Expedition and Wilderness Medicine

Current Council brief biography and select publications

Chair: Andrea Rossanese, MD, PhD, DipTravMed(Glasg), IDEWM, FFTM RCPS(Glasg), FISTM, FAWM; ISTM Certificate in Travel Health®

Andrea Rossanese

Andrea graduated in 1994 at University of Padua (Italy). After his post-graduate in Internal Medicine, he shifted his interest in travel medicine studying in London and Basel. In 2003, he got his ISTM Certificate in Travel Health®. In 2006 he got the Diploma in Travel Medicine at the RCPS(Glasg) and in 2011 he was awarded the Fellowship of the Faculty of Travel Medicine. He was in the first cohort of students obtaining the International Diploma in Expedition and Wilderness Medicine and has been admitted in the Academy of Clinical Educators of the RCPS(Glasg). He is also a Fellow of the International Society of Travel Medicine and a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine.

In Italy, as well as being the Vice-President of the Italian Society of Travel Medicine, Andrea runs a residential course on “Travel Medicine” for health care workers and a “Basic Course in Expedition and Wilderness Medicine” for undergraduate medical students. His preminent interests span from pre-travel advice to vaccine-preventable diseases and malaria prevention, from marine and terrestrial envenomations to the practical workup of complaints in returning travellers, from mountain medicine and exposure to extremes of temperature to consolidation of non-technical basic skills in the wilderness. An active, enthusiast trekker, he has lead several multi-day trips through the Dolomites, both for adolescents and adult people.

Selected Publications

Gobbi F, Noharet R, Abreu C, Del Mar Lago Nuñez M, Canale A, Oñorbe MF, Muñoz J, Rossanese A, Atouguia J. South Europe perspective of COVID-19 impact on travel medicine. J Travel Med 2021; 28(8): taab143

Gabutti G, Rossanese A, Tomasi A, Giuffrida S, Nicosia V, Barriga J, Florescu C, Sandri F, Stefanati A. Cholera, the current status of cholera vaccines and recommendations for travellers. Vaccines 2020, 8, 606. doi: 10.3390/vaccines8040606

Tardivo S, Zenere A, Moretti F, Marchiori F, Berti D, Migliorini M, Tomasi A, Ferrari S, Tognon F, Napoletano G, Rossanese A. The Traveller's Risk Perception (TRiP) questionnaire: pre-travel assessment and post-travel changes. Int Health. 2019 pii: ihz033. doi: 10.1093/inthealth/ihz033

Gobbi F, Angheben A, Farina C, Buonfrate D, Postiglione C, Rossanese A, Anselmi M, Savio C, Gobbo M, Bisoffi Z. Coccidioidomycosis: first imported case in Italy. J Travel Med. 2012 May-Jun;19(3):192-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1708-8305.2012.00599.x

Gobbi F, Boussinesq M, Mascarello M, Angheben A, Gobbo M, Rossanese A, Corachán M, Bisoffi Z. >Case report: Loiasis with peripheral nerve involvement and spleen lesions. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2011;84(5):733-7. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2011.10-0458

Angheben A, Mistretta M, Gobbo M, Bonafini S, Iacovazzi T, Sepe A, Gobbi F, Marocco S, Rossanese A, Bisoffi Z. Acute strongyloidiasis in Italian tourists returning from Southeast Asia. J Travel Med. 2011 Mar-Apr;18(2):138-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1708-8305.2010.00496.x. Epub 2011 Feb 7

Angheben A, Gobbo M, Gobbi F, Bravin A, Toneatti F, Crismancich F, Rossanese A, Bisoffi Z. Human syngamosis: an unusual cause of chronic cough in travellers. BMJ Case Rep. 2009;2009. pii: bcr12.2008.1305. doi: 10.1136/bcr.12.2008.1305. Epub 2009 Apr 23

