What: This 13-day intensive course is for anyone wanting to get hands-on wilderness medicine and off-grid herbalism certifications. This is a ‘must have’ if you are working in remote environments, doing medical outreach missions, expeditionary medicine, or working in post-disaster locations. Upon completion of this course, students will receive a 120+ hour certificate for the Austere Immersive Medicine course as well as a Wilderness First Responder, and CPR/AED certifications as well. Licensed EMTs will receive W-EMT certification.
When: This will be held August 11-22, 2023. There will be 30 open spots available.
Where: This course will be offered in Northern New Mexico (less than 10 minutes from the Taos, NM main plaza) at our campus, with camping available. All food for the first 3 days (breakfast, lunch and dinner) will be included in the course tuition.
Who is this for? There are 30 open spots for this course for students who have completed the pre-requisite Austere Medicine course materials.
What Does This Course Cover?
Phase 1 (creating clinical and team infrastructure, Days 1 – 3): After arrival at base camp on Day 1, students will receive an in-briefing outlining the course structure, the physical boundaries of the course, emergency plans (real life emergencies), student and teacher introductions. Students will work to create clinical infrastructure (e.g. clinic and resources) ready to host a clinic in a post-disaster and/or off-grid environment. During this process, food, water, cooking, physical structures, hygiene and sanitation, team medical support, area scouting (land navigation), communication and security will be presented in class and hands-on structure. *3 meals a day will be provided as part of tuition for Phase 1. Students are responsible for providing their own food for the remainder of the course.
Phase 1 Online Course Prerequisite(s): Students must pass the Medical Advance Party Course
Phase 2 (wilderness first responder, Days 3 – 6): Day 3 – students will be briefed on the WFR subjects that will be reviewed, taught and tested up through the morning of day 6. At this point, most of the medical and team field infrastructure is in place, allowing for focus primarily on medical and herbalism subjects. Students will learn, practice and test WFR skills in order to obtain WFR (and CPR) certification. Post-disaster scenarios are an active part of the training and testing.
Phase 2 Online Course Prerequisite(s): Students must pass the Online Wilderness First Responder course
Phase 3 (Austere Trauma Care, Days 7 – 9) Day 7: we begin the austere trauma care portion of the course. This picks up where WFR leaves off. Trauma and prolonged field care for gunshot wounds, broken bones and joint dislocations, thorax and abdominal injuries and more are taught and practiced. Hands-on skills include suturing, wound debridement, sterile fields, shock treatment, post-surgical care, introduction to herbalism concepts that relate to pain management, wound and infection management and advanced medicine making concepts. Scenario-based trauma also includes infrastructure issues revisited and the trauma portion wraps up by the morning of day 9.
Phase 3 Online Course Prerequisite(s): Students must pass the Online Austere Trauma Care course
Phase 4 (Austere Acute Care, Days 9-12) Day 9: the austere acute care portion moves on from trauma and post-trauma care into acute care concepts. Physical exams from head to toe, review of systems, western acute-care herbalism (to include flareups of chronic conditions) and an introduction into some Chinese medicine concepts adapted for field use are all taught and practiced. Medicine making, apothecary management and the running of an acute-care herbal clinic are emphasized. Classes are wrapped up and the scenario is brought to a conclusion by late morning of day 12. Students pack up their gear, break down the base camp and are transported to an overnight location close to the community clinic day 13.
Phase 4 Online Course Prerequisite(s): Students must pass the Online Austere Acute Care course
Phase 5 (live community herbal clinic and graduation, Day 13): Students prepare and run a free herbal, community clinic. Clinic will run for 3-4 hours during which time students will run intake, prepare SOAP notes, work in the clinical apothecary and more, as part of a free herbal clinic to the community.
Wrap up, final briefing and graduation, Day 13: After the clinic is finished and broken down, the students will receive a final briefing and Q & A for the full course. Upon graduation, students receive WFR and CPR cards and a certificate for completion of the entire HOME course that show the amount of contact hours of the full course as well as each component.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our second campus is located 4 miles (a 9 minute drive to the main plaza) from beautiful Taos, New Mexico. Our mountain campus is surrounded by national forest land and bordered by the Rio Fernando River. This includes outdoor classroom areas, amazing, pristine training areas in the mountains, natural and cultivated medicinal plants and a rich history.
Our Taos, New Mexico campus is located approximately 4 miles east of the Taos main plaza. Access can be via Hwy. 64 from both the west (Taos) and east (through Angel Fire). Taos Air flies directly into Taos Regional Airport [TSM] from Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin and Dallas. There are also an international airport in Albuquerque [ABQ] as well as a regional airport in Santa Fe [SAF]. Rental cars are available at all airports and locations in those major cities.
Rideshares or shuttles may be available, and will be announced closer to the course.
There will be a certain number of student tent camping, hammock, and glamping sites on the campus grounds, and available first come, first serve. It is recommended to reserve your camping spot in advance. Additionally, there are both camping and RV hook-up sites less than a half mile away. There are Airbnbs and hotels throughout Taos and Angel Fire and along the valley between those destinations.
Rental cars are readily available at all airports and students can also coordinate together for a group rental if desired. Airport transfer/shuttle options are also available online. Depending on student’s transportation and size of the group, the school may be able to offer shuttle assistance as well.
The first 3 days of the course (during Phase 1), the school will provide all 3 meals as part of the program. Students will be directly involved in procuring and preparing food in a scenario-based clinical team environment. All food will be locally sourced wherever possible from area farms and food cooperatives. Meal structure will accommodate allergies and restrictions.
For the remaining 3 Phases (day 4-13), students are responsible for their own meals. During the day, hot & cold beverages (coffee, chai, teas, etc) and healthy snack food will be provided for students. The school will have a field kitchen and refrigeration options available for those who want to cook their own food. We encourage group meal planning, but there are also numerous food options in and around town as well.
I have dietary restrictions – will I be accommodated? If not, will I be able to store my own food at the campus?
All food prepared will be locally sourced from area farms and food cooperatives, with an emphasis on healthy nutrition. The food provided will allow those dietary restrictions to customize their meals as needed. 3 meals per day will be provided for Phase 1 (Day 1-3), and students are responsible for the remainder of the course. Hot & cold beverages and healthy snacks (that work with food restrictions) will be provided daily.
The school has a field kitchen for meal preparation and refrigeration options for those camping or wanting to prepare their own food.
Our mountain campus has student facilities to include bathrooms, hot showers for those staying on-site, fresh running water for drinking, a field kitchen with refrigeration, dining and gathering areas, a washing machine (and clothesline), access to WIFI and electricity for charging devices and a designated number of tent camping, hammock, and glamping sites.
We will also have an indoor student space in case of inclement weather and a student store for basic gear and herbal supplies. A self-serve first aid station will be available on campus, and the school has a student store with herbal formulas, camping items and supplies.
Yes, you do not need to camp at the school campus unless you would like to!
This varies slightly, depending on what part of the course you are in. Generally assume that classes will start no later than 9 am and finish no earlier than 5 pm; but there will be sections that may run a bit later in the evening than that. After completion of Phase 2, students will have approximately a 1 1/2 day rest break. (Afternoon of August 16th – August 17th) The final day will wrap up by approximately 1pm.
There is hands-on training that includes walking, carrying, lifting to some extent. While not required, it is suggested that students be able to lift 40 pounds and walk up to 2 miles without undue physical fatigue. The elevation is 7,500 ft above sea level.
Camping is available the day before and the night after the course is completed at no charge. Camping, hammock and glamping spots are first come, first serve. It is recommended to reserve a camping spot in advance, as spots will be limited.
Wild bears and mountain lions are part of the eco-system as a whole, however it would be very unlikely to encounter them on this campus. We have several large and friendly dogs and take proper care of all garbage disposal and maintenance to prevent bear visits. Other wildlife include elk, deer, turkeys, raccoons, foxes, coyotes and it is possible there may be some livestock on the campus grounds in addition to our homestead chickens and rabbits.
Family members and friends can accompany students as long as they are not attending or present on the campus during class hours. The school priority is to ensure minimal distractions during this intensive training. And while we absolutely love dogs, and have our own that live on the campus, the school can not allow students to bring pets, sorry.
The Taos area is rich with art, cultural and outdoor activities!
During summer months, Taos Canyon is very pleasant. The high temperatures range in the low 80s and lows of low 50s. The average days of precipitation during August will vary – with a maximum of 7 days scattered throughout the month. (in the event of a rain shower, the school has an indoor space for students) Generally, August weather is mild and very pleasant.
As with any of our courses that are outdoors or involve camping, always prepare for rain and cooler temperatures both in shelter and clothing layers.
For all students: Items will include a day-pack, water bottle or camelback, a camping knife (preferably a 3-4″ fixed blade, but folding is ok), 50-100′ of paracord, poncho or other wet-weather gear, comfortable hiking footwear and layered outdoor clothing (to include long sleeved shirts and long pants), compass, a mess kit, personal first aid kit, a lighter, headlamp (or flashlight) and bug spray.
For students camping: personal camping gear should include a waterproof tent or tarp, sleeping bag or hammock, towel or washcloth and bio-degradable soap. If you plan to wash clothes, bring a bio-degradable laundry soap.
If you want to cool down in the Rio Fernando or visit local hot springs, bring a bathing suit!
Our school store will have some basic camping gear, herbal formulas and other items!
A full comprehensive list will go out the month before the course.
The regional Taos airport [TSM, also known as SKX] is 14 miles (@25 minutes) to our campus.
The regional Santa Fe airport [SAF] is 82 miles (@1 hour, 45 minutes) and the international Albuquerque airport is 138 miles (approximately a 2.5 hour drive).
The school will have an on-site store for last-minute items or basic gear supplies. Students will be able to pick up basic camping supplies like headlamps, ponchos, mess kits, extra pairs of wool socks, a spare knife, bug spray, etc.
Our apothecary will stock herbal formulas for students for everything from high altitude adjustment to sleep, allergy, and immune support. The store will also have salves, liniments and other topical items.
Resource books, guides, notebooks, spare device chargers and other items are also stocked in the store as well for student convenience.