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Urban wilderness first aid opportunity: Street Medics

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binko

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Anyone with a bit of a left-of-center political bent (or not, you do you) and interest in what basically amounts to urban wilderness emergency first aid with a bit of community care mixed in, should check out the action medic movement. In particular, the Rust Belt Medics (https://www.facebook.com/rustbeltmedics/) are having trainings to prepare more medics for the RNC protests in Cleveland. If you're interested in an opportunity to learn some useful skills and get some really unique experiences, they're having one more 20-hour training (for non-medical-professional types, it's an 8-hour bridge training for medical pros, doctors, EMTs, etc.) before the RNC starts.

I have no idea what adcoms think of this, if anything. I'm not endorsing this as a resumé-padding opportunity but rather as a really amazing opportunity to get to learn from and help people with an amazingly varied set of skills and backgrounds in a really unique type of situation. They pair all new people with an experienced buddy, and everyone is free to choose what situations to expose themselves to, to their own comfort level, as long as they communicate with their buddy about it.

The group has some contact with local EMTs to coordinate smooth handoffs where necessary.

If you're excited about Helping People™ it's a pretty direct way to do it. Also if the RNC is too rowdy for you, you can still do the training and medic in your local area at less raucous protests/rallies/events. Or not — there is no requirement for a commitment to use your training in service of any street medic affiliated group. You can just do it for your own skills and amusement if you want.

Just wanted to let people know that this exists and the RNC presents a really unique opportunity. They will probably also be at the DNC but it'll be coordinated by a different local collective most likely.

I'm not a member of Rust Belt Medics nor do I speak on their behalf, I just really like them.
 

Mansamusa

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That sounds like a good EC to rub some adcoms the wrong way. I wouldn't mention the political parts on AMCAS lol
 
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Anyone with a bit of a left-of-center political bent (or not, you do you) and interest in what basically amounts to urban wilderness emergency first aid with a bit of community care mixed in, should check out the action medic movement. In particular, the Rust Belt Medics (https://www.facebook.com/rustbeltmedics/) are having trainings to prepare more medics for the RNC protests in Cleveland. If you're interested in an opportunity to learn some useful skills and get some really unique experiences, they're having one more 20-hour training (for non-medical-professional types, it's an 8-hour bridge training for medical pros, doctors, EMTs, etc.) before the RNC starts.

I have no idea what adcoms think of this, if anything. I'm not endorsing this as a resumé-padding opportunity but rather as a really amazing opportunity to get to learn from and help people with an amazingly varied set of skills and backgrounds in a really unique type of situation. They pair all new people with an experienced buddy, and everyone is free to choose what situations to expose themselves to, to their own comfort level, as long as they communicate with their buddy about it.

The group has some contact with local EMTs to coordinate smooth handoffs where necessary.

If you're excited about Helping People™ it's a pretty direct way to do it. Also if the RNC is too rowdy for you, you can still do the training and medic in your local area at less raucous protests/rallies/events. Or not — there is no requirement for a commitment to use your training in service of any street medic affiliated group. You can just do it for your own skills and amusement if you want.

Just wanted to let people know that this exists and the RNC presents a really unique opportunity. They will probably also be at the DNC but it'll be coordinated by a different local collective most likely.

I'm not a member of Rust Belt Medics nor do I speak on their behalf, I just really like them.


I only recently heard about the existence of "wilderness medicine and physicians", and I don't know anything about it. However, I think it sounds like something I'd be interested in doing. I haven't looked much into this information you've posted (it's something political?) but do you know if there are any nationwide organizations/groups that teach this kind of stuff? I'd be interested in learning about it. I do not live anywhere near Ohio or Michigan
 

binko

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I only recently heard about the existence of "wilderness medicine and physicians", and I don't know anything about it. However, I think it sounds like something I'd be interested in doing. I haven't looked much into this information you've posted (it's something political?) but do you know if there are any nationwide organizations/groups that teach this kind of stuff? I'd be interested in learning about it. I do not live anywhere near Ohio or Michigan

There are all kinds of wilderness medicine type courses and groups that are not political at all and I know not much about them, maybe other people on here can comment.

