President's Note

Fall is one of the most exciting times of the year as the weather is more agreeable for long days outdoors plus the excitement of ski season is in the air. We are working on making this a more robust newsletter –so check it out and let me know what you think.
I’d like to thank Seth Hawkins, Chip Thompson and David Young – plus everyone else who volunteered and helped – for a great AWLS Course at Black Mountain! A great time was had by all! If you didn’t get to attend this year watch out for next year’s course.

Congratulations to Jono Bryant the 2015 Mountain Laurel Award winner for his lifetime achievements in promoting wilderness medicine in the southeast. Also congratulations to Linda Laskowski Jones who won the founder’s award for her work on the event medicine paper.
Be on the look out for new ACWM apparel! We are getting some new shirts that have breathable logos printed – plus possibly some logo biking/ running socks! And of course some new more durable stickers!

Thanks to Mary Lou Legg, Sam Robbins, Jessie Gehner and Renee Powers for their help in the first, hopefully annual ACWM Trailside First Aid class that was offered last weekend in Roanoke, VA at Carvins Cove. About 22 community members came out to this free class and learned basic patient assessment, splinting, andassessment and treatment of other common trailside complaints.

Some exciting upcoming opportunities for wilderness medicine in the area include:

GO FEST: October 16-18, 2015 Roanoke VA: Come help staff our table – and enjoy live music, food, drinks and tons of activities (FREE). See more info from Mary Lou below.

9th Annual Southeastern Student Wilderness Medicine Conference: April 23-24, 2016 Roanoke, VA Contact for teaching opportunities:
 Happy Fall! - Stephanie Lareau

Updates and Committee Reports:

AWLS - Seth Hawkins
The Appalachian Center for Wilderness Medicine held its annual Advanced Wilderness Life Support last month in Black Mountain, NC. The course, the longest running AWLS class in the southeastern United States, capped again at forty students. Our AWLS students this year studied a wide array of wilderness and environmental topics, as well as taking on a ropes course at YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly, our remarkable home facility for this course. Other bonuses of this course, new this year, were a public lecture night with bonus lectures at Mountain Area Health Center's Asheville conference center and a pre-course ice cream social the night before course start for early arrivals. Students received over 20 hours of continuing education and once again submitted strong reviews of our deep faculty and staff, drawn from many of the top wilderness medicine educators and practitioners in the southern Appalachian region. We're now beginning planning for our 2016 course -- stay tuned to for more information!

AppWildMed gets Wild at GO Fest!  

This is the fifth year of Roanoke, VA’s GO Fest!  The Anthem Go Outside Festival is an annual event to encourage healthy, active outdoor recreation.  By combining the things outdoor enthusiasts love – camping, music, gear, races, and demos, and a beautiful outdoor setting – GO Fest is a celebration of everything outdoors.
In its first year this free event saw an estimated attendance of 4,500 people.  In 2014 that attendance was estimated at 22,000 people.  For the math-challenged, that is a 225% growth over 4 years!  The Appalachian Center for Wilderness Medicine (ACWM) has had a booth at the Go Outside Festival since year one and we will be back again this year!!

ACWM offers brief demonstrations that are designed to give you a taste of what you could learn if you attended a class.  We also actively advertise all upcoming courses offered by ACWM and our affiliates.  Our booth is manned by ACWM board members and volunteers.  Students from the nearby medical programs assist in the teaching of the demonstrations…as well as being our patients!  This is a full weekend event and we are always looking for more volunteers!  There will be live music, local food and breweries, lots of outdoor vendors, bike demos and free bike shuttles, hypothermic wrap demos, kayak & SUP demos, pump track, slacklines, Epi-pen use demos, climbing wall, Huffy bike toss competition, throw rope lassoing, tons of activities for the whole family.  Oh and did I mention it is all Free?!?!  So come and join us and check out GO Fest October 16-18, 2015!
Contact to volunteer :


The Ski Season Cometh- Larry Jones

As the sun sets and cooler temperatures approach, thoughts turn to skiing, snowboarding
and other snow sports.  In order to make the most of the upcoming winter season, let’s make sure we’re prepared for the adventures that await us. First of all, have we maintained our physical conditioning, cardio endurance, flexibility and strength.  If not, we’ve got a couple of months to hit the trail, bike, stepper, elliptical or other favorite aerobic activity to rebuild our endurance. Alternate your aerobic workouts with strength builders concentrating on the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, thighs, calves, abs and back.  This is also the time to check out your snowsports gear.  Did you get your skis tuned up at the end of last year like you said you would?  If not, tune the edges or get them professionally tuned and get the bindings checked to make sure they will release when they need to. For the more adventurous among us, make sure your have the appropriate gear to explore the backcountry, including at least an avalanche beacon, probe pole and shovel.  Check your beacon, install fresh batteries and grab a few friends and practice a search to refresh your skills.  Consider taking a basic avalanche course if you haven’t had one, and include some basic survival gear in your pack to deal with that unexpected night out in the mountains.  Have fun and be safe!!

