Welcome to the Academy of Wilderness Medicine


The commitment of the WMS to embrace academic excellence and to deliver innovative services to its members shines through in this dramatic initiative. The Academy of Wilderness Medicine ties together the various aspects of wilderness medicine academia and the Society’s unique member services in new and creative ways.

The Academy is a modular system of adult education that organizes the broad range of information in the discipline of Wilderness Medicine. It delivers them in a professionally packaged, standardized fashion according to modern concepts of medical education using objectives as the basis for learning experiences and outcomes evaluation where appropriate.

The backbone of the Academy is its core curriculum. This repository of Wilderness Medicine topics is standardized for content and format. While organizing the delivery of WM information to our members, the curriculum is designed for growth and employs a flexible cataloguing system to track both lessons and learners. The curriculum is intended to serve all Society educational activities through program design, curriculum review, lesson and topic materials, and outcomes assessment products. It encompasses written syllabus materials with accompanying lesson objectives, electronic presentations, as well as testing vehicles.

The most visible of the Academy’s modular programs, and the one that promises to be the most popular, is the Fellowship program (Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine™ or FAWM). This initiative offers a means to identify those who have achieved a demanding set of requirements validating their training and experience in Wilderness Medicine for the assurances of patients, clients, and the public at large. Society members enroll in the Academy and, by completing lessons from a pre-established Wilderness Medicine curriculum as well as receiving credit for specific, identifiable experience; accumulate credit toward becoming a Fellow. Any current member of the Wilderness Medical Society who successfully completes the requirements will have the distinction of being a registered member of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine and entitled to use the designation Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM) and may reference it on resumes, business cards, and advertisements.

Fellow Brochure (1.6 MB)

How it Works

To become a Fellow in the Academy of Wilderness Medicine, a candidate must accumulate a minumum of 100 total credits according to the following table through participatation in eligible, credit-scored activities and acumulation of relevant experience:

Core Curriculum Required Topics

* Effective 11/1/2015: At least 50% of Core Credits must be obtained from WMS Activities (WMS Conferences, Online Lectures and Journal Articles) or WMS Affiliates.

Candidates must complete a minimum of 55 to a maximum of 70 credits from the list of "required" topics and earn a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 10 credits from the "elective" topics. So the total credits earned towards the core curriculum total 60-80. To reward candidates credit for Wilderness Medical Experience other than attendance at reviewed events, completion of the Experience Report provides up to 40 credtis. Each candidate must accumulate at least 20 credits from the Experience Report. The report reflects the candidate's experience in the following six categories:

  • Board Certification & Conference Attendance
  • Publishing & Research
  • Volunteer Teaching
  • Public Service
  • Practice
  • Service to WMS

Accounting for a candidate's accumulating credits is accomplished according to the following repeating sequence:

1) Verification by WMS staff of the candidate's attendence at an approved, scored activity.
2) Online designation of attended sessions related to each activity by the candidate.
3) Online completion and editing of Experience Report information.
4) Review of Fellow Status Reports.

In addition to accumulating the necessary credits, to be awarded your Fellowship you must:

1) have completed an initial qualifying, credentialing, or vocational degree-producing program in any recognized medical discipline or vocation or be a current student or resident of such a program.

2) have completed at least one year of professional practice in their medical vocation or discipline after completion of an initial qualifying program or school.

Fellow Advancement Recognition (FAR)

Fellows in the Academy of Wilderness Medicine are encouraged to advance their FAWM status. In addition to offering the Master Fellow program, the WMS recognizes the continued accumulation of core and elective credits after a member has become a Fellow. Awards will be presented to those Fellows who have been awarded the required levels of post-FAWM credtis as displayed below. The Credit Status report can be used to display your current credit summary.

AWARD Post-FAWM Credits
Matterhorn 150
Denali 300
Everest 600


  • The date of Fellowship is determined by the official letter of notification from the WMS which confirms a candidate's Fellow status. Post-FAWM credits are those awarded to Fellows who participate in unique eligible activities which occur AFTER the date of Fellowship.
  • Updates to a Fellow's Experience Report do not contribute to post-FAWM credits.
  • The activity date for Online Videos is the date when the lecture was recorded.
  • The activity date for Online Journal Articles is the date when the article was published.


The Strategic Perspective


The Academy is based on a modular system of adult education designed to enhance the overall academic quality and stature of the WMS in support of organizational strategic goals. The modules are building blocks that can be used to achieve various outcomes. They may be applied separately or together to take advantage of their natural synergism. When linked by governance and leadership they form the components of an academic academy.

Purpose & Mission

The fundamental purpose of the Academy is to support the WMS mission to advance healthcare, research, and education related to wilderness medicine. The Academy provides an organized mechanism through which the Wilderness Medical Society contributes to the body of wilderness medicine knowledge and its application in a high-quality and evidence-based fashion.

