Diploma in Mountain Medicine (DiMM)
Looking for a job at Everest ER? If this is a career goal of yours, you need to strongly consider acquiring a Diploma of Mountain Medicine (DiMM). This internationally recognized certification in the field of Wilderness Medicine is awarded to medical providers, nurses, and paramedical professionals who have completed a rigorous training regiment in the technical mountain environment. Only physicians can achieve the diploma, but nurses and paramedics can take the course for a certificate of mountain medicine.
In August 1997, the medical commissions (Medcom) of the Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisime (UIAA) and International Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR), together with the International Society for Mountain Medicine (ISMM) established minimal requirements for the DIMM during a meeting at Interlaken, Switzerland. The standards were later updated in August 2010 during a meeting held in Arequipa, Peru. More info on the history of the DIMM is defined by the UIAA here. Information on how to set up a DIMM course with the specific course requirements can be found on the PDF here.
There are three paths that I was originally aware of to acquire a DiMM, but I recently was informed of a fourth version. All of which are described below.
WILDERNESS MEDICAL SOCIETY (WMS)
The Wilderness Medical Society (WMS) partnered with the University of Utah and University of Colorado to introduce the DiMM to the United States, gaining full recognition in 1997. This course has been endorsed by the UIAA, ICAR, and the ISMM. To enroll, members of the WMS self-identify their intention to acquire a DiMM. The WMS requires attendance to four 1-week long workshops over a 2-3 year period in order to issue participants the DiMM. Two of these sessions are primarily didactics and the other two are primarily skill workshops. Each session is offered once annually and costs approximately $2,000/session (not including travel & lodging). For more information on the WMS DiMM, watch the video below, or visit the informational WMS DiMM website.
THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (DoD)
The U.S. Army’s Department of Emergency Medicine at Madigan Army Medical Center offers a two week intensive course in which interested military (and occasionally civilian) qualified medical providers can accomplish a great deal of the hands-on and didactic experiences required for a DiMM. Located in Tacoma, Washington and involving Madigan faculty from the Austere and Wilderness Medicine (AWM) Fellowship, this course offers a combination of didactic and skills training on Mount Rainier and the surrounding parks of Tacoma, WA. The beauty of this version is that you can knock out almost the entire course in about two weeks. In order to award the DiMM in a shorter period of time than the WMS version, participants complete the UIAA required climbing skills and level I Avalanche Training with an AMGA (or IFMGA) certified guide before or after the course. The AWM Fellowship also hosts an 8-day course run by instructors from the U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School each winter, which can substitute the above required climbing and avalanche skills.
UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO (UNM) SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
Like all courses to acquire a Diploma in Mountain Medicine, the University of New Mexico option is endorsed by the same alpine and mountaineering regulating bodies (UIAA, ICAR, and ISMM). Included in UNM’s DiMM are nearly 200 hours of didactic and practical training in wilderness medicine, which clearly exceeds the minimum requirements to attain a DiMM. UNM SOM partners with the private company, Strike Rescue, to provide all technical rope rescue skill components.
The UNM DiMM is attained by pursuing one of two options: The ‘Online & Seminar Hybrid’ or the ‘Semester-Based Course’. In the former option, students complete an online self-paced didactic schedule and supplement this with one summer and one winter course, each spanning 9 days. The latter route requires students to take 3 full college courses over a 2-semester time period – Austere Medicine, Mountain Medicine & Rope Rescue. Almost all of the training is based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico and conducted throughout the 4 Corners region where the nation’s most impressive vertical landscapes can be found.
In addition to the official site linked above, UNM’s DiMM hosts a Facebook page found here.
UNM SCHOOL OF MEDICINE’S DiMM COURSE
MOUNTAIN MEDICINE SOCIETY OF NEPAL
Mountain Medicine Society of Nepal (MMSN): The fourth option to acquire the DiMM is to go straight to the Himalayas to the valley of Mount Everest where the world’s only 8,000 meter summits reside. This course is also approved by the UIAA, ISMM, and ICAR. The Mountain Medicine Society of Nepal (MMSN) conducts the 4-week course annually and aims to train both Nepalese and international physicians in aspects of mountain medicine. The first course was accomplished in December 2011 and the fourth course is currently scheduled for November 2015.
- There are a variety of other ‘Mountain Medicine courses offered by a variety of institutions, but most of these courses do not share the international recognition and prestige of the Diploma in Mountain Medicine. These alternate mountain medicine courses are offered by a variety of private or academic medical institutions and even the U.S. Navy.