Research Committee - Michael J. Caudell, MD, FACEP, FAWM, DiMM
We are moving forward with the Wilderness Event Medicine project thanks to the strong leadership of Linda Laskowski-Jones.   The paper has been submitted and is the process of being revised. ACWM is well represented in this effort with lead and contributing authors Linda Laskowski-Jones, MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM;  Michael J. Caudell, MD, FACEP, FAWM, DiMM; Seth C. Hawkins, MD, MFAWM and Lawrence J. Jones, 3rd, BA, NREMT, FAWM.  Thank you to everyone involved!
If you have an idea for a research project or are interested in participating in an ongoing project, please email me at
Newsletter Update

Do you have a cool case? Interesting photos? If you have a wilderness or environmental issue that may be of interest, please forward it to the ACWM editorial committee for inclusion in an upcoming issue of the newsletter.Please submit to Richard Salkowe at:


Medicinal and Edible Plants: mayapple

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) is found throughout the Southern Appalachians and has a long history of medicinal applications. This plant grows to approximately 1-1 ½ ft in height and exhibits palmate lobed umbrella-like leaves. All
portions of the plant are toxic for consumption except the very ripe fruit. However, the purified pharmaceutical extracts from this plant contain Podophyllotoxin which is utilized for the treatment of benign papillomas. Mayapple has historical uses as an emetic, purgative and antihelmenthic. The plant contains biosynthetic enzymes that produce a compound which is a direct precursor to the anticancer agent, etoposide (O'Connor).

1. O'Connor, S. 2015. Fighting Cancer While Saving the Mayapple. Science. 349: 6253(1167-1168).
If you have a natural remedy or wild edible that may be of interest please forward it to the ACWM editorial committee for inclusion in an upcoming issue of the newsletter.



Michael J. Caudell, MD, FACEP, FAWM, DiMM:

Really?  A call to arms?  Is there an actual battle we need to be fighting?   Aren’t wilderness people peaceful-granola-eating-craft-beer-drinking-treehuggers?  You know, the camping guys, right?   (I have been accused of being a “closet” tree-hugger.  I’m still not sure exactly what that means). Truthfully, it s a battle against complacency in which we must engage.   Check out .  
The page begins with this: “OUR MISSION: The Appalachian Center for Wilderness Medicine is a regional non-profit organization dedicated to promoting quality medical care in limited resource ("wilderness") environments.   There is more info about ACWM there too.   I think it’s worth reading just to keep us grounded.  Significant interest in wilderness medicine within our region resulted in a need for ACWM to adapt, and a few years ago we changed our “corporate structure” and formed committees.  The Steering Committee became the Advisory Council.    So what is my point?

We need the input of our Advisory Council!  The minimum: submit a bio and agree to receive our newsletter.   Are you interested in just the minimum?  Here’s the question – do you want to affect the future of wilderness medicine in the Appalachian region?   How will you do that?  One way is to get involved in a committee of the ACWM. Here they are – contact the chair of the committee in which you are interested:

• Operations: really running the nuts and bolts of ACWM. The website, newsletter, social media/Facebook presence, ACWM products and the calendar are all current projects. Contact
• Training: This involves mainly our annual AWLS course but we are also working on other projects, such as the Trailside First Aid Clinic and Go Fest (see elsewhere in this newsletter).New ideas are always welcome, especially since we are dedicated to promoting quality medical care in limited resource ("wilderness") environments. Lets promote them! Contact
• Research: ACWM wants to foster research in wilderness medicine originating in our region. We have a few more projects in the works in addition to the project reported in the research committee update. If you have any research question or idea, be it clinical, practical, or basic science oriented, please contact want to foster communication between those wilderness medicine practitioners and researchers within our region let us connect you!
• Community Outreach: Some of the training opportunities mentioned above fall under community outreach as well. We always want to make those who venture out into wilderness areas more educated and informed regarding the health and safety of themselves and others. This may not necessarily be a training event or a class. It may be hosting a table at an event or maybe a quick evening info session at your local outdoor store. We want to support this type of activity in the Appalachian region. If you have an idea or want to help with one of our existing outreach ideas, please contact
Please considergetting involved in some way with any or all of these committees. Improving communication and involvement in Wilderness Medicine within our region is what region is what we are trying to accomplish – it’s a call to arms to enlist your help!!