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How Disaster Medicine Board Certification Helps Rural Physicians Better Serve the Community

Rural PhysiciansAn innate desire to serve the community is one of the foundational values espoused by physicians who achieve board certification through a Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS). This quality is particularly powerful for physicians who practice in rural settings, where the patient-physician relationship is often far more significant than an impersonal annual checkup or an occasional emergency department visit for a broken bone or bad cut. There is a certain level of personal trust engendered by a physician who is embedded in a rural community, trust that complements the natural leadership role a physician must play in cases of disasters.

While disaster preparation, response, and recovery in many cities, towns, and rural communities are viewed as a functions of the government, the fact is the government plays little, if any, role in training civilian physicians in how to respond to disasters that place a large segment of the population at risk.

In times of disaster, or for disaster preparation advice, the community often looks to physicians, especially those who have achieved board certification with the American Board of Disaster Medicine (ABDOM). Because tornadoes, hurricanes and other disasters put a great of the population at medical risk, physicians are the logical candidates to take on leadership roles. ABDOM board certified physicians have proven that they possess a mastery of the core skills and knowledge necessary to take a lead role in disaster situations.

The ABPS is the only nationally recognized multi-specialty physician certification body to offer disaster medicine certification and recertification, which is administered through the American Board of Disaster Medicine (ABDOM). We are committed to helping physicians prepare themselves in case of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, pandemic outbreaks, terrorist attacks, and other natural and manmade disasters. While hospitals may already have disaster plans in place, they often are developed only to meet the bare minimum requirements of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and they might not deal directly with the specific perils that might be unique to a physician’s home area. Physician board certification in disaster medicine focuses on a physician’s role in disaster preparation, with an emphasis on the potential consequences of disaster on a hyper-local level.

Board certification through the ABODM allows a physician to demonstrate that he or she has achieved a thorough understanding of:

  • The National Incident Management System and the Incident Command System
  • The importance of safety in disaster preparation and response, 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
  • The importance of psychological first aid and care for disaster responders

Contact the ABPS today for information about eligibility requirements for disaster medicine board certification. The ABPS is the official certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.