Teaching philosophy

Barefoot Wild Med prides itself on creating a safe and engaging learning space for anyone interested in becoming better prepared to handle medical situations in any environment. We believe that the best place to screw up is during your wilderness medicine course—not after—and therefore strive to create a comfortable, low-stakes classroom environment where you can fail safely and learn from your mistakes. Our teaching philosophy centers around empowering students to think critically for themselves and to truly understand why they are doing what they are doing so they can transfer knowledge and skills to new situations. Students learn to follow a clear system to determine what problems do exist and—just as importantly—don't exist for their patient. By creating an accurate list that includes both current and anticipated problems, we can come up with the best plan for our specific circumstance. The curriculum, developed by Wilderness Medical Associates International (WMAI), simplifies the medicine with a systems based approach. Fatal injuries or illness stem from only three body systems: the nervous system, the respiratory system, and the circulatory system. In brief, as long as blood is going round and round under pressure and enough air is going in and out of your body to keep your brain functionally normally, you're good to go. ​ It's not helpful if you have only memorized treatments learned from your instructor, field guide, or other books. In order to be truly successful, you must be able to transfer your knowledge to varying conditions. Simplifying the medicine and naming your problems allows you to focus on treatments that are practical for your environment.

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Meet KAtie

Hi, I'm Katie Woods, owner and lead instructor of Barefoot Wild Med.  I'm an educator and lover of learning new things, licensed health care provider (athletic trainer, WEMT, ski patroller), and outdoor enthusiast (primarily boating, hiking, camping, biking & skiing).  I'm born and raised WV, lived in Salt Lake for quite a bit, and currently call Hamilton, MT home. I've lived there since June 2021 with my husband Taylor and our two pups, Shiner and Kari. My career in wilderness medicine began at Massanutten Resort (woot, woot) outside of Harrisonburg, Virginia as a ski patroller in 2006. Since then, I've applied my personality, knowledge, and skills to other fun challenges like white water raft guiding, volunteer search and rescuing, assistant professor-ing, and as an athletic trainer in various settings. I love school and, along with a BS in Athletic Training from James Madison University (go Dukes), earned a MS in Exercise and Sport Science with a concentration in Sports Medicine and a M.Ed. in Instructional Design and Educational Technology, both from the University of Utah. My teaching journey with Wilderness Medical Associates International (WMAI) began in 2014 and I started Barefoot Wild Med as a WMAI Licensed Training Company in fall 2020. As such, I'm authorized to teach WMAI's wilderness medicine curriculum and certify students under their name. That means, when you graduate from one of my courses, your cert comes from WMA but you are supporting my small business at the same time. Teaching is my passion and I'm proud to share the WMA wilderness medicine curriculum with you. I am so incredibly grateful to be able to combine my multiple interests into a fulfilling career.  I'm so glad you've found Barefoot Wild Med, please let me know if I can answer any questions for you. Also, if you have any interest in teaching wilderness medicine courses and want to know what it takes, let's chat!

Ready to adventure a lot more prepared?