awma cmyk
 Serving to equip both medical professionals and the engaged public with the knowledge, training, and resources necessary to provide the highest level of medical care in austere wilderness environments and in circumstances in which definitive modern care is unavailable, is not functioning, or is overwhelmed.

Wilderness medicine addresses the full spectrum of needed medical care using limited resources in circumstances where definitive modern care is unavailable, is not functioning, or is overwhelmed. A large proportion of Alabama, from the Appalachian Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico, is composed of austere environments in which the immediately available resources are limited, and transportation to definitive medical care is a matter of hours rather than minutes.

Even in urban settings, the conventional medical system is vulnerable to disruption. During the icestorm of January, 2014, one could be within sight of a hospital that remained impossible to reach. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, disruption of the electrical grid rendered the majority of medical facilities inoperable. The sheer number of casualties in the Las Vegas shooting overwhelmed the resources of even the best-equipped hospitals.


The Alabama Wilderness Medical Assocation (AWMA) exists to provide training and education on the delivery of medical care when help is not a phone call away and immediate assistance is required. We emphasize those mechanisms of injury and disease unique to Alabama and the Deep South, including heat-related illnesses, encounters with wildlife from snakes to stingrays, and the dangers posed by our waterways, lakes, and coasts.

Serving to train both medical professionals and the general public to provide the highest level of care within their capabilities and in the most trying of circumstances, the Alabama Wilderness Medical Association offers a variety of classes and training opportunities. These include Advanced Wilderness Life Support (AWLS), Wilderness First Aid (WFA), and Bleeding Control (B-Con).

Board of Directors

Lee Burnett

Lee Burnett, MD, FAWM



Even before committing to a medical career, I was drawn to wilderness medicine for its emphasis on principles, efficiency, and knowledge in order to provide maximal utility with minimal resources. A wilderness medicine class after my freshman year of college not only was my first training in anatomy, physiology, and therapeutics, but also confirmed my progress towards a career as a practicing physician.

I enjoy teaching others how to help themselves, their friends, and their neighbors whenever the need arises. Employed as an academic oncologist and director of a residency training program, it is rewarding to broaden my scope to equip a wide variety of students to face whatever circumstances they may encounter in the out-of-doors.

A founding member and currently the president of the AWMA, I also serve as the faculty advisor for the Wilderness Medicine Student Interest Group at UAB and am a member of the Disaster and Humanitarian Committee of the Wilderness Medical Society.  My recreational interests include sailing, caving, beekeeping, and amateur radio.


Walter Schrading, MD, FACEP, FAWM

Vice President

Education Director

Walt is an aeromedical trained emergency physician, with over 100 flights during residency and a current international flight physician and Assistant Medical Director with Airmed International. He practices and teaches emergency medicine to residents and medical students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine.  He is the Director of the Office of Wilderness Medicine and directs the Wilderness Medicine Track in the UAB EM residency training program and the Wilderness Medicine Special Topics courses for UAB medical students. He is the education director and a board member of the AWMA.  He has extensive experience teaching AWLS and teaches at several other national wilderness medicine courses.

He was a white-water raft guide on the Youghiogheny River in southwestern PA for 7 years and is an expert in white-water rescue and safety. He is an athlete and outdoor adventurer. He is an 11-time finisher of the Ironman triathlon – a 140.6-mile single day journey including a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and a 26.2-mile marathon run. He hopes to compete in Kona, Hawaii at the world championship one day by his continued participation in this ultimate endurance event. Endurance adventure races including map navigation, mountain biking, canoeing or kayaking, and trail running are also part of his outdoor diet. He continues to compete in other triathlon, running, MedWars and adventure races; many of which he participates with his brothers, his wife, or his residents.

_ N

Lynn E. Yonge, MD, FAAFP, FAWM


Dr. Lynn Yonge is a lifelong outdoorsman and an Eagle Scout. He is a 1978 graduate of the University of Alabama and a 1986 graduate of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine where he served as student body president. He has served as the president of the South Baldwin Hospital medical staff, the Thomas Hospital medical staff and the Baldwin County Medical Society.

Dr. Yonge was a member of the first class of Fellows of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He completed Advanced Wilderness Life Support training in 2012 and serves as an instructor. He is the founder and former Executive Director of the Alabama Outward Bound School. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Wilderness Medical Society and is the past Chairman of the Environmental Council of the Wilderness Medical Society. He is past chairman of the Membership Committee. Dr. Yonge has written a wilderness medicine column for Alabama Wildlife magazine. He is the coauthor of the Biodiversity chapter in the sixth edition of Auerbach’s Wilderness Medicine text. Dr. Yonge serves as the faculty advisor for the USA Wilderness Medicine Student Interest Group and teaches a senior elective in wilderness medicine.

Dr. Yonge is a practicing family physician in Fairhope, AL with a special interest in adolescents. He serves as the medical director for the Baldwin County juvenile intervention program (Camp Horizon). He serves as the medical director for Strickland Youth Center in Mobile County. He is an assistant clinical professor for the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and serves as a clinical preceptor for nurse practitioner students from UAB. Dr. Yonge is a passionate environmentalist and an LNT instructor. He owns and cares for a Certified Treasure Forest in rural Alabama. He is married to Cori Yonge and has two teen daughters: Annie and Genna.


Andrew Sawyer, MD

Andrew is an Emergency Medicine trained physician practicing in Dothan Alabama. He currently is a staff physician at Southeast Alabama Medical Center and Clinical Faculty at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine. In addition to this, he continues to serve as an Flight physician with AirMed international, specializing in long range international aeromedical evacuation, and a Nascar race physician at Talladega Super Speedway.

Wilderness medicine was an intuitive fit as it was intersection of his three biggest passions: medicine, the outdoors and teaching. He regularly participates in teaching AWLS and other outdoor medical courses. When not working he can be found outside trail running, biking or hiking with his wife. He has completed several outdoor endurance races including a sliver medal finish at 2017 Southeast Med wars and 2017 Gulf Coast Ironman 70.3.

Evan Thomas

Evan Thomas, MD



Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Fusce leo odio, fringilla imperdiet dolor et, consequat pellentesque nisi. Morbi et consequat dui. Fusce luctus, ligula et malesuada pharetra, arcu velit laoreet velit, in maximus neque augue et dolor. Ut pretium mauris id purus porttitor tempor. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Sed gravida pretium risus sed blandit. Duis ut tristique ipsum, facilisis consequat ex. Nulla laoreet dui quis leo lacinia vulputate. Nulla congue nunc a sapien dapibus, eu lobortis nulla ultrices. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Nulla at lorem id elit finibus pretium maximus dapibus lacus. Mauris mattis tellus a purus malesuada, in auctor dolor blandit. Morbi velit justo, porta at efficitur quis, mattis interdum dolor. Suspendisse potenti.


Steven Gaffin

 Social Media Coordinator

 Media and Communications Director


My fascination with wilderness medicine stems from the versatility required in austere environments. In the outdoor scenario, knowledge becomes the replacement for instrumentation. From a young age I was fascinated with the outdoors and many book reports were based on survival adventures. As a Boy Scout, I built the foundation for my outdoor competency and my appreciation for the natural world; culminating in me achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. In college, I worked for an overnight summer camp nestled in the North Carolinian, temperate rainforest and was certified in Wilderness First Aid from Wilderness Medical Associates. I knew that I wanted to receive more training in wilderness medicine, but it wasn’t until many years later that I would get involved in high angle and cave rescue. During my first cave rescue, I realized my passion for patient care and knew that no amount of training could satiate my appetite for medicine. With the plan of applying to medical school, I received my NREMT-B certification and started working part time on an ambulance. Later, I took the role of Chief Medical Officer of the Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit (HCRU) and instructor in the American Heart Association’s Basic Life Support, HCRU’s Single Rope Technique, and the Alabama Fire College’s Cave Rescue Technician I/II courses. I was certified in Advanced Wilderness Life Support in 2016.

In the next few years, I plan on becoming a medical student, a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine, and receiving my Diploma in Mountain Medicine. As a board member of the AWMA, I hope to make the medical community fully aware of the opportunities we provide as well as bring first aid education to the outdoor recreational communities of Alabama.

The Alabama Wilderness Medical Association is chartered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization.  Donations to the AWMA are tax-exempt.