The action medic movement has a whole history since the 60s/70s of coming out of protest movements for civil rights and that kind of thing. The unique type of urban wilderness created when the authorities deem an area to be in a state of "civil unrest" that is inaccessible or less accessible to EMTs is a very particular case of "wilderness medicine" and the action medic movement grew from the need for some kind of stopgap first aid and/or triage in those types of situations, so it's pretty political. The groups that fall under the street medic or action medic umbrella that I've seen are willing to train anyone of any political affiliation, and will also obviously assist anyone in urgent distress without distinction as to political affiliation. That said, the collectives are autonomous, not part of an official network, so there is some local variation. In my experience, the medics and trainers are pretty explicitly political in their own philosophy and orientation and so you'll probably be most comfortable among that group if you're left-leaning. However, I know of at least one person who self-identified as a Trump supporter asked to be trained and was not turned away or anything, although I don't think they chose to attend the training after learning more about it.
 

LizzyM

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"Urban wilderness" and "wilderness" are two different things. I just got a mailing today from U Colorado which is offering a two-week wilderness medicine training program with a very high price tag. http://www.coloradowm.org/courses/pre-med/colorado-emergency-wilderness-medicine/

We all bleed red. I would not expect an adcom member to criticize someone who provided emergency services to anyone in need, regardless of that person's political persuasion. In fact, I'd expect criticism if you were not willing to provide services to some people because of their politics.
 

numbersloth

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"Urban wilderness" and "wilderness" are two different things. I just got a mailing today from U Colorado which is offering a two-week wilderness medicine training program with a very high price tag. http://www.coloradowm.org/courses/pre-med/colorado-emergency-wilderness-medicine/

Do adcoms know/check whether programs are pricey or not? Does it effect your opinion of the applicant? I personally work and save up during the year in order to be able to afford payed programs or unpaid internships if I find them interesting but I don't want to take part in them if they reflect negatively on me.
 

LizzyM

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Do adcoms know/check whether programs are pricey or not? Does it effect your opinion of the applicant? I personally work and save up during the year in order to be able to afford payed programs or unpaid internships if I find them interesting but I don't want to take part in them if they reflect negatively on me.

I've never looked at the prices of these things before... I wouldn't have looked it up except that I had already deleted the email and I wanted to link to the program. Some adcoms will note that a given applicant didn't do certain things and there will be other members of the committee who will point out that some of these experiences are expensive not to mention the opportunity cost of not working at a paying job.

I've never criticized any one for participating in an activity but how you describe and process that activity can bite you in the butt (some of the culturally insensitive things I've heard from students who have been abroad either to study or to "serve" would curl your hair or make you laugh).
 

numbersloth

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I've never criticized any one for participating in an activity but how you describe and process that activity can bite you in the butt (some of the culturally insensitive things I've heard from students who have been abroad either to study or to "serve" would curl your hair or make you laugh).

On that note, how do you view 1-2 week medical "service" trips like Global Medical Brigades? They always seemed to me like they are just students putting on scrubs and pretending to be doctors in other countries, but they are very popular among pre-medical students at my college.
 

LizzyM

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On that note, how do you view 1-2 week medical "service" trips like Global Medical Brigades? They always seemed to me like they are just students putting on scrubs and pretending to be doctors in other countries, but they are very popular among pre-medical students at my college.
True but I haven't seen it become a deal breaker.
 
D

deleted647690

"Urban wilderness" and "wilderness" are two different things. I just got a mailing today from U Colorado which is offering a two-week wilderness medicine training program with a very high price tag. http://www.coloradowm.org/courses/pre-med/colorado-emergency-wilderness-medicine/

We all bleed red. I would not expect an adcom member to criticize someone who provided emergency services to anyone in need, regardless of that person's political persuasion. In fact, I'd expect criticism if you were not willing to provide services to some people because of their politics.

Wow thanks for the link. That looks like a great program, but it's sooo expensive.....I don't know anything about wilderness medicine, but it sounds like something that would be full of adventure
 
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Perrotfish

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Anyone with a bit of a left-of-center political bent (or not, you do you) and interest in what basically amounts to urban wilderness emergency first aid with a bit of community care mixed in, should check out the action medic movement. In particular, the Rust Belt Medics (https://www.facebook.com/rustbeltmedics/) are having trainings to prepare more medics for the RNC protests in Cleveland. If you're interested in an opportunity to learn some useful skills and get some really unique experiences, they're having one more 20-hour training (for non-medical-professional types, it's an 8-hour bridge training for medical pros, doctors, EMTs, etc.) before the RNC starts.

