by Jay Lemery

It’s my privilege to inaugurate my first WM blog by announcing the arrival of the Section of Wilderness and Environmental Medicine within the Department of Emergency Medicine.  What does that mean?!  The Section is designed to be a discrete endeavor recognized by the Department with a support structure and recognized faculty—in our case focused on research, education, clinical excellence, and outreach.

This is a formidable mandate, but we have a deep bench of principle faculty, fellows and residents, and supporting faculty to promulgate the mission forward.  It’s kind of like the Hall of Justice of Wilderness Medicine practitioners—each member has their own superpowers—Chris Davis has hypoxic x-ray vision, Tracy Cushing can instantly heal a legion of endangered travelers through medical direction, and Barb Blok has Jedi-mind trick powers of education.  Clearly my super power is blogging, so I’ll continue….

The educational mission is the most well-established part of the Section—all the way from medical students to residents and fellows.  We plan to begin CME training in 2014—a great way to educate our attending peers and to give some adventure teaching opportunities to our trainees.   We are also credentialing (with the University of Utah) the Diploma in Mountain Medicine Program [see Dr. Paterson’s post].  This program offered through the Wilderness Medical Society offers a comprehensive skill set until recently only obtainable in Europe.

Clinical service is embodied in the Altitude and Hypoxia clinic—directed by Dr. Ben Honigman.  This clinic has been running for a few years now, but we hope to expand the scope and service with the recent infusion of WM faculty.  We have contracted with Outward Bound to provide medical direction for their activities, and hope to gradually move in to telemedicine capabilities for remote care providers.

Our research goals are as diverse as the faculty, with active projects in altitude pathophysiology, backcountry injury epidemiology, and my personal interest—the effects of environmental change on human health.

Stay-tuned—we just came up with this in the last 6 months, so things are changing fast.  Check out for more info, and follow us on Twitter @COwildernessMed for daily posts on a variety of wilderness medicine topics.

See you out there,

Jay Lemery