Appalachian Center for Wilderness Medicine

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The Appalachian Center for Wilderness Medicine (ACWM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting wilderness medicine in the southern Appalachian region of the United States of America. Dr. Seth C. Hawkins, an emergency physician who specializes in EMS and wilderness medicine, founded ACWM in 2007 in the state of North Carolina. It is the first regional wilderness medicine non-profit of its kind in the United States.[1][2] Contemporary authorities in wilderness medicine have noted its importance in establishing a mechanism for regionally pooling information and resources in a field that otherwise has little connection between local or regional experts.[3] Critical to that effort have been uses of the internet in ways not previously seen in wilderness medicine.[4]

At the time of its founding, ACWM served the American states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. With the Knob Creek Resolution of 2011, ACWM expanded to include Alabama, Maryland, and Kentucky.[5]

Programs[edit]

Although its primary purpose as a non-profit is promoting communication and awareness of programs already in place, ACWM developed a number of programs of its own to fill holes in the region. Chief among them was an Advanced Wilderness Life Support (AWLS) course and the ACWM Southeastern Student Wilderness Medicine Conference -– neither previously available on a regular basis in the southern Appalachians.

AWLS Course[edit]

The ACWM version of the AWLS course has been recognized for its innovative use of high-technology medical simulation, using state of the art simulation mannequins in wilderness scenarios,[6] as well as its role in attracting healthcare professionals into the nascent profession of wilderness medicine.[7] The ACWM AWLS course has been run continuously since 2007 in southern Appalachian locations: in Linville Gorge NC from 2007-2009, in New River Gorge WV from 2010-2012, and in Black Mountain NC beginning in 2014 (with transitional organizing in 2013). In 2012 Outside Magazine cited the AWLS program as one of the top four wilderness medicine training programs in the United States.[8]

Student conference[edit]

Over a thousand medical students and wilderness enthusiasts were introduced to wilderness medicine through the student conference. It used a novel organizational strategy, moving every year to a new medical school in the southeast. This strategy increased geographic access throughout the region and provided organizational experience for the medical students at each host school. In the summer of 2012, the conference became independent of the Center and is now run through Wake Forest University and Blue Ridge Adventure Medicine as the Southeastern Student Wilderness Medicine Conference. The Center supports this newly independent conference as well as other southern Appalachian regional conferences, including the Southeast Wilderness Medicine Conference and the Appalachian Wilderness Medicine Conference.

Past ACWM Southeastern Student Wilderness Medicine Conference locations:

 2008:  Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
 2009:  UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC [9]
 2010:  Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA [10]
 2011:  Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, TN [11]
 2012:  Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston Salem, NC [12]

Other programs and partnerships[edit]

In addition to its primary regional organizing function, ACWM has served as an incubator for other local and national programs, such as the Green EMS Initiative,[13] a precursor to the International Institute for Sustainability in Emergency Services. It has also served as a partner in multiple regional wilderness medicine and safety initiatives. These include partnership with the New River Alliance of Climbers in Fayetteville WV (arising from the need to address wilderness medicine education within the southeastern climbing community) and Friends of Seneca (positioning first aid caches at the popular and historic climbing area Seneca Rocks).[14] ACWM staff have also provided instruction at multiple conferences and festivals, including the Roanoke GO Outside Fesivalt and the New River Rendezvous.[15][16]

Mountain Laurel Award[edit]

The ACWM also sponsors the Mountain Laurel Award every year, which has been cited as the most prestigious wilderness medicine award in the southeastern United States.[17] This lifetime achievement award is given to individuals or groups who have made “extraordinary, lasting and substantial contributions to wilderness medicine in the southern Appalachians.”

Mountain Laurel Award Recipients[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hawkins, S (2008). "Organizing Wilderness Medicine on a Regional Scale". Wilderness and Environmental Medicine (19): 305. 
  2. ^ Farlow, S (2009). "Into The Wild". Our State (January): 91. 
  3. ^ Donelan, S (2008). "The Wilderness Instructor: Introduction to Organizing Wilderness Medicine on a Regional Scale". Wilderness and Environmental Medicine (19): 304. 
  4. ^ Donelan, S (2008). "The Wilderness Instructor: Introduction to Organizing Wilderness Medicine on a Regional Scale". Wilderness and Environmental Medicine (19): 304. 
  5. ^ Appalachian Center for Wilderness Medicine. "ACWM Bulletin, June 2012, Vol. 5, No. 3". Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Lareau, SA; et al. (2010). "Advanced wilderness life support education using high-technology patient simulation". Wilderness & Environmental Medicine (21): 166. doi:10.1016/j.wem.2009.12.030. 
  7. ^ Laskowski-Jones, L (2010). "Pursuing my wildest dreams". Nursing. 40 (12): 6. doi:10.1097/01.nurse.0000390689.79186.61. 
  8. ^ Krogh, R. "Certified: Wilderness Medical Training -- The Nation's Top Four Wilderness First Aid Courses". Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "2nd ACWM Student Wilderness Medicine Conference in collaboration with the Appalachian Center for Wilderness Medicine". Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "3rd Annual ACWM Southeastern Student Wilderness Medicine Conference". Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  11. ^ "4th Annual ACWM Southeastern Student Wilderness Medicine Conference". Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "ACWM Southeastern Student Wilderness Medicine Conference". Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Go Green in the New Year to Minimize Your environmental Impact". Best Practices in Emergency Services: 138. December 2008. 
  14. ^ Simon, B (2011). Wilderness Medicine. 28 (4). 
  15. ^ New River Rendezvous. "ACWM Will Be At New River Rendezvous". Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  16. ^ GO Outside Festival. "GO Outside Festival Events". Archived from the original on 22 November 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  17. ^ Van Tilburg C (2011). Wilderness Medicine. 28 (1): 24. 
  18. ^ Georgia Health Sciences University News and Information. "Caudell Wins Mountain Laurel Award". Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  19. ^ National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). "Padgett Earns Mountain Laurel Award". Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  20. ^ PRWEB/Yahoo News. "Dr. Chris Moore Receives Mountain Laurel Award". Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013.