Remote and Polar Health

Designed primarily for doctors, nurses, and paramedics with a background or interest in working in a wide range of remote and expedition environments, this stream provides the opportunity to study key clinical and non-clinical topics that are essential for remote practitioners.

The course is delivered primarily online, however there are optional modules that involve face-to-face practical skills teaching.

The specialised units are mostly clinical in nature and combine with the core Master of Public Health units to form an academically rigorous, yet practical degree. Students will be guided through a workplace-based research project as part of their degree, with the aim of achieving one or more publications.

This unique program was developed in collaboration with the Australian Antarctic Division, and is taught by clinicians with extensive experience working in various remote and extreme environments around the world.

For the full course unit options for the Master of Public Health, visit the Course and Unit Handbook.

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact Stream Co-ordinator Edi Albert (edi.albert@utas.edu.au) prior to enrolling.

CAM503: Introduction to Remote and Polar Health

This unit examines various aspects of providing health care in remote and extreme environments which includes the:

  • Characteristics of different remote populations
  • Special challenges faced in caring for them
  • Common problems encountered
  • Different approach to risk management and extended clinical care provision

Tele-health is a growing medium for providing clinical care and this unit examines some innovative approaches that can be translated into your own practice.

Familiarity with topics such as population health, point of care testing and disaster planning are essential for a remote health practitioner due to the broad scope of roles required from their practice. These topics are all covered, using case studies and examples from systems and protocols developed for use in Antarctica.

The remote health care practitioner inevitably takes on a wide range of administrative and leadership roles, from managing a cardiac arrest to advising on job safety assessments for high risk work. The geographical isolation of many sites requires considerable logistical planning – whether it be for stocking and re-supplying the facility or for evacuating a critically ill patient. These topics are examined with a mixture of academic and practical approaches.

CAM619: Medicine in Extreme Environments

This unit discusses the concept of extreme environments - the peculiar challenges, living and working in them and the natural physiological changes that occur – and examines environments individually; along with the unique clinical conditions that occur within them.

Students will examine the following environments:

  • cold
  • high altitude
  • desert
  • aero-space
  • maritime
  • underwater

Finally, as has often been said "...if you can’t look after yourself, how can you look after your patient?" To ensure that you can look after yourself we provide an introduction to a suite of non-medical topics we consider essential for practicing in remote and extreme environments.

We provide practical elective units that focus on skills that are less readily acquired in a normal hospital or clinical setting.

Expedition Medicine

This 8 day residential course has been adapted from a long running and successful program that has been delivered in Nepal and Tasmania. The course will be run in Tasmania and taught through interactive presentations, skills stations and complex multi-faceted scenarios designed to test you physically, mentally and sometimes emotionally. This course covers:

  • Pre-expedition medical planning
  • Wilderness emergency response
  • Use of stretchers and splints
  • Search and rescue
  • Steep terrain rescue and safety on steep ground
  • Navigation
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Remote area communications

This unit has some pre and post course tasks and assessment, or can be undertaken as a stand-alone course with professional CPD accreditation (ACRRM accreditation for PDP and Emergency Medicine Procedural Training Grant).

A valid visa is required for international students studying the Expedition Medicine course.

Practical Skills for Remote Practice

This unit provides a curriculum and assessment framework for a range of skills and procedures. These include:

  • Taking x-rays
  • Performing real time ultrasound
  • Dentistry skills
  • Regional anesthesia
  • Basic intensive care skills

Students may arrange their own clinical placements, or attend existing short courses to gain the practical experience required. The Faculty have a wide network of contacts that can assist with finding projects and remote and expedition placements. We will help with arranging these where possible.

There are endless opportunities for working in remote and polar environments, from life-long careers in paid employment to short term voluntary positions. Please email edi.albert@utas.edu.au if you would like your organisation or project added to this page.

Career Opportunities (PDF 149kb)

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