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Introduction

Nepalese Diploma in Mountain Medicine is an internationally recognized post-graduate course organized and administered by the Mountain Medicine Society of Nepal (MMSN). This course is approved by the Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisime (UIAA), International Society for Mountain Medicine (ISMM), and International Commission for Alpine Rescue (IKAR).

In Oct-Nov 2010, a feasibility study for the Diploma in Mountain Medicine was done in Kathmandu and the Khumbu region of Nepal with support from Medical Expeditions. Potential sites were visited in person by Dr. Maniraj Neupane and Dr. Suzy Stokes and a report was presented to the local and international stakeholders. Following this, a straight 4-week curriculum with pre- and post-course assignments was developed. A month-long pilot course was conducted in November – December 2011 with multinational support from the Medical Expeditions-UK, Swiss Society of Mountain Medicine, German Society of Mountain Medicine, Austrian Society of Mountain Medicine, Swiss Alpine Club, Alpine Club-UK, Porters Progress-UK, and many other individuals and organizations.

Subsequent courses in the last 11 years have trained more than 100 international and local doctors. The first week of the course is conducted in Kathmandu. For the remaining three weeks, candidates trek to the mountains and reach the glacier training site above 5000m and camp for several days for the glacier and winter skills training. Our winter training site has revolved around the Everest region, Langtang region, and finally settled at the Khangla glacier in the Annapurna region, all above 16000 ft.

Besides the high altitude, mountain, and travel medicine theory, the Diploma in Mountain Medicine encompasses practical hands-on skills in rope techniques, survival skills, rescue techniques, practical traumatology, and summer and winter skills. Qualified local and international instructors deliver the course in English. The glacier component is led by Sherpa mountain guides who have years of experience leading commercial expeditions in the Everest region.

The main aim of this course is to train Nepalese doctors in their home country with an innovative syllabus tailored to suit the local needs without compromising international standards while at the same time offering the training to a diverse community of international doctors who would want to obtain their mountain medicine training in the heart of the Himalayas.

Nepalese DiMM is also unique in that the core training is completed in a month at a go in Kathmandu and the Himalayas, unlike other mountain medicine diploma courses which are split into several modules. However, the entire course duration is stretched over six months during which participants are required to complete multiple pre- and post-course assignments before the Diploma is officially awarded. Post COVID-19, we are also building additional virtual materials to supplement and maximize existing teaching-learning methods. The other unique strength of our program is the multicultural candidates we take to deliver a diverse mountain medicine curriculum at real wilderness and high-altitude sites by a mix of local and international medical instructors and experienced Sherpa mountain guides.