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.

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.



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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.

I feel truly blessed and grateful to be an internal medicine board-certified diplomate with the American Board of Physician Specialties. Their ongoing, steadfast commitment to physician board(s) enhancement, forward focused vision, and tenacity is second to none. ABPS has become a recognized choice in Physician Board Certification.

Adam Rench, MD
Internal Medicine
To be the best, you must measure yourself against the best. Achieving Board Certification in Emergency Medicine by the ABPS gave me the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the art of EM in an objective way. The high bar that ABPS sets for candidates to be allowed to take both the written and oral exam is a testament to ABPS's rigorous vetting of one's ability to practice Emergency Medicine at a high level. By maintaining these credentials, I've been able to instill confidence in my abilities at the department/employer level and ultimately with the patients that choose to seek emergency care at the facilities at which I practice.

Royce Mathew Joseph, MD
Emergency Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has supported the entire field of Integrative Medicine in sponsoring our board. It has been so validating of the importance of prevention-oriented and holistic approaches to care while emphasizing the scientific basis of this specialty to have it recognized by ABPS. I am proud to have been one of the first groups to be board certified by ABPS in Integrative Medicine, leading the way for others committed to training in this specialty.

Myles Spar, MD
Integrative Medicine