Wilderness Medicine

Wilderness Medicine is a diverse collection of knowledge applied in extremely resource-limited settings away from dedicated medical facilities.  It’s principles are applied in times of natural disaster, social unrest, expedition emergencies, aeromedical evacuation and other austere environments.

South Africa has a unique mix of such environments as well a highly sophisticated medical system, making it a very fertile environment for the advancement of Wilderness Medicine.  The study of Wilderness Medicine includes:

  • Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine
  • Tropical and Travel Medicine
  • High Altitude and Mountaineering Medicine
  • Expedition Medicine
  • Survival, Field Craft and Equipment
  • Safety, Rescue and Evacuation
  • Sports Medicine and Physiology
  • Preventive Medicine, Field Sanitation &
  • Hygiene
  • General Environmental Medicine
  • Improvised and Alternative Medicine
  • Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance
  • Wilderness Emergencies and Trauma Management
  • Wilderness Medicine Faculty Development
  • Wilderness Medicine Research
  • Tactical Combat Casualty Care
  • Aviation Medicine

The Wilderness Emergency Medicine Society is a Special Interest Group of the Emergency Medical Society of South Africa.  It was established to assist South Africa wilderness medicine practitioners to advance their knowledge and achieve recognition.

Our Objectives

Establish a professional forum for the recognition and advancement of wilderness medical professionals

Provide accredited training in wilderness medicine for its members

Encourage the accreditation of its members through the Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine™ by partnering with the Wilderness Medical Society

Advocate for Wilderness Medical Professionals and their patients in the various health and governance forums

Review international wilderness medical protocols and endorse or amend them as appropriate for the South African context

Develop, fund and conduct research into the locally relevant topics of wilderness medicine

Establish a framework to support and promote the publication of peer-reviewed wilderness medicine literature produced by South African practitioners

Foster international cooperation in the development of wilderness medicine throughout Africa

The first task of WEMSSA is to act as a focal point for Wilderness Medical practitioners and establish a forum amongst them. To do this the Society runs a series of seminars in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg on a regular basis.  The Society also hosts an online discussion forum for its members.

The Seminar Series consists of local experts presenting on topics which address the core topics of WMS Academy.  All members and non-members of EMSSA are welcome to join in the seminar series which are CPD accredited and carry credit for the WMS fellowship.

Our Team

Sean Buchanan

Sean Buchanan

Ross Hofmeyer

Ross Hofmeyer

Steering Committee member
Andrew Sheahan

Andrew Sheahan

Steering Committee member
Sean Gottschalk

Sean Gottschalk

Steering Committee member
Jay Matthew

Jay Matthew

Steering Committee member

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