Angheben A, Mascarello M, Zavarise G, Gobbi F, Monteiro G, Marocco S, Anselmi M, Azzini A, Concia E, Rossanese A, Bisoffi Z. Outbreak of imported trichinellosis in Verona, Italy, January 2008. Euro Surveill. 2008 May 29;13(22). pii: 18891

Dr. Jenny Visser, BSc MBChB MTrav Med FRNZCGPs

Jenny Visser
Jenny is a general practitioner who lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She splits her time between academic and clinical travel medicine. She is lead academic for postgraduate qualifications in travel medicine (including a Wilderness & Expedition Medicine course) at the University of Otago. She also advises travellers at a local travel clinic. She has been able to combine her passion for outdoor activities with her profession for many years, becoming involved in search and rescue as a medical student, an interest she has retained to this day. Since then, she has spent 9 summers as ship’s doctor in Antarctica, been a volunteer doctor at a high altitude rescue post in Nepal, spent 3 months in Bougainville as doctor to a film crew and led a number of trekking expeditions including to Kilimajaro, Fiji and China. Her travels are often by bicycle or trekking, both activities she can also indulge in at home.

Selected Publications

Kupper T, Zafren K, Visser J. Advising travellers beyond infectious diseases: Can we learn from our forebears? Journal of Travel Medicine. 2022;29(5).

Kennedy E, Visser JT, Flaherty GT. Free Falling: Characteristics and Prevention of Injury and Death in Extreme Aerial Sports Tourists. International Journal of Travel Medicine and Global Health. 2022;10(1):1-3.

Zafren K, Shlim DR, Basnyat B, Visser J. Advancing the evidence in altitude and wilderness medicine. Journal of Travel Medicine. 2020;27(6.).

Visser JT. Patterns of illness and injury on Antarctic research cruises, 2004–2019: a descriptive analysis. Journal of Travel Medicine. 2020;27(6). doi:10.1093/jtm/taaa111

Shaw MTM, Visser J, Edwards C. Rabies Postexposure Consultations in New Zealand from 1998 to 2012. Journal of Travel Medicine. 2015;22(1):31-38.

Visser JT, Campbell AFR. New Zealand Land Search and Rescue Operations: An Analysis of Medical and Traumatic Conditions. Wilderness Environ Med. 2014;25(401-408).

Visser JT, Edwards CA. Dengue Fever, Tuberculosis, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, and Hepatitis C Virus Conversion in a Group of Long-Term Development Aid Workers. Journal of Travel Medicine. 2013;20(6):361-367.

Visser JT, Narayanan A, Campbell B. Strongyloides, Dengue Fever, and Tuberculosis Conversions in New Zealand Police Deploying Overseas. Journal of Travel Medicine. 2012;19(3):178-182.

Howard Backer MD, MPH

Howard Backer
Throughout his career, Dr Backer has pursued an interest in travel and wilderness medicine. He has worked in multiple mountain settings, including Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Park, Lake Tahoe/ Squaw Valley, and Vail, CO. He is a founding member and past president of the Wilderness Medical Society and an early member of ISTM. For more than 30 years, he served as the medical advisor for a large adventure travel company.

Dr. Backer served in the California Health and Human Services agency in public health (communicable disease control and Immunization), Disaster preparedness and response, and emergency medical services.

Prior to joining government service in 2000, Dr. Backer practiced emergency medicine full time for 25 years in rural, urban, and suburban settings. He received a Doctor of Medicine from the University of California at San Francisco, a Master of Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley, and is board certified in Emergency Medicine, Emergency Medical Services, and in Preventive Medicine--Public Health. He is also a Fellow in the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM). He continues to work clinical hours in Urgent Care at the UC Berkeley Student Health Center.

Select Publications

Backer HD, Derlet RW, Hill VE. Wilderness Medical Society Practice Guidelines on Water Disinfection for Wilderness, International Travel, and Austere Situations. Wilderness & Environmental Medicine. 2019, 30(4):S100-S120. On line: https://www.wemjournal.org/article/S1080-6032(19)30116-4/fulltext

In: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health Information for International Travel 2020 (Yellow Book). Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.

