Doctor Heidi Cordi Offers Advice to Physicians Considering Volunteering in Disaster Relief

Disaster ReliefIn times of disaster, many physicians wish to volunteer their time and expertise to help in the recovery effort. It’s in a physician’s nature to want to help those in need, and the aftermath of an disaster can create a significant short-term demand for medical professionals with the training to help victims who need immediate medical attention. Yet, while volunteering on a medical mission can be among the most rewarding experiences of a physician’s career, Heidi Cordi, MD., FACEP, a board member of the American Board of Disaster Medicine® (ABODM), encourages all physicians to do their due diligence before traveling to a disaster site and recently offered advice to medical professionals interested in getting involved.

One of the most important qualities of a disaster relief volunteer is flexibility, Dr. Cordi explains. Because most disasters occur with little warning, disaster relief volunteers must be able to deploy at a moment’s notice. Logistically, this can be problematic. If you are thinking about becoming involved with a disaster relief mission, ask yourself the questions:

  • Can you get away from work at a moment’s notice, often with no guaranteed return date?
  • Do you have the savings to ensure that your family will be provided for while you’re gone?
  • Are you up to date on all of your immunizations to ensure that it’s safe for you to visit a disaster site?
  • Do you speak the language of the people who need help?
  • Are you prepared to handle the stressful conditions, long hours, and emotional turmoil of a disaster site?

One way to alleviate some of the trepidation that you might have about volunteering is to work with a reputable disaster relief organization. Established medical missions are highly organized and have protocols in place for responding to disasters effectively. Furthermore, the best relief organizations have disaster medicine professionals on staff who know how to manage resources and keep their volunteers safe while providing the best possible care to those in need.

At the American Board of Physician Specialties®, we know how important it is to have physicians who are trained to respond to and manage disaster situations, and we are proud to be the only multi-specialty physician certifying body to offer board certification in disaster medicine, which we do through the ABODM.

To learn more about becoming board certified in disaster medicine and what to consider if you are thinking about volunteering through a disaster relief organization, contact us today. The ABPS is the official board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc. ®

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On October 18, 2007, President George W. Bush released Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), calling on our nation, among other initiatives, to “collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health”. It is a great testament to the wisdom and foresight of the American Board of Physician Specialties that it immediately set to work and created, within the short span of only one year, an educational blueprint and set of certification examinations, both written and oral, for a new subspecialty of disaster medicine—and it is why I chose to be part this vital initiative and this wonderful organization. This is but one of the many innovative programs initiated by the American Board of Physician Specialties over the years, and why I am proud to support its work on behalf of our nation’s public health.

Art Cooper, MD
Disaster Medicine
When the American Board of Physician Specialties offered to host the American Board of Integrative Medicine, ABPS became a landmark organization working to move medicine into the twenty first century. Certifying physicians who have completed rigorous academic training in Integrative Medicine ensures that the field of Integrative Medicine will continue to develop academically, clinically, and professionally. The leadership of ABPS continues to impress me - they are diligent in constantly innovating to provide certifications for physicians who want to advance their careers and their areas of expertise. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Ann Marie Chiasson, MD
Integrative Medicine
There are many ways board certification advances a physician career. ABPS Board examination verifies your accuracy, precision, and reflects your mastery of your residency training verifying your expertise. ABPS Board certification demonstrates your level of expertise beyond your practice experience, primary education degrees, and training which are necessary for insurance reimbursement and practice privilege requirements. Attaining your ABPS Board Certification will clarify your purpose, secure your practice growth, and expand into leadership positions. Board certification can serve as an indication of a physician’s commitment to medicine, beyond the minimal standards and competency of training, their measurement to quality of care, and attaining an award for excellence.

Chris Kunis MD
Internal Medicine
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Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
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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