Background: Various organizations and universities have developed competencies for health professionals and other emergency responders. Little effort has been devoted to the integration of these competencies across health specialties and professions. The American Medical Association Center for Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response convened an expert working group (EWG) to review extant competencies and achieve consensus on an educational framework and competency set from which educators could devise learning objectives and curricula tailored to fit the needs of all health professionals in a disaster.
Methods: The EWG conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed and non–peer reviewed published literature. In addition, after-action reports from Hurricane Katrina and relevant publications recommended by EWG members and other subject matter experts were reviewed for congruencies and gaps. Consensus was ensured through a 3-stage Delphi process.
Results: The EWG process developed a new educational framework for disaster medicine and public health preparedness based on consensus identification of 7 core learning domains, 19 core competencies, and 73 specific competencies targeted at 3 broad health personnel categories.
Conclusions: The competencies can be applied to a wide range of health professionals who are expected to perform at different levels (informed worker/student, practitioner, leader) according to experience, professional role, level of education, or job function. Although these competencies strongly reflect lessons learned following the health system response to Hurricane Katrina, it must be understood that preparedness is a process, and that these competencies must be reviewed continually and refined over time. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2008;2:57–68)