Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Aerie Courses

Aerie prides itself on teaching the most current emergency and wilderness medicine education by field-tested instructors.  We strive to create environments that are safe for all students, staff, and sponsors.  The mix of lecture-based and hands-on education enables students to be competent care providers in emergencies.  We recognize that this type of instruction is advantageous for some learners and challenging for others; at the same time, we know that hands-on practice is vital to developing the skills needed to provide excellent patient care.  

In Aerie courses, scenarios are utilized to reinforce the lecture topics of the class.  Instructors create simulations that mimic real emergencies so that students can learn vital care-providing skills.  These scenarios often are stressful and/or triggering for students. We understand that mental health and personal safety are of the utmost importance for students, instructors, and care providers. Students are encouraged to opt out from a particular scenario (as a patient, care provider, or observer) if needed.  We encourage students to communicate, privately, with an instructor in their class if they are uncomfortable participating in any scenario or topic for their own health.  If that is not possible, please seek out a representative from within your organization so critical information can be relayed to the instructing team. At the same time, it is essential for students to recognize that they may face the same or similar situations after their training; these simulations are opportunities for students to practice and learn how they will respond in a real-life situation and to practice the skills needed to treat real injuries/illnesses.  

Some degree of physical contact is necessary during a course in order to practice and improve assessment techniques, especially during practice scenarios. We realize that this can be uncomfortable for students who may not have practiced being in close contact with others on a regular basis.  At the WFR level and above, Aerie requires students to demonstrate adequate assessment skills/techniques which may include taking pulses, completing head-to-toe exams, and performing splinting/bleed control/wound cleaning on simulated injuries, amongst other hands-on skills. Especially during these hands-on situations, rude or illicit behavior will not be tolerated, even if it is in a joking manner.  Students are not required to be a patient during scenarios and can still successfully complete class if they opt out of being a patient. Please approach an Aerie instructor or contact your organization supervisor if you or a peer is not comfortable with the level of physical contact during the course.

Our students, employees, sponsors, and your future patients will come from diverse political, religious, racial, and economic backgrounds and experiences. We require our instructors and students to respect this diversity by not making comments that offend or threaten individuals for their beliefs or identity.

Aerie has worked to eliminate unneeded gender-specific and binary terminology and references. Within medicine, care providers must navigate nuances of gender and the possibilities of pregnancy and other conditions related to gender and sexual function.  Because of this, our curriculum includes these topics; as responsible care providers and educators, we must consider all possible medical conditions/implications regardless of a person's gender identity. Many medical texts refer to "female anatomy," and while Aerie recognizes that this may not align with gender identities, our instructors may use this term to refer to intact anatomical structures that allow for the possibility of a pregnancy. Instructors are trained to address these topics with care and respect to both people and the medical topic.  During skill practice and scenarios, Aerie encourages individuals to self-select a particular role for scenarios that will best support their personal identity and safety.  At the same time, we ask that students understand our instructors are continuously learning how to navigate these topics with care and to honor identities.

Similarly, Aerie has worked to remove terminology that implies a patient may have a specific skin tone. In medicine, terms like "pink-warm-and-dry" or "pale-cool-and-clammy" are regularly used to describe patient conditions.  Aerie recognizes that this terminology originated during a time when medical research was predominantly focused on white patient outcomes.  However, these terms do accurately describe the perfusion of skin in capillary beds in mucous membranes and nail beds, and therefore see continued use today.  

Aerie Backcountry Medicine and its instructors make every effort to be aware of and reasonably accommodate students with specific needs.  Our focus, simultaneously, is to train exceptional care providers and to meet the needs of an entire class of students.  Please feel free to speak with your instructor(s) if you feel that they could improve their language or behavior to create a more inclusive and equitable space during your Aerie course. We are all learning how to create a space that is safe and inclusive for everyone.

Aerie will not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, disability, socioeconomic status, veteran status, genetic information, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.