News & Features — 18 September 2016 at 1:00 pm

Extreme Conferencing in Edinburgh

It’s a bumper year for conferences in Adventure Medic’s spiritual home of Edinburgh. World Extreme Medicine and Student Wilderness Medicine UK are both round the corner and we can’t wait to catch up with you all there. In preparation, we caught up with WEM’s Mark Hannaford to hear what’s in store.

Hi Mark, what have you got planned for us?

The original concept of the conference came from a realisation that within pre-hospital care, expedition, disaster, humanitarian and extreme medicine, similar groups of highly motivated and exceptionally skilled medics existed, and that the types of medicine practiced and actually the ‘types’ of medics involved were also very similar.

We want to build a platform where we can share best practice, research and experience and also create a network to enable people to move across disciplines more easily. As the conference has developed we’ve introduced more sub disciplines most notably, last year endurance sports medicine, aided by Dr Helen Grimsmo, herself a remarkable athlete. With the Olympics now behind us we are looking forward to hearing about some of the medicine behind this years’ GB team’s remarkable successes.

Whilst the daily headings have broadly stayed the same, the content is very different with a number of ‘Core Concepts’ now finding a home as optional workshops. New for this year, is a focus on vulnerable populations and a tie in with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) to deliver an abridged version of their Excellence Series.

Having experimented with a range of workshops at last years’ event, where we were overwhelmed with their popularity, we have built a similarly diverse range of optional sessions into this year gathering ranging from Expedition Dentistry presented by the amazing Dr Burjor Langdana, ultrasound workshops presented by our colleagues at GE to ‘Anaesthesia equipment for the travelling anaesthetist’ and ‘The surgical airway, where, when and how.’

We really enjoyed some of the animal biology stuff last time…

Great! We’ve continued our relationship with the Society of Experimental Biology to provide two sessions where we look at how the animal kingdom performs and adapts to extremes, and how we might relate that back to human medicine.

Why did you make the move to Edinburgh?

For the past five years, aside from one visit to Harvard Medical School, we have based the conference in London primarily at the Royal Society of Medicine, so this year’s move to Scotland was made with a little trepidation. However, we’re delighted at how it’s all turned out.  The warm welcome from all the Scots folk we’re engaged with and the ease of navigating Edinburgh is a real treat and we even managed to catch a glimpse of medics ‘Parkouring’ to the venue.

What are you looking forward to most about the conference?

With the world and indeed the NHS changing in ways we hadn’t considered five years ago, when we first started the conference series, it now provides an amazing, inspiring place to hear first-hand from doctors and medics who use their medical degrees in the most remarkable ways, who have stepped away from traditional training pathways and who are only too happy to share their experiences

Personally it’s the energy and vibrancy of getting so many inspiring people together in one place for four days it’s a chance to catch up with old friends meet new and create new ideas and hear incredible stories.

Photo: Edinburgh at Night (Matt Wilkes)