Vision & Goals

By adhering to an unwavering set of core values, the Academy serves the members of the Wilderness Medical Society by organizing and presenting a program of adult education based on a standardized, evidence-based core curriculum. This forms the bedrock of quality upon which all Academy applications and WMS programs are built. From this is derived an unrivaled reputation for academic excellence. The goals of the Academy are to provide:

• Professional designation for achievement in wilderness medicine
• Validation for the public, patients, and clients of practitioner education in Wilderness Medicine
• Recognition for completing high quality standards in wilderness medicine
• Continuing medical education (CME) credit for acquisition of knowledge and hands-on experiences in wilderness medicine
• The advancement of an internationally recognized curriculum of wilderness medicine categories, topics, and skills

Core Values

• Knowledge and policies that improve health in wilderness and extreme settings
• Evidence-based products, policies, and decision making
• Interdisciplinary, multifaceted perspectives
• Combining scientific, humanistic, and environmentally conscious values
• Reputation and prestige derived from quality
• Relevant to modern wilderness-related health challenges

Future Direction

• A mechanism to coordinate and generate consensus statements and reports by WMS expert committees.
• The generation of “White Papers” on policy issues of special interest based on expert opinion, research, review, and published evidence.
• Conduct round tables and forums on special topics convened at WMS conferences resulting in published papers.
• Offer an audio-visual lecture series on CD using electronic presentations with text, graphics, video, and voice-over features.
• Develop an internet-based distance learning system of core curriculum topics that could be joined to form Internet courses with various themes.
• Post a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) bulletin board section on the web site that can be searched and queried.

Academic Philosophy

Core values

    1. Knowledge and policies that improve health in wilderness and extreme settings
    2. Evidence-based products, policies, and decision making
    3. Interdisciplinary, multifaceted perspectives c
    ombining scientific, humanistic, and environmentally conscious values
    4. Reputation and prestige derived from quality
    5. Relevant to modern wilderness-related health challenges

1. Knowledge and policies that improve health in wilderness and extreme settings

The Academy delivers more than academically focused products. They are tailored to a unique setting for a unique customer; the wilderness and exotic traveler. Moreover, the Academy recognizes that, like other healthcare delivery and improvement bodies, the improvement and maintenance of health must lie at the core of its purpose.

2. Evidence-based products, policies, and decision making

The Academy brings the tools of evidence and research to the WMS in an organized fashion. These are common to all Society programs thereby setting it apart from other educational organizations in the discipline. This lends legitimacy, relevance, and prestige to Society programs. Society leaders foster an organizational culture that champions modern concepts of adult education, faculty and curriculum development, and evidence-based medicine.

Historically, many Wilderness Medicine educational programs have been anecdote-based, poorly standardized, and often not developed using principles of adult education. The WMS has set out to set itself apart in this regard. While there remains little high quality research in many areas of Wilderness Medicine, the WMS embraces evidence-based medicine. The Society pioneers a culture of “good science” in the discipline.

The basic blueprint for an evidence-based and academically focused Society is as follows.

• Establish and foster an organizational culture ermeated by principles of adult education, evidence-based medicine, and high standards for academic quality.

• Undertake a program to develop a cadre of faculty and program chairs trained in planning, preparation, and presentation of educational materials and curricula.

• Develop an objectives-based core curriculum that can be used as the foundation for all educational programs. This would be specifically designed to support the mission and strategic plans of the WMS and serve as the hub around which all other academic development activities revolve.

• Compile and/or establish evidence to support the core curriculum. This means supporting clinical research in an organized and directed fashion.

• Train a cadre of researchers that are focused on applying standard investigative techniques in areas and methods unique to the discipline.

3. Interdisciplinary, multifaceted perspectives

The WMS is comprised of a broad international membership representative of all medical specialties and disciplines. It is from this repository of diverse experience and opinion, unified by the legitimacy of evidence and academia, that the Academy draws strength. Employment of administrative and organizational procedures that ensure the expression of this diversity in policies and products is standard procedure.

4. Combining scientific, humanistic and environmentally conscious values

With the application of modern ethical paradigms and investigative methodology there remains no obstacle to the blending of science, humanity, and environmental stewardship. Consciousness of our place at a level above pure clinical science and academia is fundamental to the practice of medicine in wilderness settings.

5. Reputation and prestige derived from quality:

Focus on quality NOT quantity. High-quality adult education rapidly develops a reputation. This leads to increased memberships, improved attendance at activities, and more involvement by existing members. Non-profit, volunteer-based organizations must be creative and aggressive in order to compete and survive. Quality, relevance, evidence, and academic prestige delineate the high ground. Reputation, credibility, and service delivered via high quality, evidence-based academics constitute a road map to success. A universally embraced ethic of becoming a prestigious society uncompromising in its standards for quality of product and associations forms the heart of an unbeatable organizational culture.

6. Relevant to modern wilderness and environmental health challenges

We live in stressful times. People plan recreation and adventure travel on a different level of prioritization than ever before. Concerns over personal, family, and national security often dominate conversation. The WMS addresses this phenomenon by ensuring that educational programs and curricula reflect the real-time concerns of our members. We can do this by addressing what weighs most heavily on the national conscience (in a non-political fashion). In other words, our organization must be relevant to what is most important to our members. That is not to say that the role of combining recreation and passion with the profession of medicine is any less important, rather, it takes on a new dimension. Relevance is a theme that winds itself like a thread throughout the fabric of everything the Academy and the WMS do.