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Enhancing the Translation of Disaster Health Competencies Into Practice

  • Lauren Walsh (a1), Brian A. Altman (a1), Richard V. King (a2) and Kandra Strauss-Riggs (a1)



Disaster health workers currently have no common standard based on a shared set of competencies, learning objectives, and performance metrics with which to develop courses or training materials relevant to their learning audience. We examined how existing competency sets correlate within the 2012 pyramidal learning framework of competency sets in disaster medicine and public health criteria and describe how this exercise can guide curriculum developers.


We independently categorized 35 disaster health-related competency sets according to the 4 levels and criteria of the pyramidal learning framework of competency sets in disaster medicine and public health.


Using the hierarchical learning framework of competency sets in disaster medicine and public health criteria as guidance, we classified with consistency only 10 of the 35 competency sets.


The proposed series of minor modifications to the framework should allow for consistent classification of competency sets. Improved education and training of all health professionals is a necessary step to ensuring that health system responders are appropriately and adequately primed for their role in disasters. Revising the organizing framework should assist disaster health educators in selecting competencies appropriate to their learning audience and identify gaps in current education and training. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;8:70-78)


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Lauren Walsh, MPH, Henry M. Jackson, Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc, National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, 11300 Rockville Pike, Suite 1000, Rockville, MD 20815 (email:


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