Change must begin with education. Theme 8 explored issues that need attention in Disaster Medicine education.
Details of the methods used are provided in the introductory paper. The chairs moderated all presentations and produced a summary that was presented to an assembly of all of the delegates. The chairs then presided over a workshop that resulted in the generation of a set of action plans that then were reported to the collective group of all delegates.
Main points developed during the presentations and discussion included: (1) formal education, (2) standardized definitions, (3) integration (4) evaluation of programs and interventions, (5) international cooperation, (6) identifying the psychosocial consequences of disaster, (7) meaningful research, and (8) hazard, impact, risk and vulnerability analysis.
Three main components of the action plans were identified as evaluation, research, and education. The action plans recommended that: (1) education on disasters should be formalized, (2) evaluation of education and interventions must be improved, and (3) meaningful research should be promulgated and published for use at multiple levels and that applied research techniques be the subject of future conferences.
The one unanimous conclusion was that we need more and better education on the disaster phenomenon, both in its impacts and in our response to them. Such education must be increasingly evidence-based.