Seth C. Hawkins, MD, FACEP, FAEMS, MFAWM, MFAEG
Dr. Hawkins, the Carolina Wilderness EMS Externship course director, holds dual board certifications in emergency medicine and EMS, and is the first physician ever awarded the degree of Master Fellow by the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He is Medical Director of Burke County EMS, Landmark Learning, the North Carolina State Parks, and Starfish Aquatics Institute, founder and current Board Chair of the Appalachian Center for Wilderness Medicine, founder and current Chief of the Appalachian Mountain Rescue Team, and co-founder of Vertical Medicine Resources. He is medical advisor of the North Carolina Outward Bound School and Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI). He was named a “Hero of Emergency Medicine” by the American College of Emergency Physicians for his work in wilderness EMS in 2008, and received the Wilderness Medical Society Ball Watch Award (now the Ice Axe Award) in 2009. He also serves as Executive Editor of Wilderness Medicine Magazine and helped develop one of the first wilderness EMS degree programs in the country at Western Carolina University. He is the co-author of Vertical Aid: Essential Wilderness Medicine for Climbers, Trekkers, and Mountaineers and the editor of the textbook Wilderness EMS. He was named one of the Top 10 Innovators in EMS both in 2011, for his work as the co-founder of the Wilderness EMS Medical Course, and in 2018, for editing Wilderness EMS. His current academic appointment is Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Burke EMS Special Operations Paramedics
All Burke County EMS Special Operations paramedics are meticulously trained in wilderness medicine and rescue operations. Many have subspecialties—for instance, some serve as personnel on the state North Carolina HeloAquatic Rescue Team (NCHART), others serve on the county Tactical EMS team, while others serve as officers on local Fire- and Rescue-based technical rescue teams. They each serve as faculty for the Extern experience and share their unique experiences and specialties. A very important part of the Externship training philosophy is that you are truly learning from practicing experts who are currently active in field response.
Wake Forest University EMS Fellow(s), Wilderness Medicine Fellow(s), and Wilderness EMS Fellow(s)
The Wake Forest University EMS Fellow(s) and Wake Forest Wilderness Medicine Fellow(s) have dedicated a year of post-residency training specifically to EMS or wilderness medicine, respectively. As such, they are some of the most highly-trained specialists in these topics in the country. The Carolina Wilderness EMS Externship, along with the Seminar and Summit, provide a significant portion of the wilderness EMS training platform for each year’s Wake Forest University EMS Fellow(s) and Wilderness Medicine Fellow(s). The WFU 2020-2021 EMS Fellows are Brett Dickens and Jimmy Scheidler, and the 2020-2021 Wilderness Medicine Fellow is Chris Peluso.
In 2017, Wake Forest University Department of Emergency Medicine launched the first consensus guideline/accredited Wilderness EMS Fellowship in the world. This Fellowship consists of combining both the year-long EMS Fellowship and the year-long Wilderness Medicine Fellowship. The Carolina Wilderness EMS Externship is also intrinsically involved in the training and experience of this two-year Wilderness EMS Fellowship experience. The 2017-2019 Wilderness EMS Fellow was Dr. Chris Davis, who upon his graduation in 2019 became the first consensus guideline/accredited WEMS Fellow in the country. Dr. Davis was himself also an Extern in 2013, and currently serves as the Externship’s MD-53 . He is pictured here on the right; on the left is Dr. Stephen Powell, the 2017-2018 WFU EMS Fellow and a current Wake Forest attending emergency physician.
David Young, Paramedic
Mr. Young is the Global Course Manager for Hawk Ventures. He comes to the Carolina Wilderness EMS Externship from the US Army Special Forces military arena, where he was primarily responsible for training Special Operations medics and other military and civilian medical personnel at Fort Bragg, NC. He is a graduate of the famed Western Carolina University Emergency Medical Care Program, the first Baccalaureate EMS program in the nation, and is the former EMS Coordinator for Western Piedmont Community College. He is a Level 2 NC EMS Instructor and currently works as a paramedic and adjunct EMS instructor.
Mr. Brenton Queen, Executive/Health Care Coach
Mr. Queen is an executive coach in private practice in Hickory, NC, and is on our staff in the innovative role of health care coach. He is passionate about people being able to have what they really want in life, and is committed to people seeing their greatness. He has special interest in preventing burnout in physicians, and helping them achieve their goals both professionally and personally. He joins the entire Carolina Wilderness EMS Externship leadership in a particular interest in protecting personal and family relationships in health care careers. In that context, he is also a relationship expert who has been specifically trained to address couples/marital problems including divorce, infidelity, and conflict resolution.
Organizational Staff and Resources
Multiple personnel throughout all the participating agencies are available to assist with the Externs and assure their month is productive, safe and meaningful. In particular, the Graduate Medical Education Office (GME) at Carolinas HealthCare System-Blue Ridge facilitates the logistics of graduate medical education and student/resident credentialing. Burke County Search and Rescue, Burke County Rescue Squad, and Burke County law enforcement officers on specialty teams such as tactical and dive teams all contribute to the learning experience as staff and instructors.
Other outside agencies have served as staff and resources for the Externship as well. These include:
- Landmark Learning
- SOLO Southeast
- US National Whitewater Center
- NC Outward Bound School: Table Rock Base Camp
- Carolinas Medical Center MedCenter Air
- NC Helo-aquatic Rescue Team
Current Externs (2021 Season)
Application open at www.hawkventures.com/externship/apply
Application open at www.hawkventures.com/externship/apply
Previous Externs (MD-5 and MD-51-68) can be reviewed here.