The goal of this program is to provide a realistic, engaging, and productive community that can foster medical student resilience, problem-solving, and teamwork in austere and adverse out-of-hospital environments where they have not been traditionally trained to practice medicine.

Curriculum Overview 

The certificate will offer a longitudinal experience to MS1 to MS4 students to provide an introduction to wilderness and austere medical care, to impart improvisational treatment skills to students based on the limitations of their environments, and to use outdoor education to provide the foundations for a long, fulfilling career in medicine through personal growth.

The program will span four years, beginning in the late Fall of the first year, and concluding in the spring of the fourth year.

As a longitudinal program, we will allow multiple opportunities over the course of a four year medical education to complete the required curriculum topics as well as required student experiences. Obtaining the certification requires understanding of all core wilderness medicine topics as well as completing several core experiences.

These experiences are broken down into multiple categories including:

Skill-based Didactic
Personal Academic
Organizational Capstone

Sessions will be a blend of hands-on, outdoor experiential activities, small group discussions, and extramural activities such as conferences and workshops.

Value of the program

Wilderness medicine is a small, but rapidly growing field that offers opportunities to medical students outside of the scope of traditional curriculum. Most succinctly, wilderness medicine allows an opportunity to practice medical care in a location where fixed or transient geographic barriers limit the availability or alter the requirements for mobilization of provider resources or patient movement and care. Often, conventional emergency medicine services are constrained by terrain and unable to operate in spaces given limitations of terrain or weather - this offers a compelling argument for education regarding management of both technical terrain and providing patient-centered care in austere and adverse environments. 

For medical students, wilderness medicine training offers an ideal learning environment where many of the complexities of hospital and clinic-based education, and technological barriers are removed, bringing into focus the underlying pathology, physiology, and human connection with our patients.


Application Process

Students will be asked to provide a brief personal statement detailing their goals for their involvement in the certificate program, their previous relevant outdoors experiences, and their CV. Applications will be reviewed by the involved faculty, and students will be alerted to their acceptance. 

Applications are accepted between June 1 and September 1, with interviews conducted in September and October. Positions are currently offered through the Wilderness Medical Society’s Match process.  Interested candidates should send a current CV and letter of interest to Program Director, Henderson McGinnis at