Board Certification for Disaster Medicine Specialists
The 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.
Disaster Medicine Certification From the ABODM
Recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor as a leading board certification option, 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). The ABODM helps physicians prepare themselves in the event of hurricanes, pandemic outbreaks, wildfires, terror attacks, and more by educating them on the importance of disaster medicine preparedness in the healthcare community. When a disaster occurs, physicians from all specialties are called into action, and everyone affected will depend on physicians to treat injuries and coordinate relief.
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.
What a Physician Needs to Know for Disaster Medicine Certification
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
Eligibility Requirements of the ABODM
Eligibility requirements for disaster medicine certification from the ABPS are rigorous. Physicians must first satisfy the eligibility requirements of the ABPS, which includes holding a current, unexpired board certification granted by the ABMS, AOA, ABPS, or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. Candidates must then pass a computer-based exam. This exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions and is administered over a four-hour session. For information about dates and fees for the application and the written exam, click here.
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.