“My interest in this field has been lifelong; I grew up hiking and camping, and I always knew I also wanted to become a physician,” says Dr. Klaucke, who is a member of the Family Care Associates practice at GBMC. During her residency, Dr. Klaucke learned of the Wilderness Medical Society and knew she had found her niche. She decided to specialize in the subject and now works closely with the Society to hone her skills and educate other doctors. Throughout the course of her training, Dr. Klaucke has lectured on topics such as heat illness, wilderness ophthalmology, sun exposure, water procurement and purification, knot tying and land navigation.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”While Wilderness Medicine certainly involves extreme situations, medical professionals in the field are not solely focused on injuries or illnesses occurring in remote locations. These specialists also assist with the issuance of protocols for first response and secondary care, provide insight about prevention of medical emergencies, conduct epidemiological studies and contribute to public policy advisement and issuance of guidelines to disaster planning agencies.
So what’s the benefit of having a primary care physician who has climbed 18,000 feet in Bolivia and surfed in Hawaii? “I think one of the advantages of this training is creative problem solving. I may not be discussing Wilderness Medicine with each patient, but the thought processes and skills learned are parallel,” says Dr. Klaucke. Her patients can consult with her when planning for or returning from locations with limited medical resources and benefit from her extensive regional knowledge. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” she notes, while adding that if patients return from vacations or expeditions with a medical issue — such as a fever or gastrointestinal upset — her experience with Wilderness Medicine is a great help as she works to find the best course of treatment.