Elective Years 1 and 2: Wilderness Medicine

Department: Family Medicine
Title: Wilderness Medicine
Location: University of Alberta

12 hours


Wilderness Medicine Club Leaders (MSA) website)

Dr John Chmelicek Chmelice@ualberta.ca

Dr Alexei Khair alexei.km@gmail.com

***To register for this elective, a Google Form will be sent out to all Year 1 and 2 students via email in September.  This email will include the proposed curriculum and timeline for the year.


To expose students to the field of wilderness medicine and prepare them to embrace their leadership role when participating in outdoor activities, the Wilderness Medicine Club, along with Dr. John Chmelicek and Dr. Alexei Khair, developed this 12-hour pre-clerkship elective focused on Wilderness Medicine Training. This elective consists of five 2-hour in-class session focusing on the following topics: 1) Injury prevention and First Aid Kit preparation, 2) Dive medicine, 3) Pre-hospital Management of Traumatic Injuries, 4) Pre-hospital Management of Hypothermia, and 5) Altitude Medicine. Content delivery will include lecture style presentations, hands-on practice and suggested resources for continued learning. The remaining two hours of the elective will consist of a simulation session where students will practice performing some of the wilderness medicine skills they learnt through the year in an outdoor setting (i.e. at a local park near campus). Additional opportunities, such as a clinical skill night (ie. splinting, wound care, etc.) and lunch talks, may also be hosted by the Wilderness Medicine Club to provide students with additional opportunities to meet the 12-hour requirement for this elective.

To encourage safe and responsible attitudes among our members while engaging in outdoor activities, the Wilderness Medicine Club will also arrange additional events, depending on availability but not limited to: **voluntary learning opportunities including a Massage Therapy/Self-Care course, a Wilderness First Aid Responder (20-hour) course, Avalanche Skills Training course (AST-1 or AST-2) and Glacier Travel/Rope Rescue course. The timing of these additional courses will align with the order in which the elective material is delivered. Ultimately, we believe that organizing these courses together with the 12-hour elective will not only provide the students insight on the acute management of patients but will also gain an understanding on how to prevent back country emergencies.

**Volunteer sessions will not be taught by faculty members, and participation in these sessions run will not count as credit towards completion of the elective.


Completing this elective should:

  • Develop the knowledge and clinical skills required to treat common wilderness medicine emergencies and conditions, with prevention as a primary focus;
  • Gain an understanding of the unique considerations when providing care in an austere environment;
  • Develop sport specific safety skills to be a leader and advocate for safety and prevention in the outdoor community;
  • Improve awareness about the Wilderness Medicine Society and the Fellowship in Wilderness Medicine.
Additional Notes:


  • Undergraduate medical students at the University of Alberta
  • Students must be in their pre-clerkship years
  • Application Deadline: October 1, 2021
  • Successful completion of this elective will require students to meet the 12-hr requirement over the course of one academic year
  • Deadline for elective and evaluation completion in Assess.Med:
    • Year 1 - March 31
    • Year 2 - April 30
  • A maximum of 45 students may enroll in this elective. The limitation is placed to facilitate the delivery of the year-end simulation session. Although priority will be given to students registered in this elective, students not enrolled in this elective may participate in the classroom sessions and additional learning opportunities if openings exist.

Priority Policy: In order to utilize all available elective times, priority will be given to earlier applications. Students are to apply as early as possible.

  • Leaders of the Wilderness Medicine Club will be tasked with recording students' attendance at each of the sessions. After the sessions have been completed, Dr. John Chmelicek and Dr Alexei Khair will be informed regarding which students have successfully completed the elective. Drs. Chmelicek and Khair will then complete each student's evaluation via http://assess.med.ualberta.ca.

Note: Any student that is registered in the elective but fails to attend a minimum of 12 hours of instructed sessions, will be brought to the attention of Drs. Chmelicek and Khair. It will be at the discretion of Drs. Chmelicek and Khair as to whether the student will need to complete an additional assessment (e.g. written paper) or whether they fail to receive credit for the elective.

Last Updated: December 2, 2021