I have no idea what adcoms think of this, if anything. I'm not endorsing this as a resumé-padding opportunity but rather as a really amazing opportunity to get to learn from and help people with an amazingly varied set of skills and backgrounds in a really unique type of situation. They pair all new people with an experienced buddy, and everyone is free to choose what situations to expose themselves to, to their own comfort level, as long as they communicate with their buddy about it.

The group has some contact with local EMTs to coordinate smooth handoffs where necessary.

If you're excited about Helping People™ it's a pretty direct way to do it. Also if the RNC is too rowdy for you, you can still do the training and medic in your local area at less raucous protests/rallies/events. Or not — there is no requirement for a commitment to use your training in service of any street medic affiliated group. You can just do it for your own skills and amusement if you want.

Just wanted to let people know that this exists and the RNC presents a really unique opportunity. They will probably also be at the DNC but it'll be coordinated by a different local collective most likely.

I'm not a member of Rust Belt Medics nor do I speak on their behalf, I just really like them.

It sounds like you're proposing to practice medicine without a license or supervision on American citizens. This is a horrific idea, and arguably an illegal one.

I'm glad you want to help, and I'm not saying these guys have bad motives. However 20 hours of training is not sufficient for you to have the slightest clue what to do with even routine medical complaints, let alone an actual emergency. You don't need to be in a club to provide routine CPR if someone keels over beside you, and 20 hours of training is not enough to do anything else. I do not trust you to recognize and deal with respiratory distress or trauma, and if you get the opportunity I am certain you will screw it up. That would be fine, of course, it were that or nothing, but what I suspect you would do in an emergency is to triage and treat people who otherwise might have looked for and found real medical attention, but who instead came to you believing that you were a qualified medical professional. In an emergency, a small amount of knowledge is very dangerous. Take the red cross CPR and first aid courses at your local hospital, but then please don't identify yourself as a 'medic' of any kind. If someone needs help call 911, then go do what you can and clearly identify yourself as a bystander

I would also point out that there is no 'urban wildreness', at least not in the US. There has never been a protest that resulted in so many injuries that it overwhelmed EMS. That's not a thing. There is no need here for you to fill.
 
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Perrotfish

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Wow thanks for the link. That looks like a great program, but it's sooo expensive.....I don't know anything about wilderness medicine, but it sounds like something that would be full of adventure

There are many similar programs. I'm told anything from Nols is awesome for wilderness exposure and you can get college credit: http://www.nols.edu/. They also have a wilderness medicine elective, though its for medical students. I think they have a wilderness EMT program as well, and apparently even a wilderness medicine and rescue semester, if you really want to get into this. http://www.nols.edu/courses/wilderness-medicine-and-rescue-semester/

Or you could wait until you're a doctor and start pursuing the fellowship in wilderness medicine: http://wms.org/fawm/. Because its for a degree, so you can totally justify going camping for a month
 
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Perrotfish

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In particular, the Rust Belt Medics (https://www.facebook.com/rustbeltmedics/) .

One more thing, when I see someone advertise this: http://www.bolineapothecary.com/new-events/2016/3/8/w9jxmlvf45c7yx2fmhk0us6fwu5gsh

I think this

1*snTXFElFuQLSFDnvZKJ6IA.png


There are multiple different posts for 'herbal first aid' training on the rust belt medic facebook page.
 
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<L>

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Something about the term "urban wilderness" sounds a little...

...suburban.
 

binko

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Something about the term "urban wilderness" sounds a little...

...suburban.


It sounds like you're proposing to practice medicine without a license or supervision on American citizens. This is a horrific idea, and arguably an illegal one.

I'm glad you want to help, and I'm not saying these guys have bad motives. However 20 hours of training is not sufficient for you to have the slightest clue what to do with even routine medical complaints, let alone an actual emergency. You don't need to be in a club to provide routine CPR if someone keels over beside you, and 20 hours of training is not enough to do anything else. I do not trust you to recognize and deal with respiratory distress or trauma, and if you get the opportunity I am certain you will screw it up. That would be fine, of course, it were that or nothing, but what I suspect you would do in an emergency is to triage and treat people who otherwise might have looked for and found real medical attention, but who instead came to you believing that you were a qualified medical professional. In an emergency, a small amount of knowledge is very dangerous. Take the red cross CPR and first aid courses at your local hospital, but then please don't identify yourself as a 'medic' of any kind. If someone needs help call 911, then go do what you can and clearly identify yourself as a bystander

I would also point out that there is no 'urban wildreness', at least not in the US. There has never been a protest that resulted in so many injuries that it overwhelmed EMS. That's not a thing. There is no need here for you to fill.

