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- Nadia KimmelChief Executive Officer, MS, RN, WEMTWilson, WyomingNadia KimmelChief Executive Officer, MS, RN, WEMT
Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, Nadia was drawn to the Rockies of Colorado as a young adult. She began leading students on month long backpacking trips around the West for various outdoor education companies. Much to her surprise the only medical training that was required of her was basic first aid and CPR certifications.
After completing her first Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course in 1992 she recognized the broader need for a more robust, field-based, wilderness medicine curricula designed specifically for outdoor professionals. Nadia pursued this newfound passion with her usual infectious intensity, and began teaching WFR courses soon thereafter. Her fascination with medicine lead to her receiving an EMT certification in 1994 and subsequently volunteering on SAR and working in various emergency departments around Colorado.
Before founding Desert Mountain Medicine (DMM), Nadia worked for the Wilderness Education Association as an outdoor educator. She also attended Colorado State University and earned a B.S. in Natural Resource Management. Later she was asked to join Colorado Mountain College to help jump start their Outdoor Recreation Leadership program (ORL) in Leadville, CO after which she earned an M.S. in Forestry with an emphasis in Outdoor Recreation from Northern Arizona University. Her combined education and experience as a guide, outdoor educator, medical professional, and wilderness medicine instructor provided her with a solid foundation of knowledge, skills, and perspective to develop and run DMM under her own unique vision in 1998.
After founding DMM Nadia became the EMS coordinator and EMT instructor for Colorado Mountain College, which inspired her to pursue a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) from Regis University. Nadia continued to work as an ER nurse while cultivating DMM and its community from a fledgling, one-woman operation to the expanding business that it is today.
Over two decade later, Nadia continues to contribute to the field of wilderness medicine as part of the Wilderness Medicine Education Collaborative (WEMC) and as DMM’s Executive Director, focusing on curriculum development.
- Jacob RothrockChief Operating Officer, M.Ed, WFRCoeur d'Alene, IdahoJacob RothrockChief Operating Officer, M.Ed, WFR
As a kid, Jacob devotedly roamed the creeks, woods and field borders of North Carolina, staying out past dark whenever possible. He frequently had mosquito bites or poison ivy.
He took his first WFR training as a sophomore at North Carolina State University, and it changed his world. He realized he had learned more in that nine-day course than the entire previous year of college; and he knew what his future would be.
After earning a degree in outdoor recreation he worked an interesting series of outdoor jobs in the rivers, canyons and peaks of North Carolina, Maine, Colorado, New Zealand and Idaho. He landed at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where he ultimately ran the outdoor program. Those were formative years of introducing new people to his beloved wild places and mentoring future leaders.
As fate would have it, he met Nadia and Desert Mountain Medicine while doing a WFR recertification course. He was quickly impressed with the company’s culture, camaraderie and industry leading content. He also appreciates the importance of a solid team.
Jacob is known for climbing steep places with a heavy pack for fun. He has a master’s degree in education leadership and administration, and enjoys learning and teaching new skills. He is based in North Idaho, where he wanders the hills and streams with his wife Korrine and their daughter Siler, still trying to wring every bit of daylight out of each day. Together, they keep a robust backyard garden, forage for wild foods and play with their furry pal, Chella.
- Morgan MatthewsProgram Director, Director of the Women's Wild Med Program, RN, CEN, WFRSanta Fe, New MexicoMorgan MatthewsProgram Director, Director of the Women's Wild Med Program, RN, CEN, WFR
Morgan grew up in the funky, midwestern town of Lawrence, Kansas. At age 17 her dream of playing college soccer was realized when she moved to the heart of San Juan mountains to play at Fort Lewis College. There, she obtained a bachelors degree in Exercise Science while simultaneously developing a love for outdoor recreation. Eventually, the soccer cleats were retired and she found herself swan diving, head first, into anything involving mountain adventures.
Landing her first “real” job in a small Emergency Room in Durango, CO as an ER Technician, she discovered her passion for medicine and followed her dream of becoming and ER Nurse. In 2010 she graduated as an RN and soon thereafter began roving the country as a traveling nurse experiencing many different hospital settings anywhere from large level I trauma centers to small mountain town critical access hospitals.
In 2014, Morgan was the first on scene to tragic accident in a remote Utah Canyon that resulted in six fatalities. The aftermath of the accident left her feeling un-prepared as a solo rescuer in a wilderness setting and subsequently she obtained her WFR and began teaching for DMM in 2015.
Morgan is currently the Program Director for DMM where she has taken on the responsibility of teaching wilderness medicine courses, curriculum writing, and instructor progression. In 2019, she started the Women’s Wild Med Program. Wilderness Medicine courses for women, taught by women. The goal is to highlight and celebrate the women who are shaping outdoor recreation and wilderness medicine, and empower the many millions more who are a vital part of these industries.
In her personal life, Morgan is a connoisseur of mountaintop dance parties and a chaser of sunsets with her dog Pinto Bean. Recreationally, she believes in a balance of relaxing and adventurous outdoor experiences. Some days, she needs a leisurely hike capped off by a summit boogie sesh. On other days she needs to push herself until she questions and reaffirms what her limits really are.
Morgan now calls Northern New Mexico home where she is able to combine her two passions which are Wilderness and Emergency Medicine, as a a ski clinic nurse at the Taos Ski Valley.
