Lessons in Disaster Medicine Learned from Recent Acts of Terror

Disaster MedicineFirst responders serve a critical role in the immediate aftermath of disaster situations, running toward the chaos to provide life-saving care to those who need it. It is easy to take for granted that physicians trained in disaster medicine will be available to help treat patients in various conditions after an attack, but this response doesn’t happen without incredible coordination among highly trained individuals. Disaster medicine is a medical specialty that was developed relatively recently, in 1980, and the coordinated response of these highly trained physicians is the product of ongoing training. At the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), we are all too familiar with how irreplaceable physicians with disaster medicine training truly are, which is why we developed the American Board of Disaster Medicine® (ABODM). In fact, we are the only national multi-specialty physician certification body to offer board certification in disaster medicine.

The recent terror attacks in France horrified the world, but if there is a modicum of a silver lining, it is the incredible work that the first responders in Paris did with their rapid response to the crisis. This was due, in part, to the tremendous work that the city of Paris has done in preparing their infrastructure for of an attack of this nature. Hospitals were prepared to treat patients who had experienced gunshot wounds and/or had been hit by shrapnel, while the physicians on duty had the advanced training to provide top flight care to their trauma patients. Field hospitals were also rapidly set up to accommodate patients in need of immediate care before it was safe to transport them to nearby medical facilities. While it is still too early to fully analyze the response to this disaster, it is evident that there was a system in place to respond to a terror attack, and the system worked. This is the core concept of disaster medicine. Physicians need to be trained to treat trauma patients, but it is equally important that a protocol is developed to try and bring order to the chaotic aftermath of an attack.

At the ABODM, our Diplomates include physicians with extensive firsthand experience and training in disaster medicine who have sufficiently demonstrated the mastery of the core concepts that define the specialty. This also entails a commitment to ongoing training in disaster medicine and an enthusiasm to work with like-minded peers in the field. In short, our physician Diplomates represent some of the most highly qualified disaster medicine specialists in the world. To learn more about becoming board certified through the ABODM, contact us today.

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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
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