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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 has been an instructor for DMM since 2015, but has taken on dual roles of Assistant Program Director and Director of the Women’s Wild Med Program (WWMP). As the assistant Program Director Morgan completes a lion’s share of curriculum writing and updates. She also manages DMM’s instructor progression and training, guiding instructors from on boarding and initial training through the progression from shadow, through assist, to lead status.
As the Director of the Women’s Wild Med Program (WWMP) she hopes to empower women to go higher and further in the outdoors, while providing confidence-inspiring skills to mitigate and treat medical emergencies in the backcountry. In an industry that has been traditionally dominated by men (that goes for the medical and outdoor industries), Morgan wants 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.
Morgan has been an emergency room nurse for 11 years and has spent the majority of her career adventuring across the country as a travel nurse. Though she loves being a wayfarer, she returns to the Ski Clinic at Taos Ski Valley every winter. Who wouldn’t with its perks? She gets to work in trauma medicine (which is never dull), and when there’s no patients, she gets to go ski. In her personal life, Morgan is a connoisseur of mountaintop dance parties and a chaser of those sweet, sweet New Mexico sunsets. 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, and other days she needs to push herself until she questions, and reaffirms what her limits really are.
- Becky YoungOperations Coordinator, Writer/Editor, WFRLeadville, ColoradoBecky YoungOperations Coordinator, Writer/Editor, WFR
Becky serves DMM as their Logistics Coordinator, Writer, and instructor. As Logistics Coordinator, she spends a lot of time making sure all the course gear and materials are prepped for an awesome learning experience. You’re currently reading the fruits of the other aspect of her DMM duties: words! Becky copy-edits, and in some cases does content-level revisions on all DMM’s written content. She also creates original content for marketing, outreach, and occasional curricula support materials and activities to enhance student experience and learning.
Becky was first introduced to DMM IN 2015 through her fiancé, Chris Yeager, a DMM instructor since 2014. Over the summer of 2019, DMM was in the midst of creating a brand new website, and Becky offered to help out with the content. What began as a short-term freelance project between DMM and Becky grew into a permanent position by the fall of 2019. Becky is so grateful to have found a professional home with DMM that allows her to use all her seemingly unrelated skills (education, teaching, backcountry travel and rescue, and editing and writing) in one place. DMM cares deeply about their students’ education and outdoor experiences, and that caring coupled with DMM’s passion for wilderness medicine makes it intensely gratifying, humbling place to work everyday.
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”), 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 Chris go canyoneering, where her tiny frame feels like an honest-to-God superpower in Mae West slot canyons. She’s seen Mount Elbert in all seasons, weathers, hours, and angles rescuing folks for Lake County Search and Rescue.
Must-have med kit item: chemical hand-warmers. Not just for winter! I have busted those buggers out every month of the year.
- 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