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Three Decades of Disasters: A Review of Disaster-Specific Literature from 1977–2009

  • Erin Smith (a1), Jason Wasiak (a2), Ayan Sen (a3), Frank Archer (a4) and Frederick M. Burkle (a5) (a6)...
Abstract
Introduction:

The potential for disasters exists in all communities. To mitigate the potential catastrophes that confront humanity in the new millennium, an evidence-based approach to disaster management is required urgently. This study moves toward such an evidence-based approach by identifying peer-reviewed publications following a range of disasters and events over the past three decades.

Methods:

Peer-reviewed, event-specific literature was identified using a comprehensive search of the electronically indexed database, MEDLINE (1956–January 2009). An extended comprehensive search was conducted for one event to compare the event-specific literature indexed in MEDLINE to other electronic databases (EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED, CENTRAL, Psych Info, Maternity and Infant Care, EBM Reviews).

Results:

Following 25 individual disasters or overwhelming crises, a total of 2,098 peer-reviewed, event-specific publications were published in 789 journals (652 publications following disasters/events caused by natural hazards, 966 following human-made/technological disasters/events, and 480 following conflict/complex humanitarian events).The event with the greatest number of peer-reviewed, event-specific publications was the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks (686 publications). Prehospital and Disaster Medicine published the greatest number of peer-reviewed, event-specific publications (54), followed by Journal of Traumatic Stress (42), Military Medicine (40), and Psychiatric Services (40). The primary topics of event-specific publications were mental health, medical health, and response. When an extended, comprehensive search was conducted for one event, 75% of all peer-reviewed, event-specific publications were indexed in MEDLINE.

Conclusions:

A broad range of multi-disciplinary journals publish peer-reviewed, event-specific publications. While the majority of peer-reviewed, event-specific literature is indexed in MEDLINE, comprehensive search strategies should include EMBASE to increase yield.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Monash UniversityDepartment of Community EmergencyHealth and Paramedic PracticeBuilding H, Peninsula CampusFrankston, VictoriaAustralia E-mail: erin.smith@med.monash.edu.au
References
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Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
  • ISSN: 1049-023X
  • EISSN: 1945-1938
  • URL: /core/journals/prehospital-and-disaster-medicine
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