Peter Hackett, MD is Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Altitude Medicine at Telluride Medical Center in Telluride, Colorado, and Clinical Professor of Surgery in the division of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. He is a contributor to Wilderness Medicine, 6th Edition.
After graduating from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, and training at San Francisco General Hospital, Dr. Hackett’s first job was as a helicopter rescue doctor in Yosemite National Park. He fought fires and rescued climbers for $4.47 per hour – he says it was the best job he ever had. That led him to Nepal, where a three-month stint for a trekking company turned into a six-year adventure practicing wilderness medicine, researching high altitude illnesses, and climbing mountains, which culminated in an ascent of Mt Everest in 1981. Dr. Hackett collected physiological data all the way to the summit, climbing alone the last three thousand feet, and nearly died on the descent, when he fell on the Hillary Step. Dr. Hackett was instrumental in starting the Himalayan Rescue Association, which now has two clinics in Nepal, and worked and lived at 14,000 ft. near Everest for many seasons.
His alpine experience and love for the specialty led Dr. Hackett to be one of the founders of the Wilderness Medicine Society, of which he still continues today to be a major contributor.
Dr. Hackett founded the Denali Research Project in Alaska in 1982, and for nine summers operated a research and rescue facility at 14,000 ft. on Mt McKinley. His research has been supported by the NIH, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Department of Defense, the Wilderness Medical Society, and other agencies and foundations. Dr. Hackett has published over 100 papers related to altitude medicine, and has edited eight books. He has also made many media appearances, including two NOVA specials, interviews from ESPN to Ted Koepel and Phil Donahue. He is recognized as a world authority on high altitude medicine, and he lectures regularly both internationally and locally.
Academically, Dr. Hackett stays current by sitting on the editorial board of two major journals, reviews dozens of articles for publication annually, co-chairs the International Hypoxia Symposia, is the past president of the International Society for Mountain Medicine, and is the chair of three world congresses on mountain medicine.
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