Wilderness Medicine

Wilderness Medicine is an important (and fun!) part of our curriculum. Our faculty and residents enjoy playing, exploring, and traveling in the wilderness (including residency-related travel to towns and villages in Bush Alaska). It is important for all of us to be comfortable and confident with our wilderness medicine and survival skills. Basic survival skills and wilderness medicine are required for all residents.  There are additional learning opportunities for those who are interested in becoming Advanced Wilderness Life Support (AWLS) certified. This is a great way to have fun and learn how to play safely in our great state of Alaska.

Three main components to AKFMR’s Wilderness Medicine curriculum:

Winter SurvivalWilderness winter

A 3-day camping trip every January (required for first year residents, optional for third year residents). The focus of the course is to develop the skills required to survive in the Alaskan winter without the usual camping equipment/resources. We build and sleep in snow caves, make fires without matches, learn about edible plants/animals, and practice avalanche search and rescue techniques.


Wilderness kayakSummer Wilderness Medicine

A 4-day kayak trip in Prince William Sound (offered every May, optional for all three years of residency). The focus of this course is wilderness medicine – common injuries, infections and illnesses that occur in the wilderness, what to do about them, when to treat and when to evacuate.



Didactics and WorkshopsWilderness didactic

A series of Wilderness Medicine didactic presentations and workshops based on the AWLS course (part of the residency’s didactic program — attendance is expected for all, required for those who want to be certified).