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As societies become more complex and interconnected, the global risk for catastrophic disasters is increasing. Find a doctor at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center or Johns Hopkins Community Physicians. Demand for expertise to mitigate the human suffering and damage these events cause is also high. However, some of these assumptions are derived from a conventional wisdom that is at variance with empirical field disaster research studies.
A new field of disaster medicine is emerging, offering innovative approaches to optimize disaster management. Fellows will spend time each year both in disaster and other austere settings as determined by events and their schedule.
Knowledge of disaster research findings might help planners avoid common disaster management pitfalls, thereby improving disaster response planning.


Much of the information needed to create the foundation for this growing specialty is not objectively described or is scattered among multiple different sources. To illustrate the point, this article examines several common assumptions about disasters, compares them with research findings, and discusses the implications for planning.
Now, for the first time, a coherent and comprehensive collection of scientific observations and evidence-based recommendations with expert contributors from around the globe is available in Koenig and Schultz’s Disaster Medicine: Comprehensive Principles and Practices. Ammons MA et al: The role of a regional trauma system in the management of a mass disaster. This definitive work on Disaster Medicine identifies essential subject matter, clarifies nomenclature, and outlines necessary areas of proficiency for healthcare professionals handling mass casualty crises. It also describes in-depth strategies for the rapid diagnosis and treatment of victims suffering from blast injuries or exposure to chemical, biological, and radiological agents.
Kirsch is a disaster and humanitarian researcher and educator, with ‘real world’ experience responding to emergencies to provide services and conduct science.


Trained emergency medical services personnel will carry out triage, provide first aid or stabilizing medical care, and?if necessary?decontaminate casualties before patient transport. Casualties will be transported to hospitals appropriate for their needs and in such a manner that no hospitals receive a disproportionate number. Authorities at the scene will ensure that area hospitals are promptly notified of the disaster and the numbers, types, and severities of casualties to be transported to them. The current status and limitations of disaster research are discussed, and potential interventions to response problems are offered that may be of help to planners and practitioners and that may serve as hypotheses for future research.



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