wilderness First Responder Course


The Grading system is Pass/Fail based upon a written, multiple-choice final examination grade of no less than 70%, a pass of the practical field exam, and completion of the 5-day Great Smoky Mountain practicum (hike). WFR course examinations are administered separately by Roane State Community College faculty in accordance with established guidelines.


Applicants must have camping/backpacking skills and equipment and should be in sufficient physical condition and health to complete a 4-day overnight field experience with a trek through the mountains (elevation under 8,000 ft) as a requirement for successful completion of the elective. 3rd and 4th year medical students, residents, and allied health profession students from accredited schools.

All US and international medical students in their 3rd or 4th year (senior years) of medical school, residents, and students in allied health professional schools (PA and Nursing) during the time of the elective (February 2015) may apply.

Application and Registration:

Registration is not yet open but when available, you'll visit the WMS Trading Post to make a deposit, submit your application and obtain other relevant documents.

Selection Criteria:

Demonstrated interest in the field, intent to disseminate/further acquired knowledge in future career pursuits, outdoor and wilderness experience, and an ability to work well in group settings. Diversity is encouraged without sacrificing applicant quality.

Space is available for 28 students. All applications received by October 1 will be considered. If slots remain open in October, applications will continue to be accepted "first come, first taken" until the registration is at capacity with a waiting list. Interested students are encouraged to apply.


Elective Director: Stephanie Lareau, MD  -  stephlareau@gmail.com 
Assistant Director: Rob Worthing, MD -  rmcworthing@gmail.com
Assistant Director: Erin Meyer, MD -   e9meyer@gmail.com
Out-going Director: Liz Edelstein, MD  - lizzard0202@mac.com


Professionals with academic affiliations interested in volunteering as WMS faculty are asked to contact the course directors.


WMS is a non-profit educational organization and tuition represents 'break even cost' for room, board, supplies, and faculty expenses only. If you represent an organization or individual willing to make a donation to help defray the cost of the course for students, please contact our Course Director.