Tahoe Wilderness Medicine, LLC (TWM) is a group of avid climbers, skiers, backcountry skiers, mountaineers, kayakers, and river guides. We are current and former professional guides, climbing rangers and backcountry rangers who live, work, and play in the Truckee-Tahoe area. TWM faculty also are Emergency Medicine Physicians from the local rural hospitals and the region’s trauma center, emergency medical services (EMS) medical directors, search and rescue team members, ski patrol medical directors, physician ski patrollers, EMS medical providers, mountain guides, avalanche educators, and avalanche forecasters.
Although our experts come from varied backgrounds there is one common thread – a passion for backcountry travel and adventure. You can learn more about our faculty below.
Medical Director - MD, FACEP, DiMM
Eric Stendell is a board certified emergency physician at a busy Level II trauma center and a Clinical Assistant Professor at University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM). While training at the UCSF-Fresno Emergency medicine Program he gained extensive wilderness medicine experience while providing medical direction to area National Parks and providing medical training for Park rangers from all around the country. Dr. Stendell has completed the UIAA-ICAR Diploma in Mountain Medicine (DIMM), advanced wilderness life support (AWLS) course, and the AIARE level 1 and level 2 courses. He is an avid mountaineer, backcountry skier, rock climber and mountain biker. He has had the pleasure of combining these passions while working in local ski clinics (evaluating and treating acutely injured skiers – Northstar Medical Clinic), working as a physician on the Alpine Meadows Ski patrol and as a member of the local Search and Rescue (SAR). These duties have included providing medical training for ski patrollers, SAR team members, and Dr. Stendell is currently the medical advisor to the local SAR team. Dr. Stendell has given several conference lectures on wilderness medicine and most recently lectured and taught field sessions at the AWLS course in Lake Tahoe. He is also a candidate for the Fellowship in the Academy of Wilderness Medicine.
Technical Search and Rescue Advisor, Avalanche Forecaster
Andy Anderson spent 15 summers working as a climbing ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park, on Mt. Rainier, and volunteering in Grand Teton National Park. In the winters he works as an avalanche forecaster for the Sierra Avalanche Center. Andy has been a ski patroller in the Northwest, an avalanche educator in Utah and Colorado, a volunteer forecaster in Moab, Utah, a snow researcher, an English teacher in Chile, and a climbing guide. He has over 15 years of professional avalanche and mountain rescue experience. When not forecasting avalanches, he spends his time running long races and trying to keep up with his wife and son on the rocks, in the mountains, and in the backcountry.
Education Director - MD, FACEP
John Swanson is a board certified emergency physician at a Level II trauma center and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM). He is currently the medical director for the Northstar Medical Clinic, which manages acute ski and snowboard injuries on the mountain. He has served as medical director and assistant medical director for the Tahoe Forest Hospital District EMS and the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (REMSA) in Reno respectively. As well as the Medical Director for Careflight. Dr. Swanson is currently an ATLS instructor and has presented various topics in emergency and wilderness medicine to a variety of audiences including UNSOM, numerous ski patrols, the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Society for Academic Emergency Physicians. He is also AIARE level 1 and level 2 certified.
Director of Avalanche Education - EMT_P, AIARE instructor, Mountain Guide
Bill Seline has been a Mountain Guide and Instructor for Alpine Skills International for the past 14 years, guiding trips in Alaska and the Sierra, the Swiss and French Alps, and on Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Bill also teaches level 1 and level 2 avalanche courses and has served on the American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), Education Committee. He is a member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and is a Level 3 Telemark Instructor. Bill has been certified as a Top Rope Site Manager and completed the Ski Guide Course with the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). Bill is a Certified Paramedic and has worked on an ambulance for over 30 years; he is currently the Deputy Fire Chief of the Truckee Fire District and also teaches CPR, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness First Responder, and Wilderness EMT classes. He has been a flight paramedic with Care Flight and an Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) Instructor for the National Ski Patrol. He is a past member of the Far West Professional Ski Patrol and current member of the American Mountain Guides Association and Wilderness Medical Society. His education includes a Bachelor’s of Science from California State University, Fresno in Health Science and a Masters of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Brandman (Chapman) University.