Backer H, Duncan D, Christensen K, Devereaux A, Rosen B, Noste E, Wright C, Johnson C. Medical Support for California Wildfire Response. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2021 Dec 22:1-8. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2021.347. PMID: 34933695

Backer HD, Wright C, Dong J, Baba N, McFadden H, Rosen B. Medical Care at California Wildfire Incident Base Camps. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2021 Nov 23:1-8. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2021.321. PMID: 34809733.

Backer HD, Mackell S. Potential cost-savings and quality improvement in travel advice for children and families from a centralized travel medicine clinic in a large group-model HMO. Journal of Travel Medicine. 2001; 8:247-253.

Backer HD, Hollowell J: Use of Iodine for water disinfection: Iodine toxicity and maximum recommended dose. Environ Health Perspect 2000; 108:679-684.

Backer HD, Shopes E, Collins SL, Barkan H: Exertional heat illness and hyponatremia in Grand Canyon hikers. American Journal Emergency Medicine 1999;17:532-539.

Backer H, Collins S: Use of a hand-held, battery operated, chemical analyzer in back country of Grand Canyon National Park. Annals Emerg Med 1999; 33:418-422.

Backer HD. Water disinfection for travelers. and

Backer HD, Shlim DR. Problems with heat and cold.

Dr. Max Winkler

Max Winkler
Dr Winkler obtained his MBChB degree from the University of Cape Town in 2008. Presently, he is situated in Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa where he operates as a self-employed general and travel medicine practitioner. In 2019, he successfully completed his diploma in occupational health with distinction from the University of Cape Town. Currently, he consults as an occupational medical practitioner for several locations across Cape Town.

In 2018, Dr Winkler chaired the Wilderness Medicine Symposium at the 2018 Pan African Travel Medicine Conference held in Cape Town. Since 2020, he has been a member of the Wilderness and Expedition Medicine Special Interest Group of the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM). He has also provided remote support to expeditions such as the National Geographic into the Okavango expedition in 2018. Dr Winkler provides advice and assistance to travellers planning expeditions and travelling in the wilderness in Southern Africa from his travel clinic located in Hout Bay. Dr Winkler achieved the best student award at the 2015 South African Society of Travel Medicine (SASTM) course with distinction. He has been a member of the SASTM executive committee since 2016 and is currently the President of the organization. Dr Winkler has presented case reports and scientific posters at various conferences including the SASTM, ISTM and FIDSSA conferences in 2016, 2017, and 2019. During his leisure time, Dr Winkler enjoys camping, hiking and fly fishing with his young family in the wilderness.

Dr. Jim Bond, FFTM RCPS(Glasg), FISTM

Jim Bond
Born and raised in Zambia, Jim’s first proper job was in a safari camp in the Okavango Delta. It was here that he discovered his life-long love for messing about in mekoro (dug-out canoes) and other traditional craft as a slower, more natural pace to travel and a less threatening way to view wildlife at eye level. Over the years since, he has continued to explore tropical rivers, waterways and lesser known corners of his native continent, Madagascar and South America, both for work and out of curiosity.

First formally trained in Expedition Medicine in 1995, Jim has since led/acted as doctor to a number of ethnobotanical research, adventure, artwork and community-led conservation/development expeditions, in Belize, Madagascar (x7), Socotra, Mozambique (x2), Tanzania and the Peruvian & Venezuelan Amazon. For 21?2 years he worked semi-professionally in this regard, organising and leading commercial expeditions, botanical tours and canoe/dhow and walking safaris.

