our message to medical professionals is that a traditional clinical career is not the only option any more
Following the success of the World Extreme Medicine Conference, held in Edinburgh, the organisers have confirmed that they will be bringing together even more of the world’s extreme medicine practitioners in the Scottish capital in 2017.
Mark Hannaford of conference organisers World Extreme Medicine said, “The benefits of bringing together such a diverse group of medical practitioners from around the globe can’t be underestimated.
“Something that we are always aiming to achieve, and that we saw evidence of at the conference in Edinburgh, was the breaking down of traditional siloes between different areas of medicine and science.
“It might initially seem that professionals and academics working in different areas, such as zoology, endurance medicine, space medicine, or bioengineering are working on such different subjects that synergy would be impossible, but this is often not the case.
“We’re incredibly grateful to all of our speakers and attendees who travelled from across the globe to be in Edinburgh. For many, the hard work is just beginning as the contacts and knowledge gained are being put into use to improve the provision of medicine in some of the world’s most austere environments.”
David Weil, Conference Co-Founder, said, “To see so many of the world’s best and brightest come together in Edinburgh really is testament to these incredible people’s commitment to improving outcomes for patients and ensuring that they give the best quality care in whatever situation they might find themselves.
“Extreme medicine is an area that’s in real growth, and our message to medical professionals is that a traditional clinical career is not the only option any more. Extreme medicine can offer practitioners in all areas of medicine a portfolio career which opens up a huge number of options for work and travel.”
Five core disciplines were covered by over 100 key speakers: disaster and humanitarian medicine, extreme, expedition and space medicine, human endurance and sports medicine, prehospital medicine plus biomedical innovation. Highlights included:
Disaster and Humanitarian Medicine
Dr David Nott, an NHS surgeon who spends several months of each year working overseas for Médecins Sans Frontières and the British Red Cross, launched a new charity called Doctors Under Fire in order to co-ordinate the work of specialist humanitarian groups working in dangerous war zones such as Syria and to petition for an end to airstrikes on hospitals and clinics in places such as Aleppo.
Peter Skelton, a London-based physiotherapy and rehabilitation specialist who has worked in emergency teams in Ecuador, Nepal, Gaza, Iraq, the Philippines, Libya, Jordan and Haiti, spoke about the importance of Psychological First Aid training to responders in disaster situations.
Extreme, Expedition and Space Medicine
Speakers came from as far afield as Australia, such as John Cherry, a rural doctor working in Orange, New South Wales, around 150 miles west of Sydney. Dr Cherry has had an incredibly varied career and explained how he created the blueprint for preparing ESA astronauts for medical situations in space.
American MD Will Smith travelled from Jackson, Wyoming, where he is Grand Teton National Park’s Medical Director. He provides consultancy services to extreme medicine and rescue organisations across the world and shared his experiences of practicing medicine in remote and austere locations.
Human Endurance and Sports Medicine
Speakers included the elite sports expert Edinburgh-based Dr Andrew Murray, who has worked for the Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth games. He is also an incredible athlete in his own right, having run 4,300 km from Scotland to the Sahara Desert and completed a husky trek in -40C in Outer Mongolia.
Londoner Eoin Walker is a Pre-Hospital Mass Casualty Incident Management Paramedic with the London Air Ambulance, and discussed prehospital care alongside Zoe Hitchcock. In 2013, Zoe suffered a cardiac arrest whilst shopping in Oxford Street, central London, and Eoin was the first on the scene and re-started her heart.
Mark Hannaford said, “What was heartwarming was to see a huge number of medical students turn out to attend the conference, and to see so many of them inspired to take a career outside of the traditional hospital environment.”
Videos: Being a Doctor Just Became the Most Exciting Career https://vimeo.com/170846844
Extreme and Wilderness Medicine – Our Story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhPrFGFIFXI
Day 1 https://vimeo.com/193835177
Day 2 https://vimeo.com/193835261
Day 3 https://vimeo.com/193835332
Day 4 https://vimeo.com/193835406
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About the World Extreme Medicine Expo:
The World Extreme Medicine Conference and Expo took place at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, EH8 8AS from 18 – 21 November 2016. Bringing together many of the world’s brightest medical minds, it focused on four core disciplines:
• Disaster and humanitarian medicine
• Extreme, expedition and space medicine
• Human endurance and sports medicine
• Prehospital medicine
The conference’s mission was to break down barriers, build bridges and make connections within the extreme medicine community.
The term ‘Extreme Medicine’ was first coined by Mark Hannaford and Dr Sean Hudson as an umbrella term for these extra-clinical medical practices.
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