Curriculum Director, Marketing Director - MD, FACEP, DiMM
Josh Dubansky is a board certified emergency medicine physician at a busy tertiary care and trauma center, and is Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM). Dr. Dubansky received his medical degree from the University of Maryland, then trained in Emergency Medicine at UCSF-Fresno. There, he created and completed an Area of Concentration in Wilderness Medical Education, designed and implemented EMS field scenarios and mass casualty drills, and lectured extensively to medical students, EMTs, nurses, physicians, and National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service Rangers, and researched and wrote National Park Service EMS protocols as part of the ParkMedic and Wilderness Medicine Programs. He also helped design and implement a Tactical Medicine program for the U.S. Forest Service. Dr. Dubansky has taught for or helped run numerous outdoor programs, including NOLS, Cal Adventures at U.C. Berkeley, Cornell University Outdoor Education, California Canoe and Kayak, ARTA River Trips, Healing Waters San Francisco, and Boardsports Kiteboarding. He also spends time as a ski clinic physician and as a National Ski Patrol volunteer physician. He is a Wilderness Medical Society Fellowship Candidate and WMS DiMM Graduate.
John Anderson is a board certified emergency medicine physician at a busy tertiary care trauma center as well as a rural, critical access hospital and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM). Prior to medical school he worked in the field as a river guide for 10 years, and has extensive personal experience in ultrarunning, alpine climbing, backcountry skiing, and other wilderness pursuits. In addition to clinical practice he also currently provides medical direction or care for various ultrarunning races from 100k trail races in California to multi-day stage races in the Gobi desert of China and is the Medical Director for the Broken Arrow Skyrace. He heads the Medical and Safety Commission for the International Trail Running Association, and is the medical advisor for Run the Alps. Dr. Anderson also has a wide range of teaching experience including developing and teaching medical curriculum for national park service rangers and ski patrollers, teaching Advanced Wilderness Life Support for physicians, teaching Swiftwater rescue, providing instruction for medical students and residents, and has won teaching awards in this realm. John Anderson has a BA from the University of Montana, completed his MD at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and completed an Emergency Medicine residency and chief residency at Denver Health Medical Center.
Christian Purgason is a board certified emergency medicine physician at a busy Level II trauma center and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM). During medical school, Christian trained in Wilderness Medicine through the Wilderness Medical Society’s month-long elective and participated in high altitude research and medical care in the Himalayan Mountains, Nepal. Currently, Christian teaches medical students and residents in the emergency department and staffs and trains sports medicine fellows at a local ski resort clinic in the Lake Tahoe area where he sees a significant amount of snow sports related injuries. Christian has instructed for various University outdoor recreation programs, worked as a professional river guide/trip leader and white water kayak instructor, professional ski patroller, a Volunteer Doctor Ski Patroller and for an EMS agency as a pre-hospital care provider. Christian did his undergraduate education at University of Colorado Boulder, medical school at Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine and Residency in Emergency Medicine with an emphasis on Wilderness Medicine at UCSF- Fresno.
Mark Baier is a board certified emergency medicine physician at a busy Level II trauma center and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM). Dr. Baier has practiced emergency medicine since 1997 with special interest in areas of wilderness emergency medicine and sports medicine. He teaches University of Nevada School of Medicine medical students and residents and coordinates emergency medicine rotations at Renown Medical Center for these students and residents. Mark is a former Outward Bound instructor and professional river guide and is currently an avid whitewater kayaker and backcountry skier. He is AIARE level 1 and level 2 certified.
Jonathan Laine has been an avid backcountry skier since 1987. He was medical director of the Park-Medic program at Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park from 1988-91. He then moved to Lake Tahoe where he has been ever since, and was then on the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue team for 9 years, and served on their Board of Directors. He currently is a Board Member of the Sierra Avalanche Center. Dr. Laine has been Board Certified in Emergency Medicine since 1991, and worked 23 years at the regional Trauma Center, and served as President of the Emergency Medicine group for 12 years, and now is Medical Director of the Emergency Department in Truckee, California. He continues to enjoy backcountry skiing as well as backpacking, nordic skiing, and is the current Northern California/Northern Nevada State champion in road cycling in his age group.
Thomas Kim is a residency trained emergency medicine physician at a busy Level II trauma center and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM). Dr. Kim completed residency training in emergency medicine at UCSF Fresno where he was a member of the Parkmedic training program. He instructed US National Park Rangers in emergency medical care in austere environments according to national protocols written and edited by the organization, to which he contributed. He performed quality improvement analysis of medics practicing within Sequoia Kings National Park, and provided online medical control for Sequoia Kings National Park along with Grand Canyon National Park. Dr. Kim lead a 1 month intensive training course to certify US National Park Rangers as official Parkmedics and AEMT's - this course is held every other year with rangers participating from around the country. He participated in high altitude research in Nepal along the Everest Base Camp trekking route, studying acute mountain sickness prophylaxis. He is currently a resident of Truckee, California and an avid mountain biker, backcountry skier, and rock climber.
Dr Drew Watters is an Emergency Physician, Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He has varied outdoor interests, particularly in backcountry skiing and mountain biking. He is from Indiana, trained in residency at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and has practice medicine in several different countries, most recently Bhutan and New Zealand. His particular interest in medicine is in the psychology of stress and the practice of medicine in austere environments.
MD, MPH, FAWM, DiMM, FACEP
Dr. Sagalyn is a Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician with Northern Nevada Emergency Physicians in Reno, Nevada and Clinical Associate Professor at University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). She holds the internationally recognized Diploma in Mountain Medicine (DiMM) training in glacier, high altitude, avalanche, and helicopter rescue. She is also faculty of the DiMM program through the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS). Emily received her B.A. from Columbia University in New York, NY. She received her medical degree from the University of Massachusetts in Worcester, MA. She completed her Emergency Medicine residency at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, and a fellowship in Wilderness Medicine and EMS at the University of Utah. While in Utah, she also completed her MPH. She serves on the board of the Wilderness Medical Society and earned their Fellowship of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM). Emily has been the consulting physician for SWS Mountain Guides since 2010. She has provided wilderness medical care at the Kunde Hospital in Nepal, the medical clinics in Big Sky, Montana and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and various locations throughout Utah.
Having been raised in Idaho where birthdays and holidays were spent exploring backcountry rivers and mountains, it was a natural transition to the mountains and deserts of Utah where Nicholas spent time first in college, and later in medical school, guiding and doing wilderness medical education. Nick brings years of experience and a continued dedication to education. His outdoor work started in prior to medical school, with summers spent on the Colorado river as a part of an environmental advocacy group. Through medical school he continued his time in southern Utah, teaching Wilderness First Responder and Advanced Wilderness Life Support courses. He completed a residency in Emergency Medicine at UCSF Fresno where his work developing and revising Parkmedic and Paramedic NPS guidelines aided in the advancement of the field of wilderness medicine. After residency he completed a fellowship in EMS at University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ where he trained in the systems management of prehospital care. His areas of continued recreational and academic pursuit are high altitude medicine and hypothermia physiology.
MD, Co-Medical Director
Sierra Bourne is a board certified emergency physician at Northern Inyo Hospital in Bishop, CA and in Mammoth Hospital in Mammoth Lakes, CA. She has participated in multiple medical, surgical, educational, and disaster relief missions to Mexico, Nepal, Fiji, and the Philippines. Sierra is an ex ski-racer, a backcountry skier, backpacker, and runner. She is the Co-Medical Director of the Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol.