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- Nadia KimmelExecutive Director, MS, RN, WEMTWilson, WyomingNadia KimmelExecutive Director, 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.
- Tyler HarrisDirector of Operations, WFRLeadville, ColoradoTyler HarrisDirector of Operations, WFR
Tyler is officially DMM’s Director of Operations, unofficially he is the Secretary of Stoke. He’s in charge of creating the special effects behind the scenes that make the magic happen on-course. His administrative scope-of-practice is too vast to catalogue here, but if you’ve taken a DMM course in recent years, you probably heard from him at some point. He first joined the DMM family in 2009 as an instructor, but worked full-time on the administrative side of the outdoor industry, which didn’t leave him much time for instructing. He kept in contact with Nadia, DMM’s Executive Director, and when his current position opened up in fall of 2017, he jumped at the chance to apply. On New Year’s Day, 2018, Tyler began his role as the Director of Operations.
Tyler’s past experience within the outdoor industry was mainly in Paddlesports, where he racked up over 20 years of experience on and off the water, river guiding in Colorado, California, and Washington, and serving in administrative roles for NRS, AIRE, Outdoorplay.com, CKS Online, and Shred Ready USA.
Today, he loves that he gets to facilitate students’ education and improve access to medical knowledge within the outdoor industry. The sense of purpose he gets knowing his job helps people learn how to save lives is irreplaceable. As for why he chose to work for DMM, specifically, it’s really a no-brainer: they’re the best school in the industry, in his opinion. Not only that, but DMM’s mission is also their culture and passion, and he considers it a privilege to be a part of creating that culture.
- Morgan MatthewsAssistant Program Director, Director of the Women's Wild Med Program, RN, CEN, WFRTaos, New MexicoMorgan MatthewsAssistant Program 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 Assistant 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 Taos, New Mexico home where she is able to combine her two passions which are wilderness and emergency medicine as a a ski clinic nurse.
- Christian BoppDMM - Conservation Corps Coordinator, EMT-B, WFRFlagstaff, ArizonaChristian BoppDMM - Conservation Corps Coordinator, EMT-B, WFR
Christian lives in Flagstaff, Arizona and enjoys mountain biking, skiing, rafting, and trail running, all activities that fold into his larger specialty in life--having fun! He was first introduced to wilderness medicine while serving as a volunteer for the Wyoming Conservation Corps. From there, he went on to obtain his WFR, EMT, and lead instructor position with Desert Mountain Medicine. He currently works as the National Medical Training Specialist for American Conservation Experience. In addition to serving as a lead Instructor for DMM, he is also their Corps Coordinator, which supports scheduling and logistics for DMM corps courses. He loves doing his part to inspire and educate the next generation of outdoor professionals, and enjoys sharing his passion for wilderness medicine via DMM courses he provides to corps staff and volunteers.
Must-have med kit item: Irrigation syringe. Mostly used for keeping students awake after lunch