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American Board of Disaster Medicine

We can’t always predict disasters, but we can prepare for them. It is incumbent upon physicians to be as prepared as possible if and when they are needed during disasters that affect the entire community, so it makes good sense for physicians to consider disaster medicine a second specialty. That’s because when disaster strikes, physicians from all specialties are called into action, and it is important for them to know what to do in a time of a disaster. Everyone affected – from victims to emergency responders to government officials – will depend on physicians to treat injuries, to coordinate relief, and to help lay the groundwork for recovery.

The American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) is the only multi-specialty physician certification body to offer disaster medicine certification and recertification through its Member Board, the American Board of Disaster Medicine® (ABODM®). Our commitment to helping physicians prepare themselves in case of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, pandemic outbreaks, terrorist attacks, and other natural and manmade disasters led to the creation of the American Academy of Disaster Medicine® (AADM®).  The goal of the AADM® is to educate physicians and healthcare professionals about the importance of disaster medicine preparedness -in the healthcare community. Disaster medicine certification reinforces to federal, state, and local government officials that disaster certified physicians are qualified to contribute to relief and recovery after a disaster. Ideally, every hospital should have at least one physician who is certified in disaster medicine.

Eligibility requirements for disaster medicine certification from the ABPS are rigorous. See eligibility requirements here. After applicants are deemed eligible, they must successfully complete a computer-based examination. This written exam consists of 200 multiple-choice items and is administered over a four-hour session. For information about dates and fees for the application and the written exam, click here.

Disaster medicine certification focuses on the knowledge and skills a physician will need to have in order to become a recognized leader in the four primary stages of disaster preparation and management: planning, coordination, execution, and debriefing.

Certification allows a physician to demonstrate expertise in the core competencies related to disaster planning and response, including:

  • A basic knowledge of the National Incident Management System and the Incident Command System
  • The importance of safety in disaster responses, 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
  • Understanding of psychological first aid and caring for responders

To learn more about disaster medicine certification through the ABODM, contact the American Board of Physician Specialties today.