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Wilderness Medical Society

Program takes students out of the classroom

The weekend’s Wildwater river guide poses with Chris Smith, Aaron Stike, Bernie Siaton, Ben Ose, Anish Shah, Tom Boro, Deep Demazumder, Meg Shaw and Eric Eisemon.
Photo courtesy of Bernie Siaton, M’06.

Many students find a way to combine their passion for the outdoors with their chosen profession through the MCV Campus chapter of the Wilderness Medical Society.

With more than 100 students involved, the WMS chapter is one of the largest student interest groups on campus. Through their outdoor fun, the chapter aims to expose medical students to the field of wilderness medicine, including pre-emergency department care and survival medicine skills. Students can also earn Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responder certifications.

Offering a number of programs throughout the year, WMS organizes an annual fall rafting trip to the New River Gorge in West Virginia as well as a 10-lecture spring first-year elective. This spring’s course will feature medical aspects of adventure racing, cave medicine and desert medicine as well as environmental emergencies.

(Left to right, top row) Brandon Coates, Doug Blank, Chris Smith, Paul Singh, Ashley Munchel, Randy Frederick; (bottom row) Aaron Stike, Allison Kuchta, Anish Shah, Bernie Siaton and Deep Demazumder.
Photo courtesy of Bernie Siaton, M’06

WMS also has presented a seminar on basic wilderness first aid that covered topics including the ABCs of resuscitation, back-country evacuation of injured patients and the basics of splinting broken bones. The seminar was taught by three WMS student members: Tami Thome, M2, president of the chapter and a wilderness first aid instructor; Chris Smith, M2, a former Navy SEAL corpsman; and Tom Boro, M3, who is certified as a paramedic instructor.

With support from the Annual Fund, the group has purchased first-aid gear that is used during their seminars and trips, as well as books on wilderness medicine that are available to all interested students.

In addition to benefiting about 25 different student groups, Annual Fund gifts also support student scholarships and faculty research. You can find a link to online giving at https://www.support.vcu.edu/give/developmentandalumnirelations.