After the tragedy of 9/11, interest in Disaster Medicine increased significantly around the world and specific response, preparedness, prevention, rehabilitation and mitigation of natural and manmade disasters became of common interest to most Emergency Physicians. EUSEM had already made reference to Disaster Medicine in its 1998 Manifesto. The Disaster Medicine Section was officially established in Munich in September 2008.
What is Disaster Medicine?
In the case of a major incident, a natural disaster or other special circumstances, specialists in Emergency Medicine would normally lead the organisation of medical care. It is thus essential that members of the specialty participate in disaster planning at local, regional, national and international levels. However, the difference between Emergency Medicine in normal circumstances and Emergency Medicine in special circumstances (Disaster Medicine) is more than just a matter of degree. A disaster is a situation with an imbalance between the immediate need for medical care and the resources available which is not the case in normal emergency medicine. Specific training in preparedness for disasters is thus required for all Emergency Physicians. Moreover, Disaster Medicine aims to study the epidemiology and the management of major incidents and disasters and to participate in the planning for such circumstances.
- To promote and disseminate Disaster Medicine knowledge in terms of research, education, preparedness and training.
- To create a Disaster Medicine ‘culture and language’ throughout Europe, thus enabling a uniform, trans-boundary response to mass casualty events.
- To sensitise emergency physicians to Disaster Medicine education, preparedness, prevention, mitigation and rehabilitation.
- To encourage their involvement and to raise the level of education, training and care.
Goals and Objectives
- To be the point of reference for EUSEM members interested in cooperating in the development and the dissemination of the Section’s goals.
- To encourage physicians who practice Disaster Medicine to participate in EUSEM activities.
- To stimulate and implement the cooperation among EUSEM and its DM section on the one hand and other stakeholders, such as ‘groups of interest’ (WHO-Europe, Civil Protection Agencies and European Health Ministries, International Societies), and international bodies specifically dedicated to Disaster Medicine on the other.
- To be fully responsible for the academic programme of Disaster Medicine within scientific events organised or endorsed by the EUSEM.
- To initiate, promote, and disseminate educational activities in Disaster Medicine through courses, projects, establishment of clinical guidelines.
- To serve as peer reviewers for papers on Disaster Medicine submitted to the European Journal of Emergency Medicine.
- To actively help in the development of common, trans-national protocols which could be extremely useful throughout the European continent in case of natural or man-made disaster, with disaster specialists and operators speaking a common ‘language’.
- To foster the culture of Disaster Medicine, especially among emergency physicians, as core healthcare givers in case of disaster.
- To elaborate and promote a common curriculum in Disaster Medicine for Medical School undergraduates, as natural recipients, as well as future healthcare givers and Emergency Medicine residents, as future EM specialists.
- To establish an overview of the different Medical Schools curricula and EM residencies.
- To seek dialogue and interaction with other scientific EM/DM societies throughout Europe to better understand local problems and conditions.