I think you may not be understanding that I'm not "proposing" anything I'm telling you about a collective of groups that you can opt not to join if you don't like them.

The "wilderness" descriptor means over an hour from definitive care. An urban area can quickly become a wilderness situation when there are conditions like I've described.

The problem isn't that the volume of serious injuries overwhelms EMS, it's that EMS are not allowed into the area so anyone with serious issues needs to be transported out by someone already in the area. Also, street medics treat a lot of minor ailments and prevent them from becoming worse. Lots of identifying people becoming overheated or dehydrated and convincing them to drink water and sit in the shade. Also lots of helping people find their inhalers, and calming down panicking people. ER visits go down during protests at which street medics are doing triage.

As for some of the rather... unscientific products recommended by some of the members of the collective, people have different backgrounds and it's an autonomous collective, not a top-down type of structure. There are medical doctors in the group and there are also people who think homeopathy is a thing, but it doesn't make a ton of difference when you're pretty much just handing out bandages and water bottles, and wrapping the odd sprained ankle. The training doesn't include CPR since it's not a "do-no-harm protocol".

As for herbalism specifically, a lot of herbs have pretty widely-accepted medicinal uses. Many of them have scholarly research on their mechanisms of action. Lots of them are the sources for commercial medicines that have been isolated from them.

As far as legal concerns, the training includes the basics of the region's good samaritan laws and the limits of what is legal. Some of these groups have years-long relationships with their city's EMS because they are essential in doing stuff like help coordinate crowds to allow ambulances through, and preventing untrained bystanders from moving patients who shouldn't be moved, putting things in the mouths of seizing individuals, etc. The training also includes a lot of info on how provide the most useful info to 911. Many chapters also work pretty closely with the National Lawyers Guild.

If you don't want to join an autonomous collective and you think anything lacking a hierarchical structure is illegitimate then that's fine, don't join.

We all bleed red. I would not expect an adcom member to criticize someone who provided emergency services to anyone in need, regardless of that person's political persuasion. In fact, I'd expect criticism if you were not willing to provide services to some people because of their politics.

I'm not sure who or what this is responding to.
 
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LizzyM

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"Urban wilderness" and "wilderness" are two different things. I just got a mailing today from U Colorado which is offering a two-week wilderness medicine training program with a very high price tag. http://www.coloradowm.org/courses/pre-med/colorado-emergency-wilderness-medicine/

We all bleed red. I would not expect an adcom member to criticize someone who provided emergency services to anyone in need, regardless of that person's political persuasion. In fact, I'd expect criticism if you were not willing to provide services to some people because of their politics.


I'm not sure who or what this is responding to.

I suppose I was responding to:
That sounds like a good EC to rub some adcoms the wrong way. I wouldn't mention the political parts on AMCAS lol
 

binko

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I suppose I was responding to:

I only mentioned the political bent because it may affect whether it's the type of crowd you want to hang out with all day. When it comes to treating people, there is no distinction. Some of the members may have trouble treating in certain situations, e.g. someone who has been beaten by a police officer may have trouble treating a police officer because of trauma, but that person still has the responsibility to hand off care of that person to someone of equal or higher training. (That particular scenario also never happens because there is always heavy police presence and they get their own guys out faster than we ever could.) Also we always work in groups of at least two, so if one person has some kind of major issue, they can just do crowd control while the other renders aid.

A lot of times there are protests and counter-protests where people on both sides are injured by police, or people from the two sides injure each other. In situations like that it's not only not the practice of anyone I've ever met to attempt to make political distinctions when helping people, it's not really even possible. However, political lines do often prevent people who are in only minor distress from asking us for help, since the more right-leaning crowd is often either unfamiliar with or downright hostile to our presence in the absence of serious emergencies.

It's also not just people participating in the protests that ask us for help. Bystanders, homeless people, etc. have asked people in our groups for help with all kinds of minor aches and pains. We are trained to instruct people to get whatever follow-up care they need but in the case of people in situations such as homelessness, a lot of them can't or won't seek hospital care so we offer them whatever we can to try to hold them over until they are able/willing to be treated by definitive care.

It is also the practice of most of the groups to only go to events where participants explicitly invited them. The demographics that are most aware of their own vulnerability to things like injury from police weapons (tear gas, pepper spray, etc) tend to be ones that left-of-center and they are more familiar with what we do and more interested in having our help. But again, once on the scene, anyone who needs help is someone we offer help to.

I hope that clarifies why I mentioned politics.
 
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binko

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Oh also one more point about herbs, is that they can be purchased with food stamps while over the counter medicines cannot. Someone who wants to reduce minor swelling in a sprained ankle and has no money and only a SNAP card has more access to turmeric root and white willow bark than to aspirin or ibuprofen. Someone experiencing trouble sleeping who can't buy a bottle of melatonin can usually get valerian and chamomile. Someone experiencing stomach upset who can't buy pink bismuth can often get mint and ginger. In immigrant neighborhoods, herbs and plants, especially those that are familiar to their home culture are often sold in wider abundance and variety than medicinal herbs are in more affluent, white, or suburban places. In the latter type of places, herbal remedies are considered a thing for hippies and anti-science weirdos but that situation is not universal. It's fine to be skeptical but it's not fine to be oblivious to people's economic realities and the need to meet them where they're at.

I mention this not because it has anything to do with street medics (although most of us do at least carry ginger chews for people who may get nauseous from fear during protests) but because in my own personal background and experience, herbs and supplements get a bad rap because of a few high-profile woo-woo things like homeopathy.

Even in my own life, my neurologist, who practices at a very well-respected medical institution, has prescribed me supplements and herbs and given me review summaries from scholarly journals on the research related to everything she has recommended. My partner runs all the herbs he takes past his epileptologist and has even been recommended a few by them to help with side effects from his AEDs.

I don't really want to start a huge debate about herbs but I see them getting lumped in with things that are not similar, like homeopathy and reiki (which I agree are clearly woo-woo), in order to discredit all complementary medicine. The trend in allopathic medicine that I have seen seems to be towards including and understanding complementary medicine like herbalism and acupuncture, rather than the historical practice of simply dismissing them.
 
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<L>

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"Where the EMTs can't go"? Huh?
 

binko

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"Where the EMTs can't go"? Huh?

Police often don't let ambulances go into areas they consider too "unstable" meaning the police don't have good control of the area. This happens sometimes in large protests.

Like, EMTs can't bring an ambulance into an area that is still actively being pepper sprayed or where there is still tear gas.

Also it's not uncommon in protests even where police are allowing ambulances in, for crowds to be large and unorganized and require some marshalling to make way for the ambulance. If the police try to do this it often results in more people getting hurt. Street medics are trained in protest communication tactics like the one known as "human microphone" and have relationships with protest organizers to get crowd cooperation that the police can't always get. I've seen human microphone used to get the crowd to transport a person out who was experiencing respiratory distress and it was way faster than it would have been if the police had tried to forcibly clear the area.
 
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Police often don't let ambulances go into areas they consider too "unstable" meaning the police don't have good control of the area. This happens sometimes in large protests.

Like, EMTs can't bring an ambulance into an area that is still actively being pepper sprayed or where there is still tear gas.

Also it's not uncommon in protests even where police are allowing ambulances in, for crowds to be large and unorganized and require some marshalling to make way for the ambulance. If the police try to do this it often results in more people getting hurt. Street medics are trained in protest communication tactics like the one known as "human microphone" and have relationships with protest organizers to get crowd cooperation that the police can't always get. I've seen human microphone used to get the crowd to transport a person out who was experiencing respiratory distress and it was way faster than it would have been if the police had tried to forcibly clear the area.
Maybe the crowd should try not being a--holes?

Why anyone would voluntarily associate with people that obstruct ems is beyond me
 

binko

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Maybe the crowd should try not being a--holes?

Why anyone would voluntarily associate with people that obstruct ems is beyond me

I've never seen a crowd intentionally obstruct EMS.

However I *have* seen police use EMS vehicles to break a crowd to make them easier to disperse, and so have a lot of other people so they don't necessarily know it's there for a real emergency. And sometimes people can't tell police vehicles from EMS vehicles from within a thick, often confused and panicked, crowd.

So it helps to have some crowd communication skills.
 
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