This new seminar was developed with the need for more vigorous education, medical knowledge, and rescue techniques in austere mountain environments. Silverton EMS (Silverton San Juan County Ambulance Association), San Juan County Search and Rescue, Silverton Avalanche School, The Mountain Medicine Institute, LLC and University of New Mexico, School of Emergency Medicine, Diploma in Mountain Medicine Program have teamed up to provide state of the art medical education, the latest in mountain medicine, alpine rescue and high end avalanche awareness and education in one seminar.

Mountain Medicine Institute, LLC started in 2014 with a goal to combine mountain medicine with avalanche safety skills. This company was started to act as a foundation to provide mountain medicine education in combination with other mountain rescue/safety training paradigms. The goal is to provide high end, outcome-based wilderness medicine education with a hands on field component while combining skills in avalanche awareness, snow safety, mountain travel, and other general mountain travel and expedition skills. The courses are developed in the spirit of experiential education with future goals to provide mountain medicine education in other paradigms of rescue and safety (ie swift water rescue and technical rock rescue), but in the meantime will utilize human volunteers for training exercises. Please see outline for proposed course that is attached.

Silverton, Colorado is a very remote, mountainous environment that is experiencing a significant increase in high acuity/EMS calls especially in the remote backcountry and wilderness in our county. This has created a need to combine EMS and SAR in order for these patients to receive appropriate care and rescue. Over the last three years both of these agencies have merged their resources to meet this challenge.

Silverton EMS has been in service since 1972. It started out as an all-volunteer EMT-Basic service that evolved into an Intermediate Service. Since 2013, Silverton is an Advanced Life Support service that works in some of the most remote and rugged terrain in the lower 48 states. San Juan County has the highest mean elevation of any county in the United States. The county also has the most avalanche terrain in the U.S. and most avalanche chutes along a major highway. Silverton and San Juan County are very much like a national park in that there is year round tourism and backcountry experiences leading to some unique logistical and patient care challenges. Their EMS/SAR system meets and exceeds the definition of austere environments.

San Juan County Search and Rescue has been in existence since the early `70s. It was the first SAR team to get organized and technically trained to handle high altitude, climbing, avalanche rescues in addition to the normal rescue situations. In October of 2016 San Juan County SAR was voted in as a member of the International Comission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR) which will allow it to stay on the forefront of mountain rescue and mountain medicine standards. Silverton Avalanche School is a division of San Juan County Search and Rescue.

The Silverton Avalanche School, located in Silverton, Colorado is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to avalanche safety education, and an American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) course provider. Courses are taught by nationally recognized members of the American Avalanche Association (A3), AIARE, and the Canadian Avalanche Association. Their instructors include CAIC staff, snow scientists, and a host of mountain rescue specialists. they adhere to the AAA’s Guidelines for Avalanche Course Curriculum. Many of the instructors present new methods at the International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW) and are active in researching the fundamentals of avalanche processes.  SAS and SJC SAR are the same non-profit organization. SAS joined the International Comission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR) in 2016. 

The University of New Mexico International Mountain Medicine Center is one of the premier programs for mountain emergency medicine and rescue in the world. Our faculty consists of mountain rescue paramedics, emergency medicine physicians, and mountain guides. We focus our teachings on internationally accepted and evidence based concepts, and strive to contribute to the general knowledge base of our field through research, education, and our own mountain rescue practice in New Mexico. Our internationally recognized courses equip health professionals with the knowledge and skills to adapt their medical practices to the mountains. Students leave ready to become technical and medical leaders for rescue teams around the globe.

American Medical Association Accreditation Statement

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint providership of the Wilderness Medical Society and The Mountain Medicine Institute LLC. The Wilderness Medical Society is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Wilderness Medical Society (WMS) designates this educational activity for a maximum number of TBD AMA PRA Category 1 Credits TM.  Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Paramedics and EMT’s recieve Continuing Education credits approved through the State of Colorado and the State of New Mexico.

Symposium Objectives and Target Audience

Our target audience includes physicians, nurses, EMS personnel, health providers, climbers, and mountain sports enthusiasts. Participants in this symposium might be a medical provider who plans to work at a high altitude clinic or works in mountainous environments where injuries and illness are common, while plentiful resources are not. Unlike many conferences, we will engage attendees in mock-patient scenarios in outdoor mountain settings. We will also provide interactive classroom discussion and case-oriented lectures. It is our hope that the material we provide will give participants confidence in making initial treatment decisions about patients at high altitude or while in remote or wilderness environments.

After the symposium participants are expected to be able to recognize and describe, in particular, hypothermia as it pertains to avalanche victims, frostbite and field management strategies, extrication of victims as part of a rescue team or within a recreational trip, altitude illness, patient extrication and evacuation techniques, safe snow travel, and other general mountain medical concepts in avalanche hazards and mountainous environments.

Faculty Financial Disclosure Statement

It is the policy of the Wilderness Medical Society to ensure balance, independence, objectivity and scientific rigor.  All symposium planning committee members and faculty members participating in the International Mountain Medicine Symposium are required to disclose any real or apparent conflict of interest related to the content of their presentation.  All faculty reported no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Sponsors of Silverton Mountain Medicine Symposium