The goals of the Rural and Wilderness Medicine Track are to identify and foster student interest in eventual medical practice in rural settings. Admission to the Rural and Wilderness Medicine Track should be considered a four-year commitment for accepted students. In addition to the unique educational opportunities, there are significant obligations associated with the track in the first two years, as well as in the third and fourth years of training.
Student physicians who have a strong desire to practice rural medicine will find themselves shaped into well-rounded, compassionate, and competent healthcare leaders when participating in the RWM track.
This course is jam packed with all the diverse training a physician will need to work in a remote setting, with possibly limited tools at hand, and includes a robust extracurricular education of procedural skills in medicine and surgery. Students will have a variety of field experiences each semester including extensive emergent simulations.
In Colorado, RWM track students participate in three capstone courses. Capstone I is a 2-day exercise with rural EMS, Fire Department, and Search and Rescue services in Southwestern Wyoming, or the equivalent. Students are expected to function with emergency personnel performing real-life scenarios in on-scene settings. Capstone II is a 2-day exercise involving simulated avalanche rescue techniques at a Colorado ski area working with ski patrollers. Additionally, training is provided in critical illness or injury associated with remote high altitude environments. Capstone III is a – 3-day exercise that takes place at a ranch in the Northwest Colorado mountains. Students are exposed to common ranching practices including veterinary medicine and common injuries encountered in the wild. Skills such as signaling, navigation, and outdoor survival previously covered in track meetings on campus will be reviewed and practiced on this Capstone, along with emergency stabilization and transport skills.
Students in the Utah track will also participate in three capstone events. The nature of the events will be determined, but may include visits to rural physicians in the area and/or hands-on wilderness/austere environment training.
To be considered for the program students must demonstrate commitment to rural and remote practice and be capable of handling the extra work load required by the track. Admission criteria includes an in-person interview by R&WM students and faculty along with a review of applicants’ grades and overall academic status. Applications are considered during the fall semester of the first year for students in the College of Osteopathic Medicine with the initial track activities beginning in the Winter/Spring semester of the first year.