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The Role of Disaster Medicine Board Certification in Community Disaster Preparation

Disaster PreparationDisaster preparation in many communities is viewed as a function of the government, or of a loose coalition among various local, state, and federal government agencies. However, the government plays little, if any, role in training civilian physicians in how to respond to disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or any kind of unforeseen occurrence that puts a large segment of the population at risk.

Who, then, is best prepared for taking a lead role when it comes to disaster preparation, response, and recovery? Because widespread disasters, by their very nature, put a great of the population at medical risk, the logical candidates to lead are physicians. And the most effective way for physicians to demonstrate their mastery of the core skills and knowledge necessary to take a lead role in those situations is for them to achieve board certification in disaster medicine from the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS).

The ABPS is the only multi-specialty physician certification body to offer disaster medicine certification and recertification, which is administered through the American Board of Disaster Medicine (ABDOM). We are committed to helping physicians prepare themselves in case of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, pandemic outbreaks, terrorist attacks, and other natural and manmade disasters. While hospitals may already have disaster plans in place, they often are developed only to meet the bare minimum requirements of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and  they might not deal directly with the specific perils that might be unique to a physician’s home area. Physician board certification in disaster medicine helps bring focus to a physician’s role when it comes to disaster preparation, with an emphasis on the potential consequences of disaster on a hyper-local level.

Certification allows a physician to demonstrate that he or she has achieved a thorough understanding of:

  • The National Incident Management System and the Incident Command System
  • The importance of safety in disaster preparation and response, including protective equipment, decontamination, and site security
  • The principles of triage in a disaster setting
  • The clinical competence to provide effective care with extremely limited resources
  • The importance of psychological first aid and care for disaster responders

Contact the ABPS today for information about eligibility requirements for disaster medicine board certification. The ABPS is the official certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.