Research in Disaster Response: Applying the science of medicine to disasters

Current state of disaster medical knowledge

There is a paucity of organized, high-quality research in the area of acute disaster medical response and management.  Many key decisions made in disaster settings are made using anecdotal experience, intuition and “gut feelings.”  There is a lack of objective data upon which medical professionals can base their decisions. 

SEMPER will improve the care provided to survivors of future catastrophes by developing a research program aimed at gathering emergency medical data in disasters, analyzing data and sharing “lessons learned” to expand the knowledge base related to disaster management.

Needed are well-planned, pre-approved research protocols that can be rapidly and easily put into operation during and after major disasters in order to definitively answer key questions, such as:

  • What is the best means of managing acute wounds in environments where bacterial contamination will be ongoing?
  • Can portable, personal digital assistants be used to maintain and share medical records of victims involved in a major disaster? 

Published Research

Menon AS, Norris RL, Racciopi J, Tilson H, Gardner J, Mcaddo G, Brown IP, Auerbach PS: The expanded scope of emergency medical practice necessary for initial disaster response: lessons from Haiti. J Special Ops Med 2012;12(1):31-36.

Lippert S, Nagdev A, Stone M, Herring A, Norris R: Pain control in disaster settings: a role for ultrasound-guided nerve blocks. Ann Emerg Med.