Wilderness Medicine Course: Faculty

Dr. CharltonDr. Nathan Charlton, MD 
Co-Medical Director, Blue Ridge Poison Center
Director, Wilderness Medicine Education Program

University of Virginia
Nathan Charlton obtained his medical degree at the University of South Florida in Tampa and completed his emergency medicine residency at Palmetto Health Richland/USC in Columbia, South Carolina where he obtained a certificate in hyperbaric medicine.  Growing up in Florida he developed a love for the water and enjoys snorkeling, diving, wakeboarding, surfing and fishing. Research interests include natural toxins; he is currently involved in research on the thrombocytopenic effects of timber rattlesnake venom.  In addition to wilderness medicine, multiple medical mission trips have added international experience. 


Dr. Chris HolstegeDr. Christopher Holstege, MD FACEP, FAAEM, FACMT
Director, Division of Medical Toxicology
Co-Medical Director, Blue Ridge Poison Center
Co-Director, Medical Toxicology Fellowship Program
University of Virginia
Christopher Holstege is Director of the Division of Medical Toxicology and Associate Professor of the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Virginia.  In 2004, he integrated wilderness medicine into UVA's medical toxicology rotation to allow students and residents to gain training in wilderness medicine throughout the academic year.  In 2008, he lead the team that designed and gained UVA School of Medicine approval for a 2 week intensive wilderness medicine course to occur each spring and fall.  This course integrates the expertise found within academia, private enterprise, and government entities to give trainees a broad depth of wilderness medicine training.  Dr. Holstege has published numerous articles pertaining wilderness medicine and is currently performing research in that realm. In 2008, in collaboration with the National Park Service, he completed a study on medical and traumatic injury encountered in the Shenandoah National Park that will be published in the Journal of Wilderness and Environmental Medicine.  He currently serves as a member of the steering committee for the Appalachian Center for Wilderness Medicine and serves on the American Heart Association's First Aid Science Advisory Board.  His wife and 6 children are avid hikers, campers, and rafters who frequent the Blue Ridge Mountains near their Virginia home and the Big Horn Mountains near their extended family's home in Wyoming and Montana.  

Dr. Mark KirkDr. Mark Kirk, MD, FACMT, Associate Director, Blue Ridge Poison Center
Co-Director, Medical Simulation Center
Co-Director, Medical Toxicology Fellowship Program
University of Virginia.
Dr. Kirk actively participates in the education of students and residents from multiple specialties by providing bedside teaching, a medical toxicology clinical elective rotation, and regularly presents grand rounds for several specialties.  He completed a training course in evidence based medicine (EBM) at McMasters University and regularly instructs residents in EBM skills.  He frequently participates in community EMS education and lectures regionally and nationally. He completed his Medical Toxicology Fellowship at Rocky Mountain Poison Center and is board certified by both ABMT and ABEM.  He is a fellow of the American College of Medical Toxicology and through a collaboration agreement with ATSDR, Dr. Kirk serves as the Region III (Pennsylvania , West Virginia , Delaware , Virginia and District of Columbia ) ACMT-ATSDR Medical Toxicology Regional Physician Coordinator. 

Jennifer BoyleDr. Jennifer Boyle, MD, PharmD
Dr. Boyle is a practicing emergency medicine physician and second-year toxicology fellow. She obtained her medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School in and completed Emergency Medicine Residency at Maine Medical Center in Portland ME. In addition to expertise in toxicology and emergency medicine, she has maintained an active interest in wilderness medicine and the outdoors throughout her career. This prompted her to obtain an alpine certification from Outward Bound West and maintain an active membership with the Upper Valley Search and Rescue Team in Hanover NH while training at Dartmouth Medical School. 


Dr. Laura BechtelDr. Laura Bechtel, Ph.D
Dr. Bechtel is a Research Associate of Emergency Medicine and Director of Research for the Medical Toxicology Division at the University of Virginia. She currently performs wilderness medicine research analyzing snake venom and cardiotoxic plants. She obtained her PhD in Toxicology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and her BS and MS in Microbiology at the Arthropod Bourne Infectious Disease Laboratory at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins.  She has been Winter Emergency Care (WEC) and first aid certified and worked for two years as ski patrol in Colorado.  Laura is an avid high altitude mountaineer, backcountry snowboarder/skier, rock climber, downhill and mountain biker, runner and backpacker.  As an instructor in the Wilderness Medicine course she teaches based on her training and decades of outdoor experiences across North America, Europe and the Middle East. 


Jake BennerJake Benner, Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad
Jake is a paramedic from Charlottesville, Virginia. He has been involved in EMS since 2000 and has worked as a medic for several career county agencies in Central Virginia, including Madison County EMS and the County of Orange Fire and Rescue Department. In addition, he has worked in numerous roles for the University of Virginia Health System, most recently with the department of Special Event Medical Management and the Prehospital Education Program. Jake also volunteers as a paramedic, and is a life member of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad (CARS) where he currently serves as a shift supervisor and the Captain of the Technical Rescue Team. Jake earned his undergraduate degree from UVA in 2006 and will be leaving this fall to begin medical school at the Virginia Tech / Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine.


Andre Berkin

Andre Berkin, R.N., CSPI.
Andre Berkin has degrees in Biology & Nursing from the University of Virginia, and has worked at the Medical Center for over 35 years.  After decades of acute- and intensive-care hospital nursing, he now works in the Blue Ridge Poison Center, as a Certified Specialist in Poison Information. Andre is also a reserve Albemarle County Deputy Sheriff; he assists in this capacity in wilderness Search & Rescue, as well as courtroom security. Andre teaches CPR / AED and First Aid for the Sheriff's Office and Albemarle County Public Schools, and teaches Home Safety at Piedmont Virginia Community College.  He is also a National Rifle Association - certified Pistol Instructor, and teaches gun safety courses at Rivanna Rifle & Pistol Club.



Joe Miller






Joe Forrester, B.S. University of Virginia School of Medicine, Class of 2011.



Seth AlthoffDr. Seth Althoff, MD, Instructor, Dept. of Emergency Med., Univ. of Virginia
Seth Althoff is in his final year of residency, and will be completing a medical education fellowship at UVA in the coming year.  He completed is medical degree at Temple University in Philadelphia.  Research interests include the use of simulation in the education of medical students and residents, as well as, the thrombocytopenic effects of timber rattlesnake venom. Seth is an active member of the wilderness medical society and plans on working towards his fellowship status within the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. His outdoor interests include rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, and kayaking.    

Jim Miller, Captain, Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad Water Rescue Team

Buck DeForge, NREMT-P

John Gilday, RN, NREMT-P

Steele Beasley, retired Navy Submariner