Peter Hackett, MD
Executive Director of the Institute For Altitude Medicine
Born: Evanston, IL
Med School: University of Illinois Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine
Fellowship: University of Colorado School of Medicine
Specialty: Emergency Medicine, Board Certified
Associated with TMC since 2001
Dr Hackett has had a rather unusual career. After graduating from the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine in Chicago, and training at San Francisco General Hospital, his first job was as a helicopter rescue doctor in Yosemite National Park. He fought fires and rescued climbers and others, 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 love affair with Nepal and a 6-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, work and love lead 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.
Dr Hackett is currently a Clinical Professor of Surgery in the division of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, and clinical director of the Altitude Research Center there. He is also the founder and director of The Institute for Altitude Medicine in Telluride, Colorado. Dr Hackett has 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.
Now the full time Executive Director of the Institute for Altitude Medicine, Dr. Hackett has given up his Telluride Medical Center Emergency Department Medical Director role that he held for eight years. He has also served as the Medical Director for the Telluride EMS, Ski Patrol and search and rescue. He still continues to lecture regularly both internationally and locally.
Academically, Dr. Hackett stays very current by sitting on the editorial board of two major journals and 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 the chair of three world congresses on mountain medicine.