BMMS Science Day - New Perspectives!

Posted by Jeremy Windsor on Nov 27, 2019

"It was quite a mission for me to attend this day up at Bamford as I am a newly qualified paramedic working in London. However, I found it more than worth my efforts as the day was packed full of interesting and useful information. I have always been enthralled with the mountains and this day was a chance for me to piece together my love of the mountains with my work."

Sean Rose (Paramedic)

"I think that the importance of being able to attend this event as a medical student and be surrounded by passionate and motivated people cannot be underestimated. It provides the opportunity to make connections, craft relationships and gain inspiration for a career within the field of mountain medicine."

Jake Warrington (Student)

After last month's BMMS Science Day we got in touch with those attendees who were new to the world of mountain medicine. Nervously, we asked them what they thought of the day! Here's Dr Marika Blackham to get us started,

A young audience - the future of mountain medicine is safe!

The first British Mountain Medicine Society Science Day took place on 13th November 2019, and boy, did it set a substantial precedent for future events!

This conference was dedicated to presenting mountain medicine research both past and present, and was attended by a wide range of doctors, nurses, paramedics, researchers, scientists and students from the UK and further afield.

For me, one of the most unique components of the Science Day was the community atmosphere - highlighted by the extensive backgrounds of attendees and the shared passion for all things “mountain”! The support of local businesses added to the homely mood, with lunch and refreshments being provided by the Hathersage Pool Cafe and the evening curry from Sangam's Indian Restaurant.

Professors Jim Milledge and John West conducting a ventilation study in the 1960-61 Silver Hut Expedition

It was an immense honour to host two original members of the Silver Hut Expedition (1960-61), Prof Jim Milledge and Dr Mike Gill, whose pioneering high altitude physiology research literally cut steps into the way in which we now view acute mountain sickness and extreme environment field research. Both Jim and Mike still travel to far flung corners of the globe (including Hathersage), spreading their joy of the mountains and its people. This is a feat I, and those attending the conference, found tremendously laudable.

Our special guest talks highlighted the exponential growth in quantity and quality of current research, but also the sheer scope of potential for new research avenues to fill the gaps in the field of wilderness and expedition medicine. Indeed, I was particularly impressed by the number and quality of posters lining the walls and the fervour with which each topic was being discussed. Each talk was a spark for further questions and it was a delight to hear the opinions of those senior in their field. A salient point of each talk was that the research further considered both clinical applications in the mountain environment but also in hospital based practise. Beyond this, we had a range of opportunities to speak to like-minded people thought the conference and had engaging discussions about the posters on display and the talks from the day.  The day allowed me to network with current expects and better understand how to get involved in the field.

Dr Ellerton highlighted how the number of scientific mountain rescue publications has increased in recent years - from just 1 (1955-1957) to 45 (2012-2014). However it's clear that the total remains very small compared to other areas of medicine!

Dr John Ellerton brought this to the foreground by encouraging the audience to consider the evidence base for each action in a real-time mountain rescue scenario, and critically appraise the evidence that was available. Meanwhile Prof Christopher Boos and Dr Jamie MacDonald provided engaging overviews of physiological changes at altitude and the advances in technology over time.

Every effort was made to ensure that there were no barriers to attending the event, and opportunity to apply for funding was well advertised. This brought many younger faces and those from different backgrounds that may not have otherwise been able to attend, which added a fresh and cutting-edge dimension to the conference. 

From the original trail-blazers to those taking their first steps into the world of mountain medicine, I was touched by the multi-generational, multi-directional sharing of experiences.

I have found it somewhat challenging to summarize the BMMS Science Day, due to its expansive breadth, depth of knowledge and emerging technology. I feel privileged to have attended this immensely varied and interesting research conference, with a little something extra!

"The day provided a large dose of inspiration, education and confirmation that this is an area that I would like to work in the future. Events such as this carry huge ability to open up a young mind as to what is going on in the field, where it has come from and where it is headed. It is also a fantastic chance to meet some of the leading personnel in mountain medicine, and to extend contacts and opportunities for the future." 

Chris King (Student)

"As a student interested in the field of remote medicine and hoping to become more involved in the field, the Science Day was a unique opportunity to get a flavour of the kind of expeditions and work people undertake."

Jonathan  Schultz (Student)

"The day was a highlight of my final year in medicine and has provided much food for thought about how to continue to be involved in mountain medicine."

Tom Georgi (Student)

Would you like to present a poster at the next Science Day? Have a look at this!

For more details take a look at this!

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