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Disaster Medicine Examination Description

Each physician taking the CBT and simulation certification examinations demonstrates his or her knowledge and skills in the areas listed below. The CBT component of the examination addresses the topics listed. The simulation component, available to candidates who pass the CBT examination, focuses on application of these topics.

The written examination consists of 200 multiple-choice items, each with four options and only one correct answer. The American Board of Physician Specialties uses computer-based testing administration for all written exams. Our exams are offered at a network of testing centers throughout the U.S. and Canada and are given during month-long testing windows in May and November of each year. Registered candidates are able to select the time, date, and testing location that is most convenient for their schedule, which may include evening or weekend hours at select centers.

The outline below provides details of the subject areas (domains) covered on the certification examination and the approximate number of items from each area. This domain listing is provided to help candidates prepare for the examination and is based on a comprehensive practice analysis of the key topics and knowledge in the specialty, as identified by practitioners, instructors, and other leaders in Disaster Medicine. Candidates should review this outline carefully and focus study on the areas listed. Each item on the examination is linked to a specific domain. No item is meant to be obscure or tricky. The information in the outline is meant to serve as a study aid only and not as a guarantee of success in taking the certification examination.

Disaster Medicine Classification System

Knowledge and Skills Weighting
1 Incident Command System:
Participates as a member of the disaster team under the structure of the Incident Command System
2 Preparation and Mitigation:
Participates in planning for disaster preparation and mitigation
3 Triage:
Performs triage as appropriate in the disaster environment
4 Public Health and Safety:
Advises on and coordinates aspects of public health and safety throughout the disaster life cycle
5 Psychosocial Considerations:
Provides psychosocial support as appropriate throughout the disaster life cycle
6 Support/Assistance:
Works with various groups and organizations (governmental, community, non-governmental, volunteers) to optimize support for disaster planning, response, and recovery
7 Communication/Documentation:
Maintains necessary communication and documentation
8 Regulatory/Legal/Ethical Principles:
Complies with regulatory and legal, as well as accepted moral and ethical, principles
9 Assessment and Treatment:
Assesses and treats injuries resulting from natural/non-natural and incidental/intentional causes in a variety of environments (urban, rural, austere)
10 Pathology 4%
11 Decontamination/PPE:
Follows appropriate decontamination principles and procedures

The Simulation Examination—What to Expect

The Simulation Certification Examination in Disaster Medicine is an opportunity for the Board to examine your ability to diagnose and treat patients requiring intervention in both field and hospital environment.

The cases you will be presented will be based upon real or hypothetical patients. You will work with a Medical Education Technologies, Inc. (METI®) patient simulator, administering treatment to the simulator as you would to a patient. Each METI simulator uses simulated bleeding, breathing, talking, blinking and numerous other physiological characteristics to simulate various medical emergency scenarios including heart attack, drug overdose, vehicular accidents, effects from weapons of mass destruction, bio-terrorism and other traumatic injuries.

Disaster Medicine Examination Study References

A candidate should focus their examination preparation on the content provided in the examination blueprint. The Reference list is not meant to be a list of comprehensive study materials but rather to aid candidates who may wish to prepare more in a specific area of the examination blueprint that they may not be as familiar with. You may wish to use the study materials to prepare for the written certification or recertification examination. All items appearing on our examinations have been written based on the material presented in these study references.

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Accommodations for Religious Reasons and Disabilities

Click here to see the complete policy for accommodations.

To learn more about American Journal of Disaster Medicine, click here and for AJDM subscription information, click here.