The recent increase in natural disasters and mass shootings highlights the need for medical providers to be prepared to provide care in extreme environments. However, while physicians of all specialties may respond in emergencies, disaster medicine training is minimal or absent from most medical school curricula in the United States. A voluntary Disaster Medicine Certificate Series (DMCS) was piloted to fill this gap in undergraduate medical education.
Beginning in August of 2017, second- and third-year medical students voluntarily enrolled in DMCS. Students earned points toward the certificate through participation in activities and membership in community organizations in a flexible format that caters to variable schedules and interests. Topics covered included active shooter training, decontamination procedures, mass-casualty triage, Incident Command System (ICS) training, and more. At the conclusion of the pilot year, demographic information was collected and a survey was conducted to evaluate student opinions regarding the program.
Sixty-eight second- and third-year medical students participated in the pilot year, with five multi-hour skills trainings and five didactic lectures made available to students. Forty-eight of those 68 enrolled in DMCS completed the retrospective survey. Student responses indicated that community partners serve as effective means for providing lectures (overall mean rating 4.50/5.0) and skills sessions (rating 4.58/5.0), and that the program created avenues for real-world disaster response in their local communities (rating 4.40/5.0).
The DMCS voluntary certificate series model served as an innovative method for providing disaster medicine education to medical students.
Kommor MB, Hodge B, Ciottone G. Development and implementation of a Disaster Medicine Certificate Series (DMCS) for medical students. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019;34(2):197–202
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