The 13th World Congress on Disaster and Emergency Medicine, convened in Melbourne, Australia in May 2003, requested the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM) to lead the development of “International Standards and Guidelines on Education and Training for “Disaster Medicine”. This Paper has been developed by a Working Group of the WADEM Education Committee (“the Working Group”) in response to that request from the international “Disaster Medicine” and emergency health community. The main focus of the Working Group is to develop standards and guidelines for education and training in the multi-disciplinary health response to major events that threaten the health status of a community. The contemporary view is that of a multi-disciplinary health response to major events which threaten the health status of a community, including the prevention and mitigation of future events, and taking account of the broader context in which these events occur.
It is the vision of the Working Group that evidence-based standards and guidelines for education and training must be developed in a broad sense, for all members of the healthcare community. Rather than purely describing isolated performance indicators, the Working Group agreed that priority be given to explaining the general approach, presenting the conceptual framework, clarifying important principles, and describing the educational needs and training requirements for situations for which there exist a major threat to the health status of a community.
It is not the intent to produce an updated educational curriculum for special courses in “Disaster Medicine” by listing levels of theoretical knowledge and clinical skills required for medical doctors, nurses, and paramedics. Nor, does the Working Group think it is useful to repeat requirements and learning outcomes that are part of the normal basic education and training for the various health professionals.
The purpose of this Issues Paper is to present an initial summary of current issues relating to an international perspective of “Disaster Medicine” education and training. This summary has been prepared following discussions within the Working Group of the WADEM Education Committee. The paper aims to stimulate debate and form the basis of further of discussion at an international meeting scheduled to be held in Brussels (Belgium) on 29–31 October 2004.
The Working Group has structured this Issues Paper into five parts and has identified several key issues for discussion.
Part 1: Understanding the contemporary interpretation of the multi-disciplinary health response to major events that threaten the health status of a community
Issue 1: Definitions and terminology in “Disaster Medicine”;
Issue 2: Getting to grips with the contemporary concepts and international trends in “Disaster Medicine”; and,
Issue 3: Valuing personal attributes in “Disaster Medicine” practitioners.
Part 2: Developing an underlying scientific framework for linking theory to practice in “Disaster Medicine”
Issue 4: Creating a scientific framework(s) for “Disaster Medicine”.
Part 3: Defining a conceptual framework and general principals to develop “International Standards and Guidelines on Education and Training for the Multi-disciplinary Health Response to Major Events that Threaten the Health Status of a Community”
Issue 5: Where are we now? Getting to grips with the contemporary concepts and international trends in “Disaster Medicine” education and training.
Issue 6: Where do we want to get to? Identifying contemporary, evidence-based education and training standards and guidelines for “Disaster Medicine” education and training programs.
Issue 7: How do we get there? Overcoming barriers to introducing the International Standards and Guidelines.
Part 4: Maintaining the momentum—improving international collaboration
Issue 8: Exploring the feasibility of an ongoing, international, collaborative network of “Centres of Excellence” in “Disaster Medicine” research and/or education.
Part 5: Additional input
Issue 9: What other issues would you like to bring to the attention of the Working Group?
The results of the consultation will lead to the development of international standards and guidelines that will be presented and consensus sought during the 14th World Congress on Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WCDEM-14) to be convened in Edinburgh in May, 2005.