Monday July 8 to Saturday July 20th, 2019                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

This program will offer certification in Advanced Wilderness Life support (AWLS) as well as certifications in Tropical and Travel Medicine and certification in Backpacking Medicine through the Advanced Certification and Expertise (ACE) program. This program is designed to prepare medical students and physicians who have no formal medical training, how to prevent and treat injuries and medical problems that might occur in the back country where no medical help is available.

DATES: For the 2019-20 academic year, this course will be a 2-week elective from Monday July 8th to Saturday July 20th, 2019, in Chamonix-Mt. Blanc France.


University of Utah medical students: Sign up with the Learning Abroad office. Their deadline is February 15th, 2019. There is a $100 late fee if you sign up after that. Click on the button below to look at their site. You do not need to sign up with the Dean’s office. After the course is complete, they will simply give you the credit for the course using enrollment information from the Learning Abroad office.

Other medical students: Even though this is a VSAS course, you will sign up through the Learning Abroad office. You can do this anytime. Their deadline is February 15th, 2019. There is a $100 late fee if you sign up after that. You will not need to sign up through VSAS. Click on the Learning Abroad link below.


Location: Nestled in a lush valley in the French Alps, the idyllic mountain resort of Chamonix provides an unmatched base for outdoor adventure. The Mont Blanc massif rises impressively over the charming village inspiring the avid mountaineer and casual hiker alike. The downtown is also a fine place to stroll for shopping or dining as there are many fine restaurants just a short walk away. Discovered in 1741, this mountain village has become a destination for alpine recreation. The course is being hosted at the Mercure Chamonix Centre Hotel ideally located in the center of the town.

Housing: Housing will be provided for all medical students as part of the fees for the course.

Director and Coordinator: Richard Ingebretsen

Phone: 801-554-2129

Email: richi47@comcast.net

 Timeline Monday July 8th to Friday July 19 th in Chamonix-Mt. Blanc

Educational and Instructional Modalities

  • 50% didactic

  • 40% hands on training

  • 10% small group


You can certify in both AWLS and Hiking, Backpacking and Trekking Mediine

Required Textbook/Reading

Advanced Wilderness Life Support (AWLS) (Available on Amazon.com)

For a copy of the above material as well as further information such as assessment and grading please click on the 'Syllabus' button below.      

Course Goals - As a result of completing Wilderness Medicine:

  • Save lives in the wilderness through hands-on practical instruction

  • Describe how to prevent and treat the most common wilderness injuries and illnesses associated with hiking, backpacking and trekking

  • Outline proper clothing and layering protocols

  • Demonstrate how to pack an effective backpacking first aid kit

  • Demonstrate the prevention and treatment of common foot problems

  • Demonstrate proper techniques for water disinfection

  • Describe the treatment of bites and stings

  • Understand the basics of climbing medicine

  • Understand the treatment of common dental problems

  • Understand the treatment of skin related injuries including sunburn and poison ivy

  • Describe natural disasters, lighting and flash floods

  • Outline medically safe backpack loading and how to lift/carry

  • Understand the basics of navigation using GPS and maps

  • Understand the treatment of altitude related illnesses

  • Describe backpacking nutrition

  • Understand sleeping bags and tents

The Hiking, Backpack and Trekking Certification will be offered at the end of the course

Hands on practical skills (30%), didactic 50%, hiking 20%

Grading System Students will receive a final letter grade of PASS (P) or FAIL (F) for this course.

Student Feedback   Student feedback is important and helps identify opportunities to improve.

  • At the conclusion of this course, medical students are required to complete a summative evaluation. Evaluations are completed electronically and remain confidential.

  • Confidential On-The-Fly evaluations give students an opportunity to anonymously evaluate an instructor, learning activity or clinical experience in "real time." These evaluations are available on a secure UUSOM website (https://students.medicine.utah.edu) and are submitted to the Senior Director of Professionalism, Evaluation & Learning.

For the above as well as additional information please click on the 'Syllabus' button below for a pdf copy.

Payment/Fees The course will be administered by the University of Utah’s Learning Abroad program. An additional fee will be charged to the student. The cost of the program includes the instruction costs, teaching materials, the AWLS text, mountain and hiking fees, transportation costs, some meals, and several dinners that students will attend. The faculty and the program director are not paid to teach in this program. Payment will be made to the Learning Abroad program and collected by the University of Utah. Registration will be through the University of Utah School of Medicine.

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