Jim has facilitated workshops and written an invited chapter on the Ethics of Expeditions and is a passionate advocate for equal standards of protection and care to all participants, local and foreign. He has researched and contributed to chapters on elephant and hippopotamus ecology, behaviour and risks of attacks on humans for the Royal Geographical Society, and prepared tailored medically-significant snake species recognition and snakebite management protocols for a number of expeditions for which he has been consulted. He has also co-authored a resource paper on ‘Rabies risk prevention and management on expeditions and extremely remote situations: practicalities and ethics’ for the ISTM special interest group on Expedition & Wilderness Medicine (unfortunately barred from publication on our webpage by the POC).

Jim currently works part-time as (Scotland’s only) independent Consultant in Travel Medicine. However, his semi-retirement plans include doing more rabies elimination work and canid vaccination research back home in his beloved Africa - partly to help other children grow up without the ever-present fear of this dreadful disease, and partly to help save the critically endangered African wild dog/painted wolf (Lycaon pictus) from extinction.

Robin Wright, MD, IDEWM, ISTM Certificate in Travel Health®

Robin Wright
Robin is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She holds a Certificate in Travel Medicine from ISTM (2016) and an International Diploma of Expedition and Wilderness Medicine from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Glasgow (2018).

Her principal appointment is general pediatrics in both primary care and urgent care settings. She also advises on pretravel consultation from infancy through adults and particularly enjoys assisting university students preparing for study abroad. She is involved in many aspects of medical student education including Grand Rounds presentations, small didactic lectures, clinical preceptorship, and has mentored over 100 students throughout her career.

She has combined her medical career with love of adventure all over North America, Central America, Caribbean Islands, and Africa. As an avid scuba diver, she enjoys supporting marine biological research efforts in Central America. She also looks forward to a new role as director of a Global Health undergraduate study abroad course in Tanzania in 2024.

Dr. Doug Randell

Doug Randell
Dr Doug Randell is an Australian general practitioner whose career has taken him from beginnings in rural general practice and tropical medicine, to military deployments with the Australian Army as a aeromedical and retrieval specialist, contracts with the Remote Area Health Corps to isolated indigenous communities, to his current role as remote maritime doctor on Australian government vessels. Doug enjoyed scouting as a youth, trekking and cycling though wilderness areas of Australia and Papua New Guinea and diving the Great Barrier Reef, Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. Doug has led primary health care patrols in remote areas of Papua New Guinea and now assists the preparation of teams of health care volunteers traveling overseas to serve in medical missions. When not at work, Doug enjoys reading history and music as a chorister and trombonist.

Selected Publication

D Randell, M Fett, H Jenner, S Frances, D Shanks (2017). Epidemic of Processionary Caterpillar Dermatitis in Military Cadets. Journal of Military and Veterans Health, Volume 25 Number 3 pages 7-9. https://jmvh.org/article/epidemic-of-processionary-caterpillar-dermatitis-in-military-cadets


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Links to Wilderness Medical Society Clinical Practice Guidelines

(Note: many of these are being revised and will be published again in 2024)




Tick-Borne Illness


Diabetes Management
Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia
Heat Illness
Spinal Cord Protection
Water Disinfection




Pit Viper Envenomations


Lightning Injuries
Wound Management


Eye Injuries

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Epidemiology of Injury in Adventure and Extreme Sports, Travis W. Heggie

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Expedition and Wilderness Medicine Group Charter

  • Provide a professional forum for ISTM Members interested in expedition and wilderness medicine
  • Develop programs and sessions to educate travel medicine practitioners on specific issues regarding expedition and wilderness medicine
  • Foster the development of recommendations on expedition and wilderness medicine within travel medicine
  • Develop and maintain an international body of knowledge in expedition and wilderness medicine
  • Promote the importance of travel-related issues for those working in expedition and wilderness medicine
  • Advance the science of expedition and wilderness medicine
  • Review and maintain the legal parameters within which expedition and wilderness medicine is practiced

If you are interested in joining this group and helping develop the outlined objectives, please login and join.


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Interest Group Members, as of Jan 2023