The Austere Medicine program is an introduction to the most vital aspects of medicine in a post-disaster or austere environment and integrates western emergency medicine, sports medicine, wilderness first aid and botanical (herbal) medicine. This is a five-day intensive course held at our San Antonio campus, preceded by a required 12-week online course and 3-day WFA. This course is taught by Dr. Steve Pehrson, M.D., and Sam Coffman.

The online topics include:

  • Fluid balance and resuscitation
  • Shock
  • Surgical wound management
  • Pharmaceuticals for austere and post-disaster environments
  • Introduction to botanical medicine
  • Botanical medicine making
  • Basic botanical materia medica
  • Wound healing and infection management (botanical medicine emphasis)
  • Essential trauma and medical gear
  • Essential botanical medicine
  • Introduction to the physical exam
  • Introduction to musculoskeletal testing and field procedures (sprains, strains, fractures)
  • Wilderness First Aid
  • Clinic planning, setup and management in post-disaster and austere environments

The on-campus portion of the Austere Medicine I program runs for 5 information- and action-packed days.

These 5 days start by putting hands-on practice at the forefront wherever possible. Taking the online, didactic information to the next level and introducing physical techniques is the primary goal.  Subjects during the on-campus, 5-day intensive include:

The on-site lectures and hands-on practice include:

  • Minor Surgery (e.g. suturing techniques, vascular and connective tissue repair, wound debridement)
  • Local anesthesia
  • Infection management
  • Blood replacement techniques
  • Gunshot & complex wound management
  • Musculoskeletal exams
  • Dislocation reduction (shoulder, elbow, finger, hip)
  • Herbal preparations (tinctures, poultices, plasters, washes, oils, honey, prickly pear)
  • Plant ID, harvesting and use
  • Charcoal preparation & use
  • Autoclave methods
  • Clinic and trauma bay setup and management
  • Scenarios & round table discussions through long-term care

Certifications:  ECSI Advanced Wilderness First Aid


Dates: Ocober 21 – 25th, 2019.

Pre-requisites: 3-day WFA certification (or its equivalent)

Completion of the online 12-week Austere Medicine: Trauma online course with a passing grade.

Lodging: Camping is free to any enrolled student, at our 50-acre campus.  There are also hotels within a 10-minute drive of the campus in the 78260 zip code.

Wilderness First Aid Certification: 10/18/19 – 10/20/19.

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