The Evolution of Disaster Medicine in America

Disaster MedicineFew medical specialties have changed quite as much as disaster medicine since the term first entered the American lexicon in the 1950s. It’s not just a matter of disasters happening more often in recent years than decades past – it’s that the disasters themselves seem to be more varied. From tsunamis, hurricanes, and tornadoes to terror attacks, bio threats, and other man-made destruction, disaster medicine encompasses an incredible variety of incidents. Yet, this medical specialty is also one that tends to be taken for granted. We all obviously hope we won’t fall victim to a tragedy, but if a situation does arise, we expect that highly trained medical personnel and first responders will be available to help our community heal. However, as any emergency management professional will tell you, this coordinated response doesn’t happen by accident and disaster medicine has evolved from generations of successes and failures – starting first on the battlefield and eventually to our home towns.

Typically, disaster medicine physicians are specialists in other fields of medicine who make themselves available when disaster strikes. The troubling thing, though, is that many of these highly trained, board certified professionals are ill equipped to handle mass trauma, smallpox, anthrax, radiation poisoning, and other potential maladies. At the American Board of Physician Specialties, we recognize this shortcoming in the healthcare field and created the medical board certification in disaster medicine – the only such multi-specialty physician certification body to offer this certification. We believe that physicians experienced in disaster medicine should take a leadership role during times of unrest, and our board certification indicates their ability to rise to the challenge and take charge.

In order to become board certified in disaster medicine, physicians must meet our stringent requirements, which include firsthand experience in the field, FEMA course completion, relevant residency completion, and much more. While the steps toward becoming board certified in this essential field are significant, the importance of the certification is clear. To learn more about the eligibility requirements of becoming board certified in Disaster Medicine by ABPS, contact us today. The ABPS is the official board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.

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Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine