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Wilderness Medicine

LOCATION: Summit Bechtel Family Scout Reserve (SBR) - Glen Jean, WV
DURATION: 2 or 4 weeks (Runs Saturday 2pm to Saturday 2pm)  
OFFERED: July 5-25, 2020 
STATUS: Elective 

The Summit Bechtel Reserve is a High Adventure base of the Boy Scouts of America located just North of Beckley, WV.  Additional information about the facility and programs:  http://www.summitbsa.org/ then click on High Adventure.

Each week SBR hosts 500-2,000 youth and staff for their high-adventure programming.  The medical staff tends to the medical needs of this group including primary-care concerns and responding to trauma and other emergencies that occur during the high-adventure activities.

Medical Students serve under the supervision of a physician to evaluate and treat both participants and staff with the goal of keeping them able to participate in SBR activities.  The Summit Health Lodge is air-conditioned, has two bathrooms and a hot shower.  The medical students and the physician typically sleep in the Health Lodge, along with several EMS personnel.


To acquaint medical students with wilderness and large event medicine. This includes assisting pre-hospital responders and caring for patients in a setting with limited resources. The majority of the patients are adolescents, but all age groups are seen including adults and occasionally younger children.  Both major and minor problems are seen in the health lodge.  Severe conditions are transported to a community hospital for care.  Emphasis is on a team approach to care and interdisciplinary communication.

Methods to Achieve Objectives

The students will live full time at the Summit Bechtel Reserve (SBR) during their rotation.  Housing (either in the health lodge or a tent) and meals will be provided.  Students are expected to take histories, perform physical exams, formulate differential diagnoses, participate in treatment, and help arrange patient disposition.  In addition, students will be expected to perform procedures, including suturing, splinting, slit lamp exams, and dispensing medications under the supervision of an attending physician.  Students will be exposed to emergency and routine care of Summit participants and staff.  Didactic materials will include a series of didactic lectures on field EMS skills, wilderness medicine, and adolescent medicine topics.  A detailed schedule will be prepared for each week, and students will be allowed appropriate time to enjoy the activities at the SBR during their rotation.  

Examination Procedures and Evaluation Criteria

Daily observation, active participation in didactic training, and evaluations by attending faculty.  Students will be evaluated by each attending provider they work with, and a summary grade compiled by the rotation preceptor.

Pre-Rotation Instructions

Please contact Dr. Pyles, lpyles@hsc.wvu.edu  two weeks prior to rotation start date. 

On first day of rotation, report to SBR Health Lodge - 2550 Jack Furst Drive, Glen Jean, WV