- Korinne KriegerAssistant Program Director, BSN-RN, WFRLeadville, ColoradoKorinne KriegerAssistant Program Director, BSN-RN, WFR
Korinne, born and raised in Colorado, has been a registered nurse for 14 years. While her focus has been emergency and wilderness medicine, she also worked in the operating room, interventional radiology, post anesthesia care unit, and outpatient surgery centers. She has worked in hospitals and clinics across the state of Colorado, California, as well as South Africa and Nepal.
Korinne was introduced to the challenges of wilderness medicine first-hand about a decade ago, when she performed CPR on a young man who had been buried in an avalanche. This experience inspired her to expand her hospital training and learn as much as she could about wilderness medicine. Her pursuit of wilderness medicine training took her to Alaska where she volunteered as a nurse for the Denali Rescue Volunteers and worked as an apprentice ski guide for Alaska Heliskiing out of Haines, AK.
While working in Alaska, Korinne met a Desert Mountain Medicine instructor who encouraged her to join the instructor team. In November of 2018 she took the Instructor Training Course and has been teaching for DMM ever since. Outside of teaching for DMM, Korinne owned her own online retail business and also worked behind the scenes on various Discovery Channel and National Geographic TV shows as safety and medical support. These TV contracts took her to remote wilderness areas of Alaska, the Rewa Jungle of Guyana, and the Bahamas to film sharks.
Over the span of four years, Korinne became a connoisseur of movement: she was constantly on the move across states, countries, and continents. While she found that lifestyle adventurous and exciting, it posed many challenges as well. She started to crave consistent work in the wilderness medicine industry while simultaneously feeling part of a family with a like-minded mission. So when DMM needed someone to join their team as the Assistant Program Director, Korinne was thrilled to apply and ultimately get the chance to call DMM and Leadville her home!
- Meagan O'ShaughnessyOperations Manager, EMT-BLeadville, COMeagan O'ShaughnessyOperations Manager, EMT-B
Meagan was born in Brooklyn, NY but spent most of her childhood in the Pocono
Mountains of PA. She eventually moved back to NYC for college, and quickly
subscribed to the daily grind of the 9-5 career. In January of 2020 she quit
everything she knew and moved to Leadville, CO where she immediately
adapted to the mountain town life.
In June of 2020, she became a full status member of Lake County Search and
Rescue, where she is currently serving on command staff and the elected
position of Treasurer. Summer of 2020 was one of LCSAR’s busiest seasons and
she quickly learned the in’s and out’s of mountain rescues.
It was through LCSAR that Meagan was inspired to pursue her EMT-Basic
certification with the intention of serving her local community as well as
channeling it further into wilderness medicine. DMM was a natural fit for her
skills, training, and passions.
When not working or volunteering, Meagan indulges in most Colorado sports,
including hiking and mountain biking. Her greatest passion is climbing - whether
it's rock, ice or alpine. She has directed this love into becoming a Rope Rescue
Technician which is how she spends most of her weekends.
- Jess KnowlesProgram Manager, WEMT, OEC, WFRLeadville, ColoradoJess KnowlesProgram Manager, WEMT, OEC, WFR
Jess started her adventure with wilderness medicine in 2008, taking her first WFR in order to become a raft guide. Since then, she has taught outdoor education, led multi-sport trips domestically and internationally for kids and adults, worked in the conservation corps and taught outdoor education with a variety of other things in between. She kept her WFR certification throughout those years and her interest in medicine eventually led to ski patrol. She is a patroller and OEC instructor for Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado and advanced her medical training to a WEMT. A life-long student, she also earned her Master of the Arts in Outdoor Education Leadership through Prescott College in 2022.
Jess is passionate about getting people outdoors in the capacity that suits them. Teaching wilderness medicine is a great way to build confidence in taking steps outdoors recreationally or as a career. She is thrilled to join the administrative leadership team as Program Manager and bring her unique skill set and experience to DMM. Typically in any outdoor setting, Jess will have pocket bacon, which is exactly what it sounds like.
- Becky YoungAlumni Engagement Coordinator, Writer/Editor, WFRLeadville, ColoradoBecky YoungAlumni Engagement Coordinator, Writer/Editor, WFR
Becky has been a WFR for 10 years and has been teaching for DMM for the past 3 years. As her students know, she is on a quest to become the Best WFR in the World, and encourages all her students and fellow alumni to join her on this quest. She is a Senior-level Command Staff member and Mission Coordinator for Lake County Search and Rescue, in Leadville, CO. Being on a SAR team provides her access to monthly medical training, an advantage she wishes more WFA’s and WFR’s had access to, and which led her to working on the DMM Alumni Project and serving as DMM’s Alumni Engagement Coordinator.
Over the years Becky has worked as an English teacher, a private tutor, a youth outdoor educator, a lifty and snow bike instructor, a high ropes course guide, a zipline guide (though she prefers the title “Sky Ranger”), a grant writer, and a freelance writer and editor. Through her curious procession of job titles, she remained focused on developing her creative writing skills, and she’s proud to report her work has appeared in Alpinist Magazine, American Alpine Journal, and many literary magazines and journals around the nation. She often writes about her outdoor experiences and her slow crawl towards technical outdoor competence.
In the winter she shreds 30 degree backcountry slopes and gets her snowmobile stuck in beautiful places. In the summer she loves climbing mountains with no trails to the top and flailing on 5.10 climbing routes. During the shoulder seasons she and her husband, Chris (also a DMM instructor), go canyoneering, where her tiny frame feels like an honest-to-God superpower in Mae West slot canyons.