By Wendy Sarubbi | February 4, 2011 1:51 pm

Members of the UCF College of Medicine’s Wilderness Medical Society practiced their medical, hiking and even their canoeing skills January 30 during a MedAR Medical Adventure Race at Moss Park.

M-2 student Luke Lin is doing his Focused Individualized Research Experience (FIRE) on whether hands-on, outdoor learning experiences like MedAR provide an enhanced learning environment for medical students.

Twenty College of Medicine students participated at the event. In teams of four, the doctors-in-training had to find specific locations with the help of a compass, take tests of their basic scientific knowledge and then respond to wilderness “emergency” scenarios.

In the emergencies, fellow students pretended to have a variety of ailments, including a punctured lung from a bicycle accident and carbon monoxide poisoning from a space heater in a tent. MedAR participants had to assess each patient, come up with a treatment plan and prepare the patient for evacuation. “The first thing you have to do when you come upon an emergency in the wilderness is check scene safety,” M-2 student Steven Bright warned.

M-2 student Jennifer Villavicencio competed in a medical adventure race last year in Georgia and helped run the UCF College of Medicine event. She said the toughest challenge of the race is handling an unexpected emergency as you fight your own fatigue from running, hiking and boating. “When you’re physically exhausted, it’s hard to think,” she said.

The Wilderness Medical Society used the adventure in Moss Park as a practice for a planned 2012 MedAR that will be open to broader numbers of participants, perhaps other members of the UCF community. Luke said the group hopes one day to then hold a regional race like last year’s competition in Georgia.

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