When emergencies strike in the wilderness

Created at CU Anschutz, Coursera’s ‘Wilderness First Aid’ courses now available
By Staff

When emergencies strike in the wilderness

Colorful Colorado is widely known for its 58 climbing peaks over 14,000 feet and year-round recreation including skiing, camping, fishing, hunting, mountain biking and a multitude of other outdoor activities. We are a state where the wilderness is a part of our lives.

But what happens when things go wrong? Do you have the skills to protect and care for yourself, friends and family when experiencing all the outdoor wonder in our state and beyond?

Wilderness First Aid” is the title of a new suite of courses on Coursera created by the Wilderness Medicine Division of the Emergency Medicine Department at CU Anschutz. These courses, known on Coursera as a specialization, are available to all CU faculty, staff and students through CU on Coursera.

This unique area of medicine covers how to respond to injuries and illnesses in low-resource settings (often referred to as “austere”), far from definitive care. If you are traveling to places where you can anticipate being far from patient care, the information in this course will be helpful to you and your fellow travelers. 

Lead instructor Elaine Reno, M.D., is an emergency medicine doctor who has practiced and taught remote medicine in 35 countries. Senior instructor Todd Miner, Ed.D., has led climbs to the six highest summits in North America and led wilderness first aid and medicine classes or programs on six continents. Kellie Schiller assisted with the course, drawing on experience developing the pre-med wilderness medicine educational curriculum. 

The inspiration for the course came through Section Chief Jay Lemery, M.D., who provided all project initiation and oversight. Lemery has served as a CU Anschutz campus liaison for the system office and initiated the highly successful MOOC “Become an EMT.” The Become an EMT specialization launched in 2018, quickly becoming the health care hallmark of the learning platform at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Angie Wright, M.D., who leads that specialization, also contributed as an instructor to the new Wilderness First Aid courses. 

Wilderness First Aid and all other CU content on Coursera are available to all CU faculty, staff and students for free through CU on Coursera. Additionally, certificate courses are offered directly by the Wilderness section at UCHealth at