Board Certification for Disaster Medicine Specialists

Disaster SpecialistsThe American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) recommends board certification in disaster medicine to any physician who would like to take a lead role when it comes to disaster preparation, response, and recovery in his or her community. It is, in many respects, a “second” specialty for many physicians, primarily because when disaster strikes, doctors are almost always on the front lines. Quite often, government leaders will look to physicians for guidance when it comes to triage in a disaster setting, providing effective care with potentially limited resources, and providing psychological first aid and medical treatment for civilian victims and emergency workers alike.

The ABPS is the only multi-specialty physician certification body to offer disaster medicine certification and recertification through the American Board of Disaster Medicine (ABODM). ABODM board certification in disaster medicine provides those who choose to specialize in this field tangible proof that they have mastered the core competencies required to lead when it comes to disaster preparation, response, and recovery. Disaster medicine specialist certification reinforces to federal, state, and local government officials that disaster-certified physicians are qualified to contribute to relief and recovery during the time of a disaster. In an ideal world, every hospital would have at least one physician who is certified in disaster medicine.

Board certification in disaster medicine focuses on everything a physician will need to know 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, but not limited to:

  • 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 board certification in disaster medicine and the ABODM, or for details about eligibility requirements for certification from the American Board of Disaster Medicine, contact the ABPS today. The ABPS is the official board certification 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.

BCEM certification through ABPS has provided me with many opportunities. It has helped me demonstrate that I have special experience and expertise in Emergency Medicine beyond that obtained through my family medicine training. BCEM certification firmly established me as an emergency medicine specialist once I started working in emergency medicine full time. ABPS has also helped me network with other family physicians with a passion for improving rural and underserved emergency medicine practice.

Alex Beuning, MD, FAAEP
Emergency Medicine
Board certification through the American Board of Physician Specialties has served to substantiate my interest and additional training in several fields of medicine including Internal Medicine, Disaster Medicine, and Administrative Medicine. As a result, I have been able to serve my community in clinical, disaster response, and administrative medicine roles. Through the ABPS, I have become recognized as a leader in my various fields of interest.

Spencer Price MD, MPH, MBA
Internal Medicine, Disaster Medicine, Administrative Medicine
Personal challenge and motivation compelled me to pass my ABPS board exam. Measurement and confirmation of my own knowledge base reinforced my self-confidence. The ABPS, with its history of inclusivity, has allowed me to have a voice in the organization, while permitting me to impact overall national patient safety and care through certification. Participation in exam development afforded me the opportunity to witness the rigorousness of the exam process and psychometrically sound product, while developing meaningful collegiality, professional life enrichment, and warding off burn out.

Elizabeth Maxwell-Schmidt MD, FAAEP, FACEP
Emergency Medicine