Wilderness Medicine Fellowship Certification Process

Introduction:
Wilderness Medicine (WM) is unique in its inclusion of multiple medical specialties and multiple types of medical practitioners (Physicians, Physician Assistants (PAs), Nurse Practitioners (NPs)). Although many WM fellowships exclusively train emergency medicine physicians, there are several fellowships that train PAs and NPs, as well as other physician specialties. This is not surprising, given that the skills and knowledge of WM practice is shared by the fields of emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, anesthesia, orthopedics, ophthalmology, infectious disease, sports medicine, disaster medicine, travel medicine, pre-hospital medicine, and military medicine.

The Wilderness Medical Society (WMS) is the leading professional organization for WM.  The membership of the WMS includes physicians across many specialty disciplines, academic researchers, midlevel practitioners, nurses, and first responders (including nonmedical personnel) frequently in wilderness or rescue settings. As a result of being the only professional society specialized in WM education and practice advancement, the WMS is in a unique position to provide a forum for peer review and growth of wilderness medicine fellowship programs. 

Purpose:
Wilderness Medicine fellowships are non-ACGME-certified post-graduate training opportunities. Peer review of WM fellowships can advance the specialty. Peer reviewers provide benefit to programs by providing useful guidance related to policies, procedures, curricula and experiences presented by a fellowship. Peer review has the potential to improve the educational standards for all programs, not just for individual fellowships. The goal of this review is aspirational – the chance for programs to demonstrate a level of excellence as defined by our peers and to earn endorsement as a WMS-certified fellowship.

Criteria:
All fellowships completing the application will be considered for approval by the WMS GME Fellowship Certification Review Committee. Emphasis in review will be placed on ensuring that fellows have ample time, funds and opportunities to develop as leaders, educators, practitioners, and researchers within the field of wilderness medicine, with the understanding that each fellowship program is unique in its offerings. Reviewers will also evaluate if the program is meeting the core content, as set out in Core Content for Wilderness Medicine Fellowship Training of Emergency Medicine Graduates by Lipman, et al. 

New programs (with ≤2 fellowship alumni) will initially be approved for 3 years ; established fellowships (with >2 fellowship alumni) will be approved for 5 years. In the event of leadership change (i.e.: new director), the approved fellowship shall submit an update to the WMS review committee who will determine if an interim review is necessary. Failure to do so may result in loss of endorsement as a WMS-certified fellowship. 

GME Fellowship Application  (editable PDF – please use this form if you have full Adobe Acrobat)
GME Fellowship Application (MS Word)

GME Fellowship Certification Program Consent Form

Fellowship certification applications should be submitted to info@wms.org.

Timelines:

Application deadline – March 31
Review period: April 1 – May 31
Communication with the approved Fellowships: June
Certification begin date: July 1

Process:
Applications will be reviewed by the WMS GME Fellowship Certification Review Committee. This group is composed of:

  1. WMS Graduate Medical Education (GME) Committee representatives (2)
    (Chair, Incoming Chair or Chair-designate)
  2. WMS Education Committee representative (1)
    (Chair or Chair-designate)
  3. WMS Fellowship of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM) representatives (2)
    (Chair + Chair-designate)

Chair-designate membership on the review committee is to prevent individuals from having to review their own fellowship program. The review committee will provide feedback to each fellowship director regarding the review and any areas noted for improvement or areas in which clarification is needed.

If certified, the Program Director will be required to maintain regular membership status ($195/year) in the WMS while the WMS certification is in place. Fellows will also be required to maintain regular membership status in the WMS during their fellowship, and are encouraged to maintain afterwards.
WMS-certified fellowships will be listed on the WMS.org site under the Education section. Fellowships can label their fellowships as “Wilderness Medical Society Certified” on their individual web site.

While the fellowship is certified and during their Fellowship year, Fellows will receive complimentary admission into the FAWM program ($250 value). Fellows are able to receive credits through their fellowship program for each educational activity that they participate in, usually culminating in the award of the FAWM at the end of their fellowship year. 
While the fellowship is certified and during their Fellowship year, Fellows will receive a 15% discount on all WMS educational courses, including DiMM, DiDMM, Adventure CME activities and conferences.

At the end of their fellowship year, fellows will receive a WMS certificate of completion from programs stating that they completed training from a WMS-certified WM Fellowship program.