Our Mission and Values

Mission Statement

The mission of the Wilderness Medical Society is to encourage, foster, support, or conduct activities to improve the scientific knowledge of the membership and general public in human health activities in a wilderness environment.


The WMS recognizes the importance and benefits of a diverse and inclusive society. We are committed to fostering an environment of acceptance that is equitable to all. We recognize the rights of all individuals to mutual respect without bias based on differences of any kind. We value our individual and group differences. Our commitment to inclusiveness will be evident in our policies and procedures, as part of our strategic plan, and within our organizational goals.   


  • Inclusivity: Uproot barriers (not trees).
  • Kindness: Elevate others as you climb.
  • Service: See the need, fill the gap.
  • Nature: Find your way in the wild.
  • Education: Seek knowledge, pay it forward.


Founded in 1983, the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS) is the world's leading nonprofit organization devoted to wilderness medical challenges. Wilderness medicine topics include expedition and disaster medicine, dive medicine, search and rescue, altitude illness, cold- and heat-related illness, wilderness trauma, survival, and wild animal attacks. The WMS explores health risks and safety issues in extreme environments such as mountains, jungles, deserts, caves, the ocean, and space.

Society members have a long-standing commitment to education and research. The WMS sponsors accredited continuing medical education conferences that combine exceptional educational presentations with a variety of hands-on workshops. The Society publishes a peer-reviewed medical journal, a monthly newsletter, a variety of online education resources, and practice guidelines for wilderness emergency care. Each year the Society awards $30,000 in research grants, advancing academic careers and expanding the knowledge and understanding of wilderness medical issues. The WMS also supports Student Interest Groups (SIGs) on campuses across the world and hosts two electives each year.

In addition to practicing, investigating, and teaching wilderness medicine, WMS members share a sense of adventure—from exploring deserts to climbing mountains, from scuba diving to white-water rafting, from skiing to windsurfing, from adventure travel to volunteer-relief work. The Society's members love the outdoors, have deep respect for the environment and our precious natural resources, and actively support an Environmental Council.

WMS is a 501(c)3 organization, designating it a charity for public good with a responsibility to educate and serve the public, and indicating that donations are tax deductible. To fund the unique WMS programs and publications, the Society relies on members (new and renewing), fundraising events, and charitable gifts and donations. Only with member and public support, can the WMS continue to meet the Society's responsibilities and serve the world beyond its membership.

Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, & More