Wilderness Medication Fellowship in Roanoke preps medical professionals for out of doors emergencies


ROANOKE, Va. – Emergencies can happen anywhere, but when they are outside there are some who specialize in dealing with the elements.

“We train in the wild and in ambient conditions, so things you might experience outdoors – hypothermia, hypothermia, heat stroke or heat stroke, snake bite, altitude sickness,” said Dr. CJ Waasdorp, Physician at Carilion Clinic.

These doctors have a wide range of training, from treating injuries to rescue work.

“We train in technical rescue, be it rock and height rescue, river rescue and then also special training like diving medicine,” added Waasdorp.

While they can be an asset in an emergency situation, they follow the lead of first responders.

“Our technical rescue teams like Roanoke County, where the recent event happened, have an excellent team with a lot of practice doing a lot of the technical training and they are taking the lead. We as doctors can come and offer any of our additional skills.”


Carilion Clinic is the only healthcare system in the region to offer a Wilderness Medicine Fellowship. Roanoke’s outdoor recreation scene makes it a good place to host this program.

“This scholarship is post-emergency medicine training. So physicians who have already completed residency training in emergency medicine, or PAs or nurses who come from either an emergency medicine training program or experience,” Waasdorp added.

Preparation, so when an emergency or difficult situation arises, these doctors are ready to come to the rescue.

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