Wilderness Medicine

The Wilderness & Environmental Medicine Program is a collaboration between New York-Presbyterian Emergency Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell Outdoor Education, and Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Our goal is to apply the highest academic standards to education and research involving medical care in austere conditions.


Through medical student electives, CME courses, and research collaborations, the Program seeks to broaden medical care beyond the walls of our institutions. The knowledge and skills of medical care in austere environments are relevant to physicians treating patients in wilderness and disaster settings; as well as to physicians planning to work in global health or regional, humanitarian medical-response teams.


The medical student elective in wilderness and environmental medicine is designed for fourth-year medical students. This two-week elective involves both classroom-based and field-based learning, covering a breadth of topics such as accidental hypothermia and frostbite; heat illness and heat stroke; high-altitude medicine; animal and insect bites; poisonous plants; injuries and illnesses during expeditions; diving and submersion injuries; search and rescue; field water purification; and basic survival in wilderness or disaster settings. The classroom component is based in New York City, at the teaching campuses affiliated with New York-Presbyterian Hospital. The field component is taught in collaboration with Cornell Outdoor Education (https://coe.cornell.edu) and takes place in New York State’s Adirondack Mountains. Students hike and camp while participating in realistic, simulated rescue-scenarios, under the close and supportive teaching of faculty preceptors. Beyond practical medical skills, students also develop a sense of teamwork, leadership, and self-reliance, all while appreciating the beauty of the wilderness.

How to Apply

Given the restrictions on education caused by the novel coronavirus, application to the medical student elective is currently suspended. The next elective is tentatively planned for May 2021, and information on applying will become available on this website in anticipation of that time.

Program Contact Information

For additional program and application information or questions, please contact:

Christopher Tedeschi, M.D. 
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine 
Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Email: ct2122@columbia.edu

Flavio G. Gaudio, M.D. 
Assistant Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine 
Weill Cornell Medicine
Email: flg9002@med.cornell.edu

Contact us for any questions about the Wilderness Medicine

Mailing Address
New York-Presbyterian Hospital
Weill Cornell Medical Center
Department of Emergency Medicine
525 E. 68th St., Box 179
New York, NY 10065

Office of the Chair
Emergency Medicine
525 E. 68th St., M-130
New York, NY 10065
(212) 746-0780

Residency Office
530 E. 70th St., M-127
New York, NY 10021
(212) 746-0892

Research Office
525 E. 68th St., M-130
New York, NY 10065

Leading Emergency Care