Who we are
The Institute for Altitude Medicine (IFAM) was founded in June, 2007 in conjunction with the Telluride Medical Center and the University of Colorado to provide clinical care and consultation, conduct research and develop educational programs to optimize health as well treat medical issues affecting people who either live at, or travel to, high altitude. IFAM's goal is to make life at altitude, be it for work or play, a better plac e for all.
Altitude related illnesses have been an issue in Colorado mountain communities for many years affecting tourists and residents alike. Medical research on people living at moderate altitude (8,000 - 12,000 ft.) has been scant. Very little is known about high altitude and its affect on common problems such as heart disease, hypertension, and pregnancy. In addition, little is known about why certain individuals live longer at altitude. Living at altitude can exacerbate some medical conditions while also improving others. Lastly, effective clinical consultations and treatment for altitude related illnesses is not widely available.
IFAM is currently providing clinical and educational services and conducting research in the Telluride region. IFAM's plan is to expand its services and research to other mountain communities. A few other altitude research centers exist, including one at the University of Colorado at Denver and a few in China. But, their focus is on basic research and not on patient care. Telluride is the only mountain community in the U.S. and internationally to offer the specialized medical services and research provided by IFAM. In Telluride, we have people visiting, working and residing full or part-time between the altitudes of 8,000 to 10,000 ft. which gives IFAM the opportunity to make a real impact in the field of high altitude medicine, and therefore impact the quality of life of our citizens.
IFAM has also brought about the expansion of medical services and medical expertise offered to the Telluride community. New procedures and tests are available due to the work of IFAM ® such as ultrasound and cardiac stress testing. In addition, Telluride Medical Center staff will gain more expertise in high altitude medicine as IFAM partners with TMC staff to treat patients.
IFAM is a not-for-profit, organized under section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
word document Institute for Altitude Medicine FAQs
Dr. Peter Hackett - Executive Director
Dr. Peter Hackett is a world renowned high altitude expert and altitude research pioneer. He is a leading authority on altitude illness, high altitude climbing, wilderness medicine, and the effects of altitude on people living and working in the mountains. Dr. Hackett is also a board certified Emergency Physician. Dr. Hackett has been at the frontier on altitude research, with years of experience in the Himalayas, Denal i, South America and in Colorado. Dr. Hackett has authored more than one hundred articles on altitude issues, has edited six books and is respected internationally fo his expertise.
In addition to his extensive clinical and research experience, Dr. Hackett's recreational activities of high altitude mountaineering, skiing, and living at altitude have lent him a personal understanding of altitude physiology. This includes the 111th summit on Mt. Everest. Dr. Hackett directs all executive, clinical, research, and educational activities of the Institute for Altitude Medicine.
Dr. Hackett's C.V.
1. IFAM collaborates with Telluride Medical Center (TMC) to provide clinical care for persons affected with altitude related illnesses as well as accessing patients for research projects. IFAM offers specialty clinics on a regular basis at TMC and is available to consult at any time with TMC staff. IFAM and TMC offer medical evaluations specific to athletes, students and patients in order to optimize physical performance.
2. IFAM is affiliated with the University of Colorado Altitude Research Center (UCARC) and collaborates to:
- Develop protocols and practice guidelines related to altitude problems
- Access state of the art medical equipment and laboratories
- Access expert consultants in a variety of medical fields such as Pulmonary Medicine, Cardiology, Obstetrics, Neonatology, Pediatrics
- Provide Student and Fellowship opportunities
- Develop educational materials and conferences for both health professionals and lay persons
3. Colorado Clinical Guidelines Consortium. IFAM will take a leadership role in developing protocols and practice guidelines related to altitude problems. (Currently, there is no standard approach in Colorado for treating persons with altitude illness or altitude related conditions; practices vary throughout the state.)
4. Continue to develop relationships with Aspen, Vail, Summit County and Crested Butte physicians and hospitals in order to do multi-center research studies and establish referral patterns to IFAM.
The Institute for Altitude Medicine (IFAM) will be recognized internationally as the preeminent mountain-resort center devoted to high altitude medicine. The purpose of IFAM will be to:
- Provide clinical care and consultation for people of all ages interested in maximizing health and wellness at altitude as well as those affected by altitude-related illnesses
- Provide education to heath care providers and the public worldwide.
- Conduct research on the effects of high altitude on human performance and quality of life. Research will further identify causes and treatments of altitude related illnesses as well as treatments to maximize health and performance at altitude.
IFAM is focused on preventing illness and optimizing the health, physical performance and quality of life of people of all ages living, working, and traveling in high altitude areas.
Location and Hours
Institute for Altitude Medicine
At the Telluride Medical Center
500 W Pacific Avenue
In the Telluride Medical Center
Hours of Service
Tuesdays and Thursdays 8am to 5pm
Institute for Altitude Medicine location in Telluride Colorado