Disaster Medicine: Current Assessment and Blueprint for the Future


  • SAEM Disaster Medicine White Paper Subcomminee

    Corresponding author
    • Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, 901 Noah Washington Avenue, Lansing, MI 48906–5137.

    Search for more papers by this author
    • *SAEM Disaster Medicine White Paper Subcommittee: Scan R. Lillibridge, MD, White Paper Subcommittee Chair, Acting Chief, Disaster Assessment and Epidemiology, National Center for Environmental Health. CDC. Atlanta, GA, Chief Medical Officer, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, Washington, DC; Frederick M. Burkle, Jr., MD, MPH, Chairman, Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Surgery, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI; Joseph Mackerel, MD, Chairman, Dependent of Emergency Medicine, Baptist Medical Center, University of Missouri, Kansas City. MO, Baptist Hospital, Kansas City, MO; Kristi L. Koenig, MD. Chair, Disaster Medicine Task Force, Alameda County Medical Center, Highland Campus, Oakland, CA; Carl Schultz, MD, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA; Rick Bissell, PhD, Director, Disaster Health Studies, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD; Bern Sheen, MD, Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, CA; and Eric Noji. MD, Chief, Emergency and Populations in Transition Team, International Health Program Office, CDC, Atlanta, GA.


Emergency services for disaster-affected populations require the application of out-of-hospital planning, curative acute medical skills, and public health principles. SAEM can play an important role in promoting the research and educational agendas for disaster medicine through its network of EM educators at academic health centers. Testing of disaster medicine principles as part of the EM certification process will emphasize the importance of disaster medicine in the overall training of EPs. Postgraduate fellowships in disaster medicine also should be promoted and closely linked to disaster response organizations. Overall professional training must encompass the many facets described in this paper to prepare physicians to meet the challenges of disaster medicine.