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Toward a Pediatric Disaster Health Core Curriculum

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 April 2013

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Letters to the Editor
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2012

To begin developing pediatric disaster health core curricula, the NCDMPH convened stakeholders at a 2011 Pediatric Disaster Preparedness Curriculum Development Conference.Reference Siegel, Strauss-Riggs and Costello3 A planning committee developed the following conference objectives:

  • To initiate the development of the infrastructure and methodology needed to create a competency-based pediatric disaster preparedness training program;

  • To demonstrate this approach by developing prioritized, role-specific education and training recommendations for select health care roles; and

  • To demonstrate the capabilities of a public–private consortium for development of a disaster preparedness education and training program.

In meeting these objectives, expert stakeholder participants identified many of the health care provider roles requiring additional competency, the priority of their training, and 20 preliminary curriculum topic recommendations, which included 173 subtopics.

The NCDMPH's long-term vision is to support the creation of a competency-based, core pediatric curriculum using these topics. Three of these topics have been given priority for initial development based on recommendations of a federal panel:

  • Tracking and reunification of pediatric disaster victims;

  • Overview of radiation exposure in children; and

  • Psychosocial impacts of disasters on children.

The use of a federal panel allowed consensus feedback in compliance with statutes.4 The panel confirmed that the topics (1) should resonate with a fairly broad audience of providers/responders, (2) could be part of a larger course, (3) should strike a balance between low probability–high acuity and low acuity–high probability issues, and (4) the learning objects should fill current learning gaps.

Content for adult learning in disaster health can be packaged into learning objects,Reference Lehman5 or “chunks” of content that can be used and combined by educators based on their needs. The initial learning objects in the pilot phase will be available to disaster health professionals and educators via the NCDMPH Web site to use through distance learning or in-person format. These initial learning resources will focus on key content that can be completed by learners in a one- to four-hour time frame, will include interactive components, and can be easily updated to maintain currency of the content. The learning objects will be designed to encourage learner engagement with the content, promoting opportunities for meaningful learning and subsequent retention.Reference Novak6

The NCDMPH will work with a subject matter expert in each of the three topics to develop the objectives and content of the learning object. A review process is built into the project in alignment with the NCDMPH's commitment to continuous learning improvement. While the federal panel will serve as a review team, periodic updates to the NCDMPH Web site will be posted to keep the field informed of the progress and to seek feedback.

The NCDMPH recognizes the critical need for core curricula across the spectrum of populations affected by disasters and is working with its federal, academic, association, and nonprofit partners to develop core competency recommendations for the disaster medicine and public health field.Reference Walsh, Subbarao and Gebbie7 The NCDMPH is proud to take these initial steps toward establishing a competency-based pediatric disaster preparedness education and training curriculum.

Funding/Support: The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc, supports theNational Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health through a grant sponsored by the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or positions of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the Department of Defense, or the US government.

Acknowledgment: David A. Siegel, MD, National Institutes of Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, co-convened the 2011 Pediatric Disaster Preparedness Curriculum Development Conference.



1.American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Medical Liability; Task Force on Terrorism. The pediatrician and disaster preparedness. Pediatrics. 2006;117 (2):560565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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3.Siegel, D, Strauss-Riggs, K, Costello, A.Pediatric Disaster Preparedness Curriculum Development: Conference Report. Rockville, Maryland: National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health; 2011.Google Scholar
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