Disaster Response Education and Training: Creating a new standard for disaster medical curriculum

Current State of Disaster Medical Education

The majority of available disaster training programs focus on broad, high-level responses for public health needs (e.g., how to provide food, water-sanitation, shelter and security to large populations of displaced survivors). They do not focus on providing emergency medical care to survivors immediately after a disaster.

Current educational and training opportunities include programs such as:

  • International Committee of the Red Cross: Health Emergencies in Large Populations (HELP) Course (a three week certification process)
  • A number of masters programs in public health (e.g., one year programs at Johns Hopkins, Tulane, Harvard and Columbia Universities).
  • CHART (Combined Humanitarian Assistance Response Training)
  • International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA)

Disaster situations present unique challenges. What is missing is a comprehensive program aimed at providing ground level responders with the information and skills necessary to be effective in the first days and weeks after a disaster.

  • Stanford-based Medical Responders

SEMPER will provide team members with additional knowledge and skills to maximize their effectiveness in providing medical care in the austere environment of a disaster area. This will include:

  • Monthly continuing education on provision of emergency medical care in disasters, to include wound and tropical disease management, performing advanced surgical procedures (such as field amputations, fasciotomies and caesarean sections) and psychological first aid.
  • Monthly reviews of literature applicable to providing emergency medical care in disasters
  • Sending members to other sources of formal continuing education related to disaster response

Responders Based Outside Stanford

SEMPER will develop and offer educational programs to interested providers outside of Stanford who would like to develop skills and abilities for volunteering in disaster situations.

  • A short course on Emergency Medical Disaster Response to be held each year at Stanford (e.g., a one week offering of didactic teaching, hands-on learning workshops and simulation labs)
  • An on-line educational offering to potential volunteers to allow distance-based learning
  • An annual Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Response Conference to be held at Stanford – bringing together experts from around the world to share and exchange information on disaster